Prime Minister Dr Hon Ralph Gonsalves and Political Leader of the Unity Labour Party has dismissed suggestions that the electoral process in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is being undermined by his government and party.
Dr Gonsalves was replying to President of the SVG Christian Council Monsignor Michael Stewart who raised several matters reported to them by the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP). While the Prime Minister’s letter was released to the media, the original letter sent by the Christian Council was not.
The Prime Minister said:
“From the vantage point of my extensive experience as an electoral candidate, every general elections since independence have been free and fair, and represented the will of the people. I do not know how anyone can “steal” elections in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, given all the extraordinary safeguards.”
“Similarly, I do not know how in the current climate of a diversified globalised world of advanced science, technology, and the opportunity to garner a sufficiency of election resources in, among, and with, a small-sized electorate, that it is possible legally to have general elections other than “free and fair”.
“So, dear Father Mike, please believe me: The NDP will never have any confidence in the electoral system, if, as appears likely, they lose again for a fifth consecutive term. As far as the NDP is concerned, the general elections will only be free and fair if they win. The SVG Christian Council ought to be on alert to the continued political bad behaviour by the NDP. Remember their battle cry: “No Justice, No Peace”. And “Justice” exists only if they win”.
The opposition has raised among other concerns the distribution of building materials and equal access to NBC Radio as pressing matters affecting their chances in the upcoming general elections.
In the letter, the Prime Minister went on to say:
Please be assured that the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (GOSVG) under the political leadership of the Unity Labour Party (ULP), as endorsed by the electorate in general elections in 2001, 2005, 2010, and 2015, remain as committed as ever to the conduct of free and fair elections, democracy, and good governance in accordance with the Constitution and Laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The NDP has filed election petitions following the 2015 general elections challenging the results of the Central Leeward and North Windward constituencies.
The problem is we the public know otherwise, we know they were not free and fair. We know the people were bribed with building materials. We know that ballot boxes were stuffed with fraudulent ballots. We know extra people were moved int constituencies. We know some people were registered in more than one name. We know that expensive attorneys were used to frustrate the oppositions claims of election fraud. If there was no fraud why did we spend millions of dollars trying to stop the petitions and other actions?