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PMC open letter to citizens and citizens’ organisations

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06.NOV.09

Dear Fellow Citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines:

The People’s Movement For Change (PMC) reaches out in warm Vincentian embrace to all our sisters and brothers. May peace and understanding multiply among us all at this time of constitution building.{{more}}

We in the People’s Movement For Change are totally in favour of reforming our present constitution. We also see that the proposed Constitution Bill 2009 is an improvement over the 1979 constitution under which we operate. However, two things disturb us seriously and make us very fearful for our nation.

First, it is our observation that the consultation stage on the constitution has not been completed. We are more intellectually and morally aroused now as to shape the constitution with more interaction and diligence in the image of a diverse but a united and consolidated people. The second cause of our fear is the needlessly and hard hostile and partisan environment in which we are forging our fundamental national law. On both counts, our political leaders and their advisors are failing us in their practice of democracy and diplomacy.

As you may know, the PMC has written on these matters to the Honourable Prime Minister and the Honourable Leader of the Opposition. Our first request to them, among others, was that they “meet with each other, without media” and suspend the hostile partisan corruption of the referendum campaign. Prime Minister Gonsalves has replied to say that the Unity Labour Party (ULP) is not conducting a partisan campaign. He rejected our request that he speak with the New Democratic Party leadership – as he summarised it, “to appease them with further delays and concessions.” We in the PMC note with sadness and disappointment that while our Prime Minister will not dialogue with Mr. Eustace to seek peace, he calls him out in a hostile debate!

On his side, the Opposition Leader, Honourable Arnhim Eustace, after a month, has made no reply to our letter. His silence is insulting. He seems, at least, to echo the Prime Minister’s dismissal of negotiating peace.

The PMC has come to realise that our nation needs to draw back from the injurious race to the tape, and the party ownership of the constitutional reform process. This means that citizens must rise to take unusual initiative. Together, united and with one specific objective, we must persuade the community and the political leaderships to restore a respectful and harmonious process to the rebuilding of our constitution. We must do all that we can to promote our people’s ‘sovereignty’, and our nation’s sanity and health.

What can we do as citizens and citizens’ Organisations? The PMC calls on all Vincentians, personally and as collective entities, to discern the danger that lies ahead if the present disunity ‘programme’ around the constitution goes to its conclusion. We need to see also that our silence and inaction make us accomplices in crippling the democratic prospect of our nation. In practical terms, the PMC suggests these steps that we may consider as citizens.

1. An Open rally for time out, Unity, peace for our nation.

2. A broadly endorsed letter to our leaders; but first; a forum at which we build a consensus on the strict terms of our position and demands as citizens, and name a broad based guiding team.

In the PMC, we believe that we are facing a time for cold analysis and constructive engagement. Let us not fail. Let us move surely and soundly on this initiative. Chairman,
General Secretary

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