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Green Party undaunted

Green Party undaunted


Leader of the Green Party, Ivan O’Neal, was hopeful that voters would have responded more positively to his party at the polls in the recently concluded general elections to help him to win at least two of the 15 seats.{{more}}

In fact, the Green Party did not win any seats, but voters did show more support for O’Neal and his candidates this time around, compared with the four candidates who contested the 2005 general elections.

In the December 7 2005 polls, O’Neal fielded four candidates and received a total of 37 votes and 0.064 per cent of the popular votes.

Even though his party only got 135 votes overall and 0.21 per cent of the popular vote in the elections, O’Neal told SEARCHLIGHT: “It is just a matter of time before my party forms Government.”

“We have to go Green. This is not a option anymore. People do not fully understand the “Green” philosophy, and that is something we have to preach more,” O’Neal said on Wednesday, December 15.

This year, O’Neal fielded 13 candidates: Donald O’Neal, who received six votes in the Southern Grenadines; Michael Scott managed nine votes in the Marriaqua constituency; Christian Waldron also received nine votes in Northern Grenadines; Sabrina Ells copped 7 votes in East Kingstown; Joseph “Bongo Shines” Cain, 9 in West Kingstown; Carvenia Culzac six, North Leeward; Cedney John 11, North Leeward; Aphine Simmons 8, Central Leeward; Elca Cain 17, South Windward; Christopher Carter 12, North Windward; Yvonne Simon 11, East St George and Orit DeRoche managed to gain the most votes with 18 to his name, beating his party leader, Ivan O’Neal, who received 12 votes in Central Kingstown.

However, O’Neal does not feel daunted by the outcome of the elections and has no plans to call it a day. He revealed that plans are already afoot to contest the 2015 general elections and his party would be more than ready next time around.

“We are going back to the drawing board. We are going to strategise and come better and stronger because we have learnt a lot from these elections,” O’Neal confirmed.

Highlighting a few of the pitfalls in his party’s election campaign, O’Neal revealed he did not start early enough with his campaign, although he was the first of the three parties to bring out his manifesto. He also admitted that he did not have “strong enough” candidates to contest the seats.

Had people gravitated more towards the Green Party’s manifesto, O’Neal said he was not banking on taking over Government, but at least nabbing two of the seats. “I thought the public would have responded seeing that we brought our manifesto early with an intention. I believe if we had gained one or two seats in parliament, we would have strengthened the process of parliament and put forward projects to develop the country,” he said.

Since the Green Party was launched on January 10, 2005, at O’Neal’s residence in Harmony Hall, a number of persons have accused O’Neal of running a mockery of the election process. In his response to such claims, O’Neal said: “That is outrageous and ridiculous”. “Look at our manifesto. They cost and equivalent of $5 each, and we are coming again, and better. Put Arnhim (Eustace) and Ralph (Gonsalves) in a debate with me and let the people see who is making sense,” O’Neal said firmly.

O’Neal said money to run his campaign came from his own pocket and he was not given any assistance by the government.

He added that his party’s success or shortcomings should not be measured by the arithmetic, but rather the policies and plans the Green Party has in store for St Vincent. “If you put that to measure the Green Party, you would be very wrong. You can’t use that as a yard stick against us. Despite everything, I am proud of my party,” O’Neal added.

O’Neal, who is originally from Spring in the North Windward area, spent 43 years in England, 31 of which were in the Royal Air Force. (KW)