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‘Guard against wasting resources’: GG

‘Guard against wasting resources’: GG


This country’s Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, has joined an elite company, by leading his Party to victory in the 2001, 2005, and 2010 General Elections, says His Excellency the Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne.{{more}}

In his Throne Speech delivered on Wednesday, December 29, Ballantyne said between 1956, when the ministerial system of government was introduced, and the recent 2010 General Elections, only two political leaders had ever led their political parties to three successive electoral triumphs.

These two leaders were Ebenezer Joshua, whose party won in 1957, 1961, and 1966, for an abbreviated third term, and Sir James Mitchell whose party emerged victorious in 1984, 1989, 1994 and then for a shortened term after the 1998 General Elections.

Sir Frederick mentioned that Robert Milton Cato’s St. Vincent and the Grenadines Labour Party had won three elections (1967, 1974, and 1979), but they were not successive victories.

On Gonsalves’ achievement, Sir Frederick said: “I recognise this accomplishment and heartily congratulate the Honourable Prime Minister and his Unity Labour Party. The Prime Minister is now the longest serving representative in the current Parliament. He has been here since February 1994, a span of 16 years, through five general elections.”

The Governor General also congratulated Arnhim Eustace, Leader of the Opposition, for leading his Party, the New Democratic Party, in a close electoral contest. During the 2010 General Elections, the NDP won an additional four seats to bolster the other three that it had held hitherto.

Supervisor of Elections Sylvia Findlay-Scrubb and her staff were also commended by Sir Frederick for “excellent management of the elections.”

Sir Frederick also lauded the Election Observers, both local and regional.

“It was most pleasing to hear from the overseas Observers that the general elections were free, fair, inclusive, and transparent, and that they had been held in accordance with high international standards. Our country continues to be a beacon of democracy,” said Sir Frederick.

He, however, noted that there were five aspects of the General Elections which he found troubling.

These were identified as: Excess of personal abuse and vilification from the platforms; disregard of the law and people’s sensitivities in the abuse of the right to broadcast over public address systems, mounted on moving vehicles; defacing of private and public property with posters and painted markings; politically-motivated violence; and the huge sums of money spent in the elections by the political parties and their supporters.

Sir Frederick called on Parliament to act swiftly in addressing these matters.

Regarding the defacing of public and private property with posters and painted markings, Sir Frederick said this was unacceptable in modern St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

He used the opportunity to appeal for healing, reconciliation, and nation-building. This should be one of the main goals that Vincentians should pursue, he stated.

“We must cast aside the personal vanities, narrow personal agendas and petty political bickering. We must focus more on the wide range of matters, upon which there is, or can be, consensus. I acknowledge that competitive, political democracy allows for a certain robustness of language but I believe that most reasonable citizens are likely to concur with the view that personal vilification has gone way beyond any accepted limits,” said Sir Frederick.

He warned that with the recession still affecting St.Vincent and the Grenadines, Vincentians should guard against wasting their resources.

The Governor General urged young persons to seize “the abundant, legitimate, opportunities available for their advancement.”

“Please, stay away from the tainted glitter of crime, especially those related to violence, drug trafficking, and money-laundering. Easy money invariably means big jail,” he warned.