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NDP says march and rally is signal to ULP

NDP says march and rally is signal to ULP

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Supporters of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) took to the streets last Thursday in a march and rally they said was a signal to the Unity Labour Party (ULP) administration that they are ready for change.{{more}}

Hundreds of supporters turned out and marched from the NDP’s headquarters at Murray’s Road to the intersection at Sion Hill.

And despite a mishap at the beginning of the march that saw the party’s president and Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace being treated at hospital for an injured shoulder, the opposition parliamentarians would be encouraged by what they saw.

“The sight of so many of you here is reflective of one point … People would want to call this a wake, but I want to say to them that when they see what is going on here tonight, they will know that the giant has awakened,” Parliamentary Representative for West Kingstown Daniel Cummings told the gathering.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said before the rally that it would be “a wake without cocoa tea”.

“That is the awakening that they should be aware of, because this country has decided that it is time for them to go,” Cummings further said.

“The awakening is here and it is not just a physical awakening, it is a spiritual awakening, my brothers and sisters, that is sweeping through this land and the end is near…” he continued.

Dr Godwin Friday, NDP vice-president and parliamentary representative for the Northern Grenadines, expanded on the point, saying that these were difficult times, but sometimes it was hard to tell this from the manner in which some ULP supporters spoke.

“I wonder if they are living in a parallel universe, because the things we see on a daily basis are evident to anybody who is only a casual observer to the things the people feel on a daily basis will tell you that we are in unprecedented times in St Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said.

“Quite factually I think we are, because I don’t think there was ever a time in the history of this country when year after year for four years straight the economy has declined … That means that economic activity has declined year after year after year.”

“So, we going backward not forward,” he said.

The International Monetary Fund, which had previously said that the Vincentian economy declined for four years, revised its figure, saying that the economy grew by 0.4 per cent last year, after three years.

Friday said that it was from seeing the gathering that they, the elected Opposition members, gain courage and strength.

“The people of St Vincent and the Grenadines have a long tradition of standing up for what is right,” Friday said.

He reminded the people that in a democracy it was the citizens who have the highest office.

“They are there to serve you and when they don’t, you don’t have to accept their excuses; you have a right to vote them out of office,” he said of the government.

There was some uncertainty as to whether the opposition leader would appear, following the earlier mishap; however, Eustace arrived to thunderous applause from the crowd.

He gave a review of the current fiscal problems affecting the country and spoke of his lack of confidence in the present administration to lead the country out of “economic disaster”.

“We are ready!” Eustace declared, saying that it warmed his heart to see the large gathering.

He said that the crowd was also indicative that the NDP was more than alive and ready to take over the reins of power.

“The prime minister talking about wake; the economy is dead that is why we need a wake,” Eustace said.

“There are thousands and thousands of people here tonight, not only by chance; you are here because you feel the pressure — the pressure put on this country by Gonsalves and his Cabinet,” the opposition leader said.

He, too, contended that the country was not growing, adding that this comes at a price.

Eustace explained that people could not pay for their children’s education, food, rent, or medication.

“But he talks and talks and talks … Tonight he will have his people here looking at this crowd and he will have to ask himself what I really doing?” he said of the prime minister.

“Tonight we have a demonstration of people who are concerned with how this country is going and now is the time to change the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines and put in the New Democratic Party to run the affairs of this country,” Eustace said.

His party will not be using any violent means to get into office, but meaningful change according to law, which would be coming very soon, Eustace, however, maintained.

“These are not easy times and we have warned the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines that Gonsalves them don’t know what they are doing, they don’t know.”

He said that the IMF delegation had initially indicated that the country’s economy will grow by two per cent, but now estimates that it would be somewhere below one per cent.

“That tells me and I expect it to be negative again for the fifth consecutive year … and that is why you are feeling so much pressure.”

Eustace again said the ULP administration had failed the economy by doing things wrong and it was impossible to continue in the manner in which the country was going.

“It is hurtful to see the conditions of many people in this country,” the leader of the opposition said.

Everyone deserves a descent standard of living, but that was impossible because all the money was going to the airport, he said, in reference to the $652 million international airport being built at Argyle.

“I am appealing to the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines that it is time for the change … time to put in a government that understands the economy of this country and bring a better standard of living,” he said.

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