Moving from a defensive position to one of offense, Prime Minister Dr Gonsalves has warned the SVG Christian to be on the lookout for the disruptive behaviour of the New Democratic Party as the campaign heats up.
While the Christian Council had zoomed in on the government’s distribution of building supplies and the unequal access provided by State radio station NBC radio 705 to the New Democratic Party, Gonsalves took the opportunity to point out a pattern of conduct which he believes are “direct threats to free and fair elections, democracy, and civilised life and living”.
I urge the SVG Christian Council to direct its attention, too, to the conduct of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) since the 2015 general elections in diminishing the process of free and fair elections, and the people’s will. Examples abound. Some of them are:
1. The refusal to accept as legitimate, free and fair, the results of the 2015 general elections despite the judgment of Justice Stanley John in the High Court of Justice, in March 2019, dismissing the two petitions of two NDP candidates and reaffirming the victory of the two ULP candidates whose elections were challenged.
2. The public protest organised and led by the Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Lorraine Friday, on the very day of the High Court’s dismissal of the two NDP petitions. Dr. Friday’s screaming battle-cry was “No Justice, No peace”. Bearing in mind that the absence of “peace” is “war”. Why did not the SVG Christian Council denounce the elevation of “war” as a sacrament of our times? Can there be “justice” only if the NDP wins? Was not Dr. Friday’s utterance a direct attack on the independence of the judiciary? Why is the NDP yet to prosecute its appeal in these cases expeditiously, rather than its pursuit of rabble-rousing on this issue?
3. The nearly four-year, daily, harassment of, threats towards, and actual violence directed against, the immediate past Supervisor of Elections, Ms. Sylvia Findlay, outside the Office of the Supervisor of Elections by leaders of the NDP and supportive fellow-travellers under a nomenclature, “Frontline”. The silence of the SVG Christian Council was deafening, especially so since Ms. Findlay is an individual of the highest personal probity and professional integrity, and whose esteem as a faithful pilgrim of the Anglican Community is recognised and embraced by all right-thinking persons across St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
4. The current campaign by the NDP to disrupt voter registration by insisting, wrongly, their right to observe registration inside of the registration centres.
5. The continued verbal abuse levelled by the NDP operatives and publicists against the current Supervisor of Elections and other election officials.
Dr Gonsalves however admitted “Of course, there are illegal things which any group of people may do such hacking, snooping, intercepting, or bugging one’s opponents’ telecommunications; threatening or carrying out acts of violence against political opponents; creating and disseminating locally, regionally, and globally fake news or defamatory material against political opponents; and so forth”.
Notwithstanding this claim, the Prime Minister hinted that it is his political foes in the New Democratic Party who would be guilty of such misconduct.
He urged the Council “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