‘Better days ahead of us’ – Opposition Leader
Leader of the Opposition, Dr Godwin Friday pleaded with the people of Greiggs to “save the life of [their] country,” while delivering a speech at the New Democratic Party (NDP) Rally in Greiggs last Sunday.
The Greiggs Primary School was changed into a yellow sea last Sunday as supporters from Greiggs, the Grenadines, and other places around the country infiltrated the compound with flags and horns.
Friday took the microphone last, after speeches from regional representatives of sister parties from Grenada and Dominica, Senator Kay Bacchus-Baptiste, prospective candidate for South Central Windward Israel Bruce, and Vice Presidents Major St Clare Leacock and Roland Matthews, among others.
He stated, “For too long we have been pulled apart by the politics of great and selfish greed. For too long we have been laboring under the yolk of divide and conquer politics, practiced by those now in power.”
“We do not have to banish our neighbour to poverty and pain, to prosper ourselves. There is enough for all of us, or at least there can be, if we organize ourselves in the right way, and that is what I offer, that is what we in the New Democratic Party offer to our people,” he reiterated.
The Leader of the Opposition outlined ways in which he believes the Unity Labour Party (ULP) has failed the country.
“If you need a reminder of how badly the ULP has failed us, simply reflect on the poor performance of our economy over the time that they have been in power. The International Monetary Fund said in its most recent report, that’s in December, that economic growth in St Vincent and the Grenadines has stagnated since 2009.”
“Our people are paying more taxes every year, to pay for the growing Government debt, and they are getting less for their sacrifice. Our country now has the highest taxes, and the lowest wages in the OECS,” he listed.
He detailed how much the banana industry has fallen in the years, and concluding “the banana industry in St Vincent is dead. The people in this part of the country know it better than anyone else… because who feels it, knows it.”
One person in the crowd, among noise of agreement from others, responded at this time, “Yes, We do! We do!”
He also stated, “Can you believe that this government, the geniuses who are running this country, have just imposed a tax on hotels and guest houses of $8 per room, per night? They say the money is to raise funds for climate change. They have done this even though the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank figures have shown that the stay over visitors in St Vincent and the Grenadines, that the numbers have declined over the past years significantly.”
“Do not be afraid of the future under the NDP government. You have known me for the past 17 years in Parliament…because I know in my heart that we are all one people. The New Democratic Party represents everyone…” he said.
He assured, “I see better days ahead of us, as clear as day. It can be done, together we can do it, but to do so, to bring our country once more in the sunshine we must remove the blight…that has afflicted us for the past 17 years. We must remove Ralph Gonsalves and the ULP from power. They have been there for so long that they no longer understand, if they ever did, how the ordinary people live, how you live, how you make ends meet.”
He asked the people of Greiggs especially for their support, as they had apparently given to Sir James Mitchell, a former leader of the NDP, by hiding him when there was an attempt on his life in the past.
He appealed, “We need you. We need Israel Bruce. We need your support. People of South Central Windward – your country needs you. You are being called upon today to save not just one life, this time we are calling on you to save the life of your country.”
Continuing amidst the noise of the resolve of the NDP supporters present, he stated, “Help us to bring about the change that St Vincent and the Grenadines desperately needs. We must remind Ralph and his crew, the outdated encyclopedia and his tattered copybooks, that the time is up. This country has endured enough. It is not theirs to rape and plunder.”