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I want to see… Part 2

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by Maxwell Haywood 21.JAN.11

Last week, I highlighted what I want to see the ULP-led government succeed at doing for the whole nation. This week I do the same for the Opposition NDP. As the official voice of about 47 per cent of the Vincentian electorate, the NDP is a national force to be reckoned with. Therefore, I must include them in my discussion on what I want to see in SVG, in terms of social advancement.{{more}}

I would like to see the NDP place more emphasis on constructive critiques and well-developed alternative policies to those they oppose. I would like to also see that the NDP refrains from opposing for sake of opposing and seek to find policy consensus with the ULP-led government. This is important because after all is said and done, the nation’s needs and genuine aspirations could only be efficiently and effectively met when all Vincentians become part of the national development process void of divisiveness. On the contrary, trying to meet these needs and aspirations on a platform of political party divisiveness will be the best recipe for dysfunctional conflicts. I do not want to see that!

A couple days before the general elections of 2010, the NDP promised Vincentians that if it wins, it will create 20,000 jobs. I am eager for this to happen. Imagine 20,000 jobs! The NDP has a patriotic duty to persuade investors to put their money into the economy which would benefit SVG. The NDP has said that because of the Prime Minister, Dr. Gonsalves, these investors do not want to invest in SVG. The NDP must persuade them otherwise. Dr. Gonsalves is there for at least one more term. So should we wait until the next election to begin to attract investors that will provide these jobs? What about the prolonged sufferation of those unemployed Vincentians? I want to see the NDP and the government working in unity to create these 20,000 jobs. Any other divisive strategy to create these 20,000 jobs must be condemned as reckless and unpatriotic.

The NDP claims that it will fight for Vincentians to have access to quality education. The NDP is proud about its book loan scheme and its construction of the Community College. It is also proud about its past efforts in building schools and creating educational programmes while it was in office for 17 years. I would want to think that a political party with this legacy of expanding and improving education opportunities for Vincentians would love to see any government continue in that direction. The NDP should not allow these achievements that it boasts about to become vulnerable to any sort of political vengeance or conservatism by those in its ranks. I say this because presently the education policy of the government places emphasis on access to all levels of education. I would want to see the NDP work in unity with the ULP-led government to ensure the government takes these initiatives to the highest levels in the shortest time possible. After all, this would be building on the NDP’s efforts during its 17 years of leading the government.

The NDP also has a good idea when it says that it will “Promote our Spiritual and Social Redemption Charters.” Not many Vincentians will disagree that our nation needs spiritual and social healing and harmony. After over 30 years of independence, there is still much division and discord based on class, race, gender, religion, and politics. Crime and violence has reached levels unknown before in the nation. Rage is too prominent at all levels of the society. Something has desperately gone wrong in the nation’s social fabric and psyche. For sure, SVG needs reawakening. It is against this background that I want to see the NDP elaborate the idea of the Spiritual and Social Redemption Charters. The ULP-led government is also keen on carrying out such a national strategy, as evidenced by the creation of the Ministry of National Reconciliation. In the interest of national unity, I want to see the NDP seriously grounding with the ULP-led government to build these platforms for national redemption, unity and reconciliation.

I want to see the NDP elaborate its ideas for a national health insurance programme; national food security through an agricultural renewal programme; and supporting and strengthening specialist healthcare programs for diabetes, cancer, heart diseases, hypertension and stress management. These ideas are not fundamentally different from those promoted by the ULP-led government. The health sector is one in which all Vincentians want to see improvements. The NDP should heed this aspiration of the people and unite efforts with the government in order to transform the health sector.

Immediately after the election, the NDP assured Vincentians that “…the people of SVG can be sure of effective representation”. I want to see the NDP succeed with this approach. This is the reason why I want to see the NDP seriously reconsidering its strategy to demonize the policies of the ULP-led government. It is one thing to be critical of waste, corruption, and lack of statesmanship. But it is something else to recognize when policies are good and benefit the nation. It is also one thing for the NDP supporters and the rest of the population to recognize and acknowledge good public policies, but it is another thing for the NDP leadership to attempt to convince that same population that what seems good to them as Vincentians is bad for the nation. If the NDP is not careful, this approach can help to bury its hopes of ever winning the seat of government.

These are some of the directions in which I want to see the NDP move. I want to see the nation be the winner. In the realities before us, it could never be too much to want to see the two most active political organizations (the ULP and the NDP) seeking common ground in the interest of the forward march of the land of the blessed, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Our ancestors who survived chattel slavery, indentured servitude, colonialism, and neocolonialism will rejoice if the two political parties find common ground as soon as possible. I join my ancestors in this anticipated rejoicing.

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