“You talk of star pegs in round holes; the point is to ensure that you have people of competence doing their jobs….”A Dr. Godwin Friday-led government would lead by example in the House of Assembly as they hope to establish bipartisanship in parliament and across St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
This commitment came from Dr. Friday as he responded to questions from the Vincentian electorate last Sunday via Asbert News Network and ITFX Digital Solutions’ interview series ‘On D Spot.’
Following a New Democratic Party victory at the polls, Dr. Friday explained, his administration would make a practice of listening to Opposition members and treat their views as valid concerns.
“The Opposition is also elected, you know, they represent people… Everyone who is in the House of Representatives put themselves forward in service and people voted them so they are there.
“They have a voice and it must be listened to. It can’t be a situation where you have tyranny of the majority – simply because you have a majority of the seats in the parliament then ‘it’s my way or the highway.’
“You have to listen because those people who are there on the Opposition are also elected they have a voice, they represent people from various constituencies. And so this is how I would govern, just from the sheer sense of it. This is not something that is so radically different to what we have done in the past.”
Dr. Friday, the President of the NDP and the nation’s Opposition Leader, is vying for what would be his first term as Prime Minister in his almost 20 year-old political career – if his 2020 elections bid is successful.
He pointed to the fact that Opposition’s role is enshrined in the Vincentian constitution and as such ought to be respected, “don’t make them feel as though they are illegitimate which is how the Opposition tends to feel here.”
Sharing and ultimately developing ideas from across the aisle in a spirit of shaping “what is best for the country and not just what is best for the party in power” is just one of the pillars of the potentially Dr. Godwin Friday-led government.
He also availed himself of the opportunity to address the inherent victimization culture that pervades small states’ political regime change, according to Dutch political scientist WouterVeenendaal.
“Victimization has no place in government… you step on somebody’s toes and it’s somebody close to you; you’re hurting yourself basically. We have no place for that in our governance. We’ve seen it happen under this ULP [Unity Labour Party] government and we’ve talked about it. But we have to get away from that.
“You talk of star pegs in round holes; the point is to ensure that you have people of competence doing their jobs if you’re doing your job and you’re adding to the public good then you are doing what you are supposed to do. That’s what we want.
“And so the people who are sitting there and worrying and saying that the NDP is going to come and remove them from their jobs because they were appointed under a ULP administration – yo doing yo job, you’re fine.”
The necessary redundancies that must be implemented to make the government’s payroll expenses more manageable, Dr. Friday explained, would be carried out in an environment where opportunities for self-actualization are readily available.
“The point is to make government effective and efficient; if we can provide jobs in alternate means then they will go and find jobs elsewhere…. People will adjust. People who used to come and look for a job in the public sector would say there are better opportunities in the private sector…”