We Vincentians on the 27th of October this year celebrated forty-three (43) years of being an independent state. In a few days time, the Unity Labour Party (ULP) led by Dr. Ralph Gonsalves will celebrate its being in the control of the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for twenty-two (22) years. That is more than half of the period of our existence as an independent state.
It is reasonable to say, therefore, that what prevails in our country today would have been influenced by what the ULP under Dr. Ralph Gonsalves did or did not do, during their stint in management.
One of their very traitorous betrayals of the people’s trust was played out in the agriculture sector. It cannot be forgotten, that when in 2000 they had aggressively agitated for the removal of the NDP regime under the late James Mitchell, they fervently promised that they would have reinvigorated the Banana Industry and fix the Feeder Roads, on which all our farmers depend for economic sustenance. On the strength of those promises, they (ULP) had the strong support of the farmers on election day. How have the farmers been rewarded?
It is shocking that these agonies are experienced by farmers when the individuals who have served in the position of Minister of Agriculture have themselves been raised in agricultural communities all their lives. What an opportunity they have lost to serve their people! Seemingly they are inspired by their “World Boss” to glory in their stage performances. They make existing promises to the farmers but in the end, they generate no progress. They leave the farmers having to support themselves “on their hoe-sticks”.
As was the case of the farmer from the volcanic red zone, he had sold the Ministry of Agriculture some foods in October and there he was on the 23rd of December seeking the payment which he needed to provide for his family.
It is really amazing to note the raw exhibition of disdain with which our present elected representatives have been treating the citizens who ultimately are burdened with the costs of providing dinners for the members of cabinet.
In his message to the nation this Christmas, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said …….
“Surely, this is a time of respair, of fresh hope after the recent years of convulsions, dislocations and even despair among many, consequent upon the COVID pandemic, hurricane Elsa, the volcanic eruptions, storms alternating with droughts, and the knock-on effects of global turmoil including the wars in Ukraine and elsewhere”.
But it has been well known that prior to these disasters to which he referred, there has been documentation of approaches by the ULP in government that did not reflect motivation driven by a sincere interest in the welfare of the people, the citizens.
To impress the community of their sincerity, and that all their policies were pursued in good faith, Dr. Gonsalves and his team should not be averse to open discussions over the next several months, on issues of public interest.
The Prime Minister’s propensity for decorative oratory may have drawn him back to the twelfth and thirteenth century to the word ‘respair’ to express the need for us to address the dire circumstances in which we Vincentians now find ourselves. It is to his honour that he is now clearly admitting that the socio-economic conditions in which we now find ourselves are totally unacceptable and could have to a fair degree, been significantly better if we had conducted our business with maturity.
For several years now, patriotic Vincentians have been expressing the view that we needed to correct our modus operandi to make it in harmony with the development needs of the society. The Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves in his Christmas message to the nation said,”…there are too many persons in our land who are still suffering hardship; too many faces of men and women are strained anxious for a variety of reasons. These we must address individually and collectively, in solidarity”. Well said Comrade Ralph!
The people and their Prime Minister seem now to be on the same page, he calls it ‘respair’ they call it ‘repairs’. Our New Year’s Project.