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BEST WEEK EVER:

BEST WEEK EVER:

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With the elections in their final sprint to the finish, the New Democratic Party had by far their best week, rally-wise, with two huge meetings at Sion Hill and Victoria Park. The meeting at Victoria Park, in particular, might’ve been the largest rally ever held at that venue. But the Unity Labour Party managed to answer with two supersized events of their own.{{more}} First, a youth rally at the new Cumberland playing field, which reportedly had an impressive audience, and then with the mother-of-all-rallies, where a colossal crowd spilled onto the tarmac of the Argyle International Airport to witness the first LIAT flight touchdown. The Comrade usually gives some exaggerated estimates of crowd size at his public meetings, but he didn’t even bother this time. It certainly seemed that every able-bodied Vincentian was out at Argyle on Sunday.

Political watchers will know that the NDP turned out a huge Victoria Park crowd in 2010, but still lost the election, while the ULP/Vote Yes campaign held the infamous “Busy Signal” referendum rally, which drew thousands of people who never bothered to support the failed constitutional reform project. But TWTW still thinks that it’s better to have a big crowd than not, so we’re giving the final week to the ULP again. But, like calypsonian Lord Have Mercy said back in July, “This One Will Be Tight.”

Runner-up:

As another elections season races to its conclusion, the voting public can once again lament the absence of one-on-one political debates. However, the SVG Community College made one small, but important step towards future debates when they invited both Eustace and Gonsalves to address the College to answer questions from faculty and the student body. Eustace did his 90-minute stint and left before the Prime Minister did his, but it was probably the first time in our political history that two party leaders made their political pitch on the same stage to the same audience on the same day.

Well done, SVGCC!

WORST WEEK EVER:

Politicians in Vincy election campaigns are almost always speaking in front of friendly, enthusiastic audiences, who laugh at every bad joke and forgive platform blunders. So, it must have been jarring for Arnhim Eustace to hear the “boos” raining down on him during his speech to students at the SVG Community College. Eustace had been calm and assured for the first half of his presentation, but once the audience turned on him, he never regained his footing.

Eustace likes to portray himself as the teller of inconvenient, unvarnished truths, and that’s all well and good. But the bearer of bad news rarely gets a positive reception in a hall full of hopeful, optimistic young people, and the students definitely dealt Eustace a political body blow. Ralph Gonsalves, on the other hand, gave a vintage Gonsalves performance that served as an important contrast with Eustace’s dour doom and gloom.

Runner-up:

Truth is always the first casualty of election wars, but this silly season has been extra silly. A case in point is Vynnette Frederick’s laughable claim that Searchlight editor Clare Keizer and Ambassador Ellsworth John were part of an official election observer group to monitor the fairness and impartiality of this year’s contest in SVG.

Vynnette’s claim, if true, would have been shocking, especially regarding John, who is rumoured to be the de facto campaign manager of ULP candidate Debbie Charles. But, as with so many political allegations by Frederick, this one was long on hype and short on facts. Keizer and John are not part of any SVG observer team, and couldn’t be if they wanted to, since rules stipulate that only non-nationals can observe election contests. The Searchlight, Keizer and Ambassador John issued swift denials of Frederick’s claims. But if you thought that Frederick would apologize or retract her accusation, you haven’t been paying attention to Vincy politics.

If I had a question in SVG Parliament

…I’d ask all political candidates to declare all of their assets, and sign a declaration that they would step aside if any hidden assets come to light. That would go a long way to quashing the rumours and innuendo about corrupt politicians with Swiss bank accounts, while injecting some much-needed transparency into the murky world of campaign financing.

Media Watch

Luta, Skinny, Kevin Lyttle, Konshens, Freddie McGregor, Fire Empress (almost!) and so on: Nothing like an election campaign to lift the quality of free entertainment in SVG. But has anyone in the media asked how much these artistes are being paid, and, more importantly, where the money is coming from?

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