A look at the Political Landscape
EDITOR: It’s once again that time when the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) will be heading to the polls. The two main political parties have been attempting to woo the undecided voters to join with them in their camp. I wish to objectively look at what is up for grabs. I am not going to try to influence the diehards of both parties, because the NDP and ULP stalwarts will vote along personal lines. Quite unfortunate!
This is what obtains … ULP has trotted out the many achievements they have made. They have built an international airport; they have established the education revolution; they are currently building a national stadium at Diamonds, they have established rural clinics and a state of the art rural hospital, and they have secured a position for SVG on the world stage to name a few. They say that the people of SVG are in a much better position than they were some 19 years ago. NDP refutes their claims and insists that the ruling party has done absolutely nothing for the people of SVG. NDP claims that people are extremely poor, they lack jobs and if we are to believe this, then the people of SVG are close to mirroring those poverty-stricken third world countries.
The alternative is to bring the NDP into power because they will establish a toll booth at Sion Hill, bring in the dolphins and build a water sports facility at Sion Hill Bay, as well as build a deep water harbour at Richmond. Their campaign strategy is to focus on integrity, somewhat similar to Eustace’s tagline of establishing a “gentler
society”. They have brought back the past Prime Minister Sir James Mitchell and have changed the colour of the party to white (I was expecting that the name of the party would have been changed as well from the New Democratic Party to the Democratic Perfect Party). They seem to be advocating that SVG will be a Utopia under the NDP!
The reality! While I have some very good friends who are staunch NDP supporters, I’m sorry to say, like Thomas Moore in A Man for All Seasons, “I could not find the better way”. The absence of a definitive plan of moving St. Vincent forward under the NDP party is worrying. NDP cannot or should not run a campaign on a stifled conscience. It is true to say that some, not all of the promises of the ULP have been kept, but by and large there has been growth in SVG. There has been a distinct movement towards valuing education as compared to before. As a matter of fact, many of the same NDP stalwarts have benefitted from the very education revolution they decry. Secondly, SVG has been able to garner respect in the regional and international arena. Under the NDP regime, there were many times I felt embarrassed when representatives from SVG were required to speak on our behalf, both regionally and internationally.
The building boom and the infrastructural changes have all been acquired under ULP. These are only a few positive movements that I have itemized.
On the flip side, the ULP should have improved the operations of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital and paid more attention to the state of the roads in the capital city, as well as other significant by-roads. There are also some public servants who man the front desks in key government institutions who need a detailed course of studies in customers’ service. Their attitudes reflect very poorly on the government and causes questions to arise as to whether they are NDP supporters undermining the work of the government. I cannot believe that anyone would compromise their work ethics to behave in a shoddy manner.
The question still remains … what can the NDP offer now that will ensure a better way of life for SVG … cut ties with Taiwan and embrace China? I am not a scholar of economics, but is it wise economically, given that the USA, one of the major world leaders is at loggerheads with China? What happens to all the Vincentian scholars studying in Taiwan? Should we pursue selling passports to other nationalities?
I can go on and on but the point is, if the people of SVG will change the government for the simple reason that there is a need for change, then we must be willing to accept all the ills that accompany change. My intention is to support the ULP party … I cannot with a true conscience find the other way!