NDP marches around Kingstown
Front Page
June 15, 2007
NDP marches around Kingstown

Opposition leader Arnhim Eustace has dismissed as nonsense the suggestion that his more vocal and “hard-line” stance on issues is part of a political makeover.

“That is absolute nonsense, ” Eustace told SEARCHLIGHT adding, “I will take a stance on things of principle.”{{more}}

“I will never try to make over who I am, that will be hypocrisy,” he said.

Last Friday, Eustace led supporters of his New Democratic Party (NDP) through the streets of Kingstown in what was dubbed “A March against corruption, crime and VAT.”

Not even a brisk shower hindered the determined atmosphere of the march. When it got started shortly after 11 a.m., Eustace told SEARCHLIGHT that he expected a crowd of over 10,000.

The numbers from all accounts, fell way short of this target and business houses didn’t heed the NDP’s call for closure in support of the march.

The crowd was however appreciable, and while the town did not shut down, it paused as employees from many business houses could be seen lined up along the side walks as the protesters passed by.

The issue of the implementation of VAT was the main subject on Eustace’s mind. He said that people are hurting as a result of VAT’s implementation.

“I went through my constituency and people are feeling it, they are hurting, I feel very strongly about this issue,” Eustace told SEARCHLIGHT.

“If there is no change in VAT there will be tragedy in the country,” Eustace said when he addressed the large crowd that gathered at Heritage Square for the rally last Friday following the two-hour march through Kingstown.

He further vowed, to the exuberant cheers of his followers, to remove the Dr Ralph Gonsalves’ government before its term is constitutional out in 2010.This ambition, he noted, has become a matter of prayer for him.

When he spoke to SEARCHLIGHT, he said that he has had positive feedback from the public regarding the protest action taken.

Eustace, who has been accused in the past, even by sympathizers of his party of being too soft and laid back, indicated that the NDP’s actions were no flash in the pan -more is to come.

He said that while no one expected immediate results, his party will continue to press until the desired changes are seen.

He said that while he applauded Dr Gonsalves’ move to address certain aspects of the VAT, including zero rating the freight charged on goods being transported to the Grenadines, the basic items list remains a problem.

During the rally Eustace said that if the Prime Minister is really serious about the poor then he should remove VAT from the basic food and vegetables that people use every week.

“He doesn’t care about the people, the pensioners and low income people,” he said.

Eustace, who along with his parliamentary colleagues boycotted Friday’s short sitting of parliament, said that although he believes in peaceful protest, if things continue as is, there will come a time that he will not be able to hold back the people.

“People will take matters into their own hands,” he said.

Also addressing the 45-minute rally was Senator St Clair Leacock and parliamentary representative for the Northern Grenadines, Dr Godwin Friday.

The rally was cut short because of the threat of rain but by the time Eustace had finished speaking the sky was filled with brilliant sunshine.

The march, which attracted a strong police presence, was from all accounts a peaceful one.