ST. VINCENT:- Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace, in a response to Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves’ “open letter to the people of the Caribbean”, has invited residents of the region to come to St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), “live the Vincentian experience … then ask yourselves: ‘Is this what we want in our own countries?’”
Gonsalves, in an Aug. 24 letter, circulated to head of government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the regional media, said Eustace’s New Democratic Party (NDP) had aligned itself with foreign forces in undermining his Unity Labour Party (ULP) administration. (Go to the homepage to subscribe to I Witness-News)
But Eustace, in his Sept. 7 response, said Vincentians “know the reality of their condition under the heavy hand of an increasingly dictatorial regime, that is more concerned about its ‘radical and revolutionary’ credentials among certain countries than the satisfaction of the basic human needs of the people of SVG, forgetting thereby that ‘All Politics is Local’”.
He said that after nine year of governance by the ULP, the issues in SVG “is the determination of the Vincentian people to rid themselves, once and for all, of this incompetent and malevolent regime, that preys on the material poverty and psychological frailties of a former colonial people, for its own selfish political survival”.
The former prime minister said the “litany of woes [ins SVG] is long and troubling”, listing among them, “abuse and mismanagement of the National Commercial Bank”, “unusual politicization of the officer corps of the police service”; and “serious attempts to manipulate the Election and Boundaries Commission to gerrymander constituencies in order to deliver an unfair advantage to the ruling ULP”. (Follow I Witness-News on Facebook)
Eustace also spoke of “the acute national embarrassment of the PM being accused of rape”; attempt to deposit US$1million cash in the National Commercial Bank; increase in crime and “criminal neglect of the vital agricultural sector”; and the “partisan” use of EC$4 million (US$1.48 million) for the “Yes” vote campaign for the November 2009 referendum.
He said there were “concerted attacks on the private sector, except for party hacks and family members” and mentioned the effect of the closure of the St. George’s Medical College, “pervasive corruption in government” and “politicization of the Civil Service”.
“After having lost the confidence and support of the Vincentian electorate, the hapless PM now turns to the people of the region to refloat his moribund political regime. It is the voters of SVG, and they alone, who will decide the outcome of this sad episode in our post independence history,” Eustace said.
He added: “The fraternal people of the Caribbean can help us by being vigilant and engaged, to ensure that the upcoming General Elections are free, fair and comply with the highest standards of representative democracy.”
General elections are due by March 28, 2011, when the ULP will bid for a third consecutive term in office.
The NDP governed SVG from 1984 to 2001.