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NDP, back fight against drugs, crime

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29.MAY.09

Editor: I find it very interesting how we can throw reason out of the door and begin to possess tunnel vision whenever we are passionate – albeit negatively – about something.

I am referring here to St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace and Opposition Senator St. Clair Leacock’s reactions to “Operation Vincy Pac” now being conducted mainly in “the hills” to rid St. Vincent and the Grenadines of the illegal cultivation of marijuana plants and the attendant illegal activities, as well as halt the proliferation of illegal guns throughout the country.{{more}}

Ganja destroyed

According to the lead story in Saturday’s (May 23, 2009) Nation Newspaper, “So far over 400,000 grown marijuana plants and about 250,000 young plants have been destroyed in the operation. Over three million seedlings have also been eradicated.”

On the NDP radio programme on Nice Radio (SVG) over the weekend, both Eustace and Leacock – Honourable Members of Parliament and members of the political party seeking to form the next government in St. Vincent and the Grenadines – attacked the government and security forces for carrying out the operation. In fact, Mr. Eustace said that given the current economic climate in SVG, now is not the time to conduct such an operation. In other words, according to Mr. Eustace, law and order should not be maintained when a country’s economy is bad.

As I see it, as a country develops, crime and violence will increase… and will be carried out with a great degree of sophistication.

This type of security operation (“Vincy Pac”) will become necessary from time to time, if governments are to keep their citizens safe and secure and maintain law and order.

The criminals in “the hills” who engage in illegal activities understand this. Decent, law-abiding citizens know this and support these operations. This is not a SVG thing. These operations are conducted all over the world on a daily basis to gather intelligence and maintain law and order. Vincentians should commend the Government for honouring its obligation to the nation in this regard.

Mr. Eustace and his party’s spokespersons continue to punch below the belt and shoot from the hip. Consequently, they continue to miss the targets (by miles) and end up looking very irresponsible and unpatriotic vociferous opponents of law and order.

In the recent past, there are several other examples of this foolish type of behaviour exhibited by the NDP.

Mr. Eustace and the NDP supported the Constitutional Review process from its inception. It was Mr. Eustace who seconded the Parliamentary Motion on the Constitution Review.

Sudden change

For six years, Eustace and his party supported the process in and out of Parliament. Then suddenly one day, Mr. Eustace decided he wanted included term limits for the Prime Minister. He also opposes the increase in the number of constituencies. So he and his party withdrew support for a revised constitution.

Incidentally, if Eustace gets his way and the Revised Constitution is voted down in the November Referendum, Mr. Eustace will not get his term limits on the Prime Minister, and the number of constituencies can easily be increased by a simple amendment to the SVG Election Act. No Constitutional amendment is required for that change.

On August 08, 2005, Prime Minister Gonsalves outlined a detailed proposal for the construction of the Argyle International Airport. Thus far, Vincentians have heard no formal response from Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition – the New Democratic Party. But we have heard much opposition from Mr. Eustace at public meetings and on radio shows.

Mr. Eustace also commissioned a study by a former member of his government to show the cost of the airport will be twice as much as that presented by Prime Minister Gonsalves. Just how they (the NDP) arrived at this finding boggles the mind, because Eustace has always maintained that he and his party have never seen any information on the Argyle International Airport project.

A few days ago, I was discussing last Thursday’s (May 21, 2009) Meeting of the SVG parliament with a Vincentian who attended that said meeting (I had listened to it via radio broadcast over the Internet). I commented on the fact that Mr. Eustace stayed away from the House that day for fear Dr. Gonsalves would chide him (Mr. Eustace) for his erroneous statements made on his recent North America tour. I also commended both sides of the isle for their friendly exchanges during the Meeting.

Show of support

I was informed that after the presentation of the Prime Minister’s Ministerial Statement on the current regional immigration issue, appointed Senator Leacock, who apparently served as Parliamentary Opposition Leader that day, was conspicuous in his show of support for the Prime Minister’s Statement by applauding and thumping the desk.

Since then, perhaps because of rebukes from EG Lynch and Party PRO Vynette Frederick, Senator Leacock has changed his tune, moved in step with his party and now chastises the Prime Minister for the contents of the said Ministerial Statement. Even in face of support for the Prime Minister’s Statement from the official Opposition Leader of Barbados, Guyana’s Prime Minister and several prominent journalists/political analysts throughout the region.

When there are allegations of police brutality, let us be swift and vocal in our condemnation of these actions. Equally so, let us support our Police Force, as they carry out legitimate operations to rid our country of crime and violence and keep Vincentians safe and secure.

Based on the performance of Mr. Eustace and the New Democratic Party, I can’t imagine Mr. Eustace staying on as NDP Leader for very much longer. I cannot see the Vincentian electorate voting for this irresponsible bunch in the next general elections.

They seem to have no philosophy and no understanding of how the region or the world works.

Cde. T. Wade Kojo Williams, Sr.

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