Should Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves be made to answer a charge making a comment likely to causing fear or alarm among the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines?
That is essentially the question that was posed on the New Democatic Party’s (NDP’s) New Times interactive progamme on NICE Radio on Monday as Vincentians expressed concern over the Prime Minister’s recent comment in relation to repatriated sailors and how they voted in the November 5th, 2020, general elections.
“Despite what I did for the sailors, objectively, most of them voted against the ULP. Life really ain’t fair eh,” Prime Minister Gonsalves said during the ‘Face to Face’ programme on the state-owned NBC Radio last week Wednesday.
The question has been asked as to how would the Prime Minister know that most of the sailors vote for him.
The Prime Minister’s comment comes more than a decade after government senator and Unity Labour Party (ULP) general secretary Julian Francis made a comment which suggested that he knew how many Syrians, who were resident here, voted for him when he contested the East Kingstown seat in 2005.
Reports said Francis claimed 17 Syrians voted for him.
The question was asked then how did Francis know how many Syrians voted for him. It was later reported, however, that Francis said his knowledge was based on political work and not electoral fraud.
The late Elwardo ‘EG’ Lynch, who hosted the New Democratic Party’s New Times after the 2001 elections which they lost by a landslide, was accused of causing fear or alarm in relation to a comment he made about phone-tapping.
Responding to Prime Minister Gonsalves’ comment during the New Democratic Party’s (NDP’s) New Times programme on Monday, party leader Dr Godwin Friday said he heard DrGonsalves comments suggesting he knew who voted for him and who didn’t vote for him and that the sailors didn’t vote for his party but in his view that was “just to create fear among people.”
“They are sending coded messages to people, which suggest to them that somehow they got your number, they got your information. And all of that is a means of intimidation, is a way of creating in our country a system that appears to be democracy but functions anything but in a democratic way,” Dr Friday said.
Asked if he expected a response from the Supervisor of Elections Dora James or from the Christian Council which is chair of the National Monitoring and Consultative Mechanism which is the local elections monitor, Dr Friday replied: “It is entirely reasonable to expect such a response but I can’ say that I will hold my breath to receive such a response.
I hope that they will because this is not my country by itself, it’s not me alone… It is my country, it is your country. It is a country for all of us, the Christian Council, civil society organizations – the trade unions, the different professions, public servants, the teachers, police officers, nurses, private sectors workers, bank workers, everybody. It is our country.”