The “silly season” is fast approaching as St. Vincent and the Grenadines prepares itself for the next general election. Given the amount of talk on radio these days, and the conversations on Face book, it is clear that Vincentians are gearing up themselves for that date when Comrade Ralph will ring the proverbial election bell.
Indeed, among the many ULP supporters in the country, there is a sort of impatience that maybe the Comrade Leader is taking too long to ring the bell. There is a sort of feeling that it is time to put the opposition NDP, out of their misery. In fact, supporters of the NDP are preparing themselves for an election shellacking, whenever the time is ripe.
For sure, the person who will be delivering the election blows to the opposition New Democratic Party, will be the Five Star General, Comrade Ralph. Comrade Ralph is leading the ULP in this election, having been victorious in 2001, 2005, 2010 and 2015, four in a row. Now that Ralph Gonsalves has established himself as the leading Prime Minister in Caricom, with tremendous support from the international community, this five-star general is getting near impossible to beat.
The ULP track record
The ULP boasts of an impressive record of achievements which is outstanding and unprecedented, and which have benefited every family in the state. These stretch from the much talked about Education Revolution which has touched every student in the country, to the construction of the Argyle International Airport.
In every area of development, the ULP, led by the Five Star General, has established a mark that is impressive, from housing to the economy, from agriculture to the environment, from health to national security, and from foreign affairs to the reduction of poverty. Everywhere, people are talking about how far this country has come, since the ULP assumed office in 2001. This progressive record has been tremendous, and the policies and programmes of the ULP, have served to uplift the quality of life of all Vincentians.
In the face of a one seat majority in Parliament, the ULP administration has been able to handle the affairs of government fairly well. There is no crisis, and the leadership that has been provided over the years, has been progressive and impressive.
The current Covid-19 pandemic is a case in point. In the face of all the issues affecting international countries, including issues related to border control and health, the consensus is that St.Vincent and the Grenadines has made a great response to the pandemic. The ULP administration has made a strong and progressive response to the crisis, including the provision of a stimulus package, to help those sectors who are affected by the crisis.
In the midst of all this comes the launch of the PRYME programme aimed at providing assistance to young entrepreneurs who have excellent business ideas, but who are cash strapped. The ULP administration was able to roll out the PRYME programme in the middle of the Covid-19 campaign, with much success.
Now PRYME is the best thing to hit the business sector and the response has been great. In the response to this, the NDP could only trot out the half-baked idea about a development bank, without addressing the issues which have affected development banks in the State over the years. This is a further sign that the opposition New Democratic Party is bereft of ideas, with no clear understanding of the issues that affect the country, and no clear direction or policy, to sort out these issues.
No Previous Experience
The fact of the matter is that the opposition NDP has no experience in relation to the affairs of governance in this country. There is no one among their 15 candidates who can boast about experience in relation to governance. So, if Vincentians are not careful, and don’t turn out to vote in their numbers, they could end up with a government without any experience, and who will be at sea if they are elected.
Thankfully, we know that the ULP will not lose the next general election when Comrade rings the bell. The fact of the matter is that none of the eight seats held by the ULP, are under any threat from the opposition New Democratic Party. At the moment, the NDP is unable to find candidates for three seats held by the ULP, and these include East St. George, Marriaqua and North Windward.
The NDP is scrambling to find candidates for these seats and its leader Dr. Lorraine Friday, is clearly at sea, with no idea where to go. And in the midst of all this we find the NDP’s founding father, Sir James Mitchell, trying to find a niche, so he could find a way to influence his party, in some form or fashion. But there is no place for him in their ranks and Sir James will be well advised to take himself back to Bequia, to continue his retirement.
The people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines are getting impatient and are ready to welcome in the “Five Star General”, Comrade Ralph for a 5th term. The ULP has demonstrated over the years that strategic thinking and actions are its hallmarks.
The Five Star General, Comrade Ralph, and his young team, including Saboto Caesar, Camillo Gonsalves, Luke Browne, Carlos James and Randy Brewster, are all ready to go, and the fifth consecutive term is right around the corner. The five-star general is ready to lead his team to develop the new city at Arnos Vale, to begin the work to develop the Kingstown Port area, and to preside over the expansion of the hotel sector in the State.
Onward we go, five in a row!