The New Democratic Party (NDP) welcomes all returning nationals and visitors to Vincy Mas 2023. We wish everyone an enjoyable and safe Carnival. As Wetty Beatz says in song, “Ting Go Nice Again.” When the NDP gets into office, definitely Carnival will be nice again.
We have heard the complaints of the components of carnival. It took the Carnival Development Corporation (CDC) and the government six months to finally pay the winners of Vincy Mas 2022. The big artistes in the soca arena have boycotted this year’s Soca Monarch because of the disrespect that is shown to them. The mas men are still pleading for a home. Some traditional mas bands are unable to produce King and Queen Costumes this year because of the lack of space in their tents. The attendance to calypso shows continue to decline considerably. The biggest show for Vincy Mas ‘H2O’ has been cancelled because permission to use the regular venue was denied. This year we have had a slow build up to the ‘Hottest Carnival’.
The Unity Labour Party government has not delivered on its promise to develop carnival and culture in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The government does not have a strategic plan to develop carnival and culture. The ULP has promised in its 2001 manifesto that it would have provided the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) with the financial, administrative and technical support necessary to make it function as the leader in the cultural field. After twenty-two (22) years in power, the ULP government has failed to deliver on its promise. Yes, an Act was passed under the NDP administration to establish the NCF.
The way forward
The development of carnival will be part of our overall program in culture, which includes the retooling of the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) as an umbrella body under which the cultural and creative industries can develop and flourish. The NDP will create links between culture, trade and tourism.
The NDP is cognizant of the importance of carnival and culture to the economy. This creative industry is a component of what we call the New Economy. St. Vincent and the Grenadines has a wonderful and thriving musical and cultural art form. But, more can be done to develop this pillar of the economy. The government is tired. It is out of touch and has stopped caring about the issues that affect ordinary Vincentians. It has failed to recognize the potential of so many in our country. The failure to develop this sector is another missed opportunity. The NDP will make the artistic and cultural sector a key part of our future economic growth.
The NDP is committed to creating an economy where everyone has the opportunity to make a decent wage, which will help to build a better life for them and their families. The NDP believes that we have to build an economy where everyone has the opportunity to contribute. The NDP will build an economy that values those who get up early, work hard and make a living. A central pillar of such an economy is rooted in developing the arts and cultural services for both domestic and foreign consumer.
By investing in and developing these cultural services, we can bring the Vincentian economy into the 21st century, able to compete on a wider scale, both regionally and further afield. This sector has the potential to create many higher paying jobs, to give young people a real outlet to develop their talents and to help make St. Vincent and the Grenadines one of the best places in the world for artistic and cultural events.
Dr. Friday’s NDP is committed to building St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ new economy, driven by new technologies and innovations to give people the opportunities to make a decent living.
Violence out of control
The shooting death of a Greiggs man and the ruthless stabbing of a doctor in Kingstown on Friday night, 30th June 2023, followed by two homicides on Monday 3rd July, show that the violent crime situation is out of control, and that the Gonsalves ULP Government has failed to curb the high crime rate in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
On Friday 30th June 2023, a Cuban doctor, Alfredo Batista Salgado, was severely stabbed on his way home from the Calypso Semi-Finals. Many Cuban health care professionals work here. Like the rest of society, they are entitled to feel safe to go about their lives in SVG.
Less than a month ago, the body of another visiting worker, Mr. Gregory Linton, a Dominican and CARDI representative to St. Vincent and the Grenadines was found in his vehicle in Kingstown. He had been shot to death.
On Saturday 1st July 2023, Orandie Haywood died after being shot in Greiggs. Then, on Monday night, there were two more violent killings when a minivan conductor was stabbed to death in Kingstown and a man was shot and killed in Langley Park. These deaths have brought the homicide count to twenty-six (26) thus far this year. SVG is on pace to break its grim homicide record of 42 set last year.
Violent crime in St. Vincent and the Grenadines has hit a crisis point under the Gonsalves Government. In our country, people no longer feel safe walking on the street or going about their normal lives. This is unacceptable.
The New Democratic Party is once again calling for the Unity Labour Party administration to bring the situation under control. The government must collaborate with the Opposition and with other social partners in a broad-based approach to develop and implement strategies to address the crime epidemic in our country.
We pray for the full recovery of Dr. Alfredo Batista Salgado and we offer our sympathy to the families affected by gun-related and other violent crimes in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Anyone with information that might assist the police with their investigations should contact the police immediately.