KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – In November, he said that a “guerrilla war” would break out here if Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves collects any of the EC$250,000 a court said NICE Radio must pay for slander. Now pharmacist Matthew Thomas, one of Gonsalves former Movement for National Unity (MNU) colleagues, is proposing a political party.
Thomas and Junior Bacchus, co-host of a radio programme here, Monday night detailed their proposal for “the Political Party For Political Reformation, Equality, Socialization, and Services (PRESS).
“PRESS is a social democratic political party whose philosophy is based on the democratic rights and freedoms of the people as enshrined in the Constitution of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and within the precinct of a West Minster Parliamentary Democracy,” Thomas said.
“We are not too concerned about foreign policy on the Far East side – dictatorial, social and otherwise,” he added.
The main objectives of the political party include building a level of self-reliance within each individual and in the nation as a whole.
It will also strive to create “as much as possible an environment that affords equal opportunities for all”.
“Now this will never happen,” Thomas said. “This is an utopia. … You will never get it totally but make better than what exists.”
PRESS also hope to inculcate in the minds of all that they have a stake in the nation and on no occasion must be made to feel like an alien.
“I see too many young men and women on the streets of Kingstown and this country who feel [as if they are] not human beings and part of St. Vincent; they are treated like aliens…” Thomas said.
He said he recently stood outside a Kingstown court and saw police taking many youths, “all black people and poor people”, before the judge.
“Do you think these boys really want to be vagabonds? But they give up hope. And I see neither of the two parties making an effort to correct this measure,” he said.
The main political parties here are Gonsalves’ Unity Labour Party and the main opposition New Democratic Party. The Green Party is not considered a main player in the nation’s politics.
Thomas said that the Gonsalves government is building a bigger jail and employing more police.
“If you are building bigger jail and nobody goes there, you would be disappointed. You are building bigger jail because you are preparing our youths for jail. … Rather than inculcating in their mind the level of decency for decent living, you leave then to suffer,” he said.
He further said that said many youth graduate from school but can’t find anything to do.
He spoke of the three teachers who ran on behalf of the New Democratic Party in the December 2010 general elections and were not reemployed by the Gonsalves government.
“They are frustrated. They might be frustrated to the point of losing their honesty for survival. Quite possible! And this is what we are saying. We can’t support that kind of thing any longer,” he said.
“We are looking for a group of young men and women in this country who are prepared to see with us and step in the ring. Take this country away from Ralph and … the dirty dozen, the bandits,” he further stated.
The political party will also seek to make each Vincentian a nation builder, proud to be a citizen of this country. “These, we shall be expounding on as time goes by,” Thomas said of the party objectives.
He said that PRESS already has proposals for education, agriculture, communication, local government, and social benefits. “These things can only be implemented if people who believe in them are in government,” Thomas said.
Bacchus further said that the objectives are people-centred. “… So, with the people being at the centre, all the other things around should lead directly to bring about the kind of change and transformation in the lives of the people,” he added.
Thomas said that citizens could contact him and Thomas for copies of the documents detailing the political party. “Study it, be critical of it, add to it, subtract, divide it, put it how you want, make your comments,” he said.
“And hopefully, one of these days we shall be able to sit as a group of people, discuss it as a people and debate it and take it … as the way forward for this country.”
“It is a discussion document,” Bacchus added.
Thomas said last year that the seed for his “guerrilla war” were already planted. “I will be behind bars directing the show. If you go beyond jailing me and you kill me, which some of you willing to do, you would never get the chance to sing at my funeral you do it your way,” he further stated.
Commissioner of Police Keith Miller has written to Director of Public Prosecution Collin Williams is to see what action, if any, should be taken against the talk show host.