“Well, if you think you can block road against ‘De Comrade,’ try that, you try that, try that, you try that,” Dr Gonsalves, popularly called ‘De Comrade,’ dared the Leader of the Opposition.
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves dared Leader of the Opposition and president of the New Democratic Party Dr Godwin Friday during his contribution to the debate of the 2021 budget estimates last Wednesday.
Dr Gonsalves was at the time responding to a reference by Dr Friday about the blocking of roads between 1999 and 2000 which has come to be called the ‘Roadblock Revolution’ – which cut-short the NDP’s fourth term in office, making way for early elections in 2001 – which saw an end to the NDP’s 17 years in office and the taking over of governance by the Unity Labour Party.
The Prime Minister had accused the Leader of the Opposition and the president of the New Democratic Party (NDP) of being interested only in his party, power, status and selling citizenship and passports instead of having a national interest.
In response to the Prime Minister’s accusation, the Leader of the Opposition asked him “who blocked roads” to get into office.
“That was a people’s protest,” Prime Minister Gonsalves replied.
It is not the first time that Dr Gonsalves has dared the Leader of the Opposition and the NDP to block the roads.
Following the general elections of November 5th, 2020, which saw the ULP returning to office with a 9-6 victory, having added a seat to the narrow 8-7 margin which existed in the two previous elections, the Prime Minister said he was the master of protest.
The Prime Minister was at that time responding the some NDP supporters calling for protest action following the elections in which the NDP received the majority in the popular votes. Opposition supporters were contending that in the 1998 elections the ULP lost 7-8 but won the popular votes and refused to recognize the NDP government, threatening to make the country ungovernable.
“And I tell you this here today. I hear some of them talking – what they will do and what they wouldn’t do. I just want to tell them, the man who is talking here, I am the master of the streets. And they must try and test me,” Dr Gonsalves said on radio recently.
“I am the master of the street. Ah hope the Christian Council talk to them with some of the irresponsible things that they’re saying and doing.
“Some (of them) in the Christian Council only ha mouth fo Ralph, you know – Ah say ‘some.’
“I have been observing and I have been listening. And I know what I say here will attract criticism. But I am not afraid of criticism. I speak my mind.
“And one thing I can tell you; I am sworn to uphold and defend the constitution and laws of St Vincent and the Grenadines. I will do it legally and I will do it politically,” the Prime Minister also stated.
Dr Gonsalves said he was not making a threat but simply seeking to uphold the oath he took as Prime Minister.
“I ain’t threatening nobody, because as I say it is not a threat.
I am just upholding my oath. And I am doing what I consider to be part of my life work, to defend the sovereignty and independence of this country to prevent it from being recolonized.
And I am not going to allow whether it’s a right-wing opportunist, an infantile leftist or any backward elements of the petit bourgeoisie – none of them – to shake the independence and the sovereignty and the national interest of St Vincent and the Grenadines,” Dr Gonsalves, who has responsibility for national security, said.