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NDP has gained no ground

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15.MAY.09

Editor: With less than two years to go before the next general elections, voters in St. Vincent and the Grenadines seem poised to return the Ralph Gonsalves Unity Labour Party (ULP) government to power.{{more}}

It also seems the New Democratic Party (NDP) leader has embarked on an early campaign of lies, half-truths and deception, in order to save his floundering party and, indeed, his own hugely unsuccessful political career.

The NDP has gained no ground since the last poll when it captured 44 % of the popular vote, going under for the second consecutive time to the Gonsalves well-oiled political machine. It does not seem much would change in the months leading up to election day. If anything, the ULP will solidify its hold on power with the near completion of several important projects, including the Argyle International Airport, the Cross Country Road, the National Library, the modern state-of-the-art hospital at Georgetown, a new Constitution and the completion of portions of the Leeward and Windward Highways.

These and other well received projects of the ULP government have sent Mr. Eustace scrambling and changing his message on a daily basis. Mr. Eustace is a drowning politician, and he is intent on using the tactic of scaremongering and spreading outright falsehoods.

The recent election of President Barack Obama in the United States also has dealt a severe blow to Mr. Eustace and the NDP. There is a massive shift in the American foreign policy. Like Dr. Gonsalves, Obama is willing to dialogue with friends and “enemies” alike. The ULP’s magnificent foreign policy seems to be in line with that of Mr. Obama’s. Now that there are high-level talks between the USA and countries like Cuba, Venezuela and Iran, Mr. Eustace’s accusation that the ULP makes bad friends for SVG has been miserably blunted. The talk of “what America would think” is now a thing of the past in the NDP message.

So, Mr. Eustace, the man dubbed “Mr Clean” by his party, has embarked on a campaign of dirty politics at home and in the Diaspora. Mr. Eustace came out of the constitutional reform starting block urging Vincentians to rise above petty partisan politics and participate meaningfully in the Constitutional Revision process. In fact, in a show of bi-partisanship, Mr. Eustace seconded the legislative motion for constitutional reform. He (Mr Eustace) supported the process every step of the way, until one day he woke up and realised that it was an election winner. Although agreeing with most of what is contained in the Parnel Campbell document, Mr. Eustace wants Vincentians to say No in the November Referendum on the Constitution, only because he now wants term limits in and an increase in constituencies out.

We should not be too surprised of Mr. Eustace’s new position. It is the same Arnhim Eustace who has repeatedly told Vincentians that he and his party support more than 75 per cent of the ULP legislative agenda, since they (ULP) came to office in 2001. Yet, he now claims that the Ralph Gonsalves government he (Eustace) supports – at least in Parliament – is the worst in SVG since adult suffrage.

The ULP hears and understands the concerns of Vincentians. But staying away from the polls is not recommended. Our votes can make the difference between four more years of relative prosperity in SVG or a return to corruption and mismanagement of another Eustace administration.

Mr. Eustace and the NDP thus far have no position on the international airport, the cross country road, the Georgetown hospital, etc., except to state that they oppose these projects.

Every Vincentian man and woman who manages a family or business knows that strong, experienced leadership is critical to the future of the country and its economy. A strong economy and visionary foreign policy are key to funding the important health, education and social services that are so important to Vincentian families.

American Congressman Gregory Meeks told us recently that Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves “is a leader among leaders”. We know that. We believe that. We can’t say the same for Mr. Eustace.I am confident Vincentians will vote for Gonsalves, real change and continued progress over Eustace and destruction.

Wade Kojo Williams Sr.

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