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Is NDP only interested in Kingstown?

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4.MAY.07

EDITOR: I understand that there was once a time when people from the Grenadines, or the countryside of St. Vincent, as well as those who were not fortunate enough to go to the Grammar School or Girls’ High School, were not considered important. I recently met a lady in her 60s who confirmed this notion to me. She indicated that she had two strikes against her while growing up in St.Vincent and the Grenadines; she was born in the Grenadines but lived with her Aunt in Mespo after her mom died and she went to the Emmanuel High School there in the country.{{more}}

Presently, the NDP party seems to be controlled by individuals from Kingstown. In fact, it is obvious that the two appointed Senators of the NDP have more power in the party than the two elected opposition members of parliament from the Grenadines. If this bias is true, then we are in need of spiritual guidance, for it appears as though a prejudice against people from the Grenadines and/or country continues to exist in St.Vincent and the Grenadines and now in the NDP.

Dr. Gonsalves has continued put pressure on the Grenadines and its people; his recent tax on fares for people traveling, by boat, to and from the Grenadines is a clear example of discrimination.

This does not, however, give us the right to discriminate against Vincentians outside of Kingstown, within our NDP.

Some time ago, Dr. Kenneth John wrote an article in the Vincentian newspaper outlining at least 6 or 7 capable leaders that were present in the NDP. Yet these possible leaders seem not to be included among the controllers of the NDP. In fact, during the last election campaign, candidates for the town seats had the best public address systems while those in the Grenadines and the Leeward and Windward constituencies had to depend on inferior, cheap, `noisy’ systems to have their voices heard. It was also clear that the NDP representatives for the `town seats’ had candidates from other constituencies rallying their supporters without them in turn, receiving any reciprocal effort in kind.

Many Vincentians here in the US are observing this blemish in the NDP. We think that there must be important roles in the NDP that should be given to representatives throughout the entire country. We are also taking note of a noticeable trend that clearly excludes many of the stalwarts of the NDP. I hope that it is a false perception on our part.

What is clear to me is that the NDP will better serve the needs of the people of St.Vincent and the Grenadines than the ULP, but it won’t be able to do this if it concentrates only on Kingstown. There are 12 other seats at present and this can easily be expanded to 14 or 16. Dr. Gonsalves had probably recognized this flaw in the thinking of the NDP `leadership’ and sent Julian Francis to run in Kingstown so as to get the NDP to concentrate their efforts and resources in that area. We also note that he recently appointed countrymen to be ambassadors in Toronto and Ottawa, and had a public display at Rabacca not to thrill the NDP followers but rather, to try to cement his support in the countryside so that if there is another election, he would have enough people migrate to those close seats so as to tip the balance in favour of the ULP.

I am appealing to the NDP advisers, if there are any, to recognize a serious shortcoming in their approach and strategic planning, and adopt a scientific plan to make sure that all constituencies in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are equitably supported in order to win the next election, even if it might mean losing a Kingstown seat. It is obvious to me that concentrating on Kingstown and excluding key people would make it easy for Dr. Gonsalves to win the next election, that is, if there is any. We have to change this limited NDP plan because those of us who were treated like second class citizens in the past do not want to see it revived, even in our NDP. It is situations like this that persuaded me to give up politics for a quiet and more subdued life here in the United States.

Josephine Williams

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