Front Page
December 17, 2010
PM Gonsalves offers hand of friendship to NDP

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves says that he is once again offering a hand of friendship to the Opposition in an attempt to put an end to all the divisiveness.{{more}}

Speaking at the victory rally of his Unity Labour Party (ULP) last Tuesday, December 14, at the construction site of the Argyle International Airport, Gonsalves said that there had been a lot of divisiveness in the wake of the recent campaign trail, leading up to the just concluded general elections.

“We have had hatred because of politics. Now that we have come out that period and elections have settled, let us unite,” Gonsalves said.

“But while I put out a hand of friendship, do not believe that it is a hand of weakness because we are the party who have been elected to run the country,” he continued.

Gonsalves said that he had hoped that the Opposition would in turn reach back to ensure that the divisiveness comes to an end.

This was based on the experience after the 2001 and 2005 general elections, when Gonsalves said that he made a similar gesture but in each case his “hands were cast aside.”

He further contended that even in the aftermath of the elections, the general public can expect antics similar to that during the campaign season from the opposition.

“They tried before the election; even on Election Day they still try to destabilize the country,” Gonsalves said.

“But I warn them, I shall not tolerate any problems or any kind of disturbance.”

“The people have spoken in free and fair elections,” Gonsalves continued, adding that Labour had been already been mobilized.

He congratulated the Supervisor of Elections for ensuring a free and fair election.

“But you can rely on Eustace (Arnhim Eustace – political leader of the NDP) to say that it was unfair,” Gonsalves said.

“That is now the new style of politics in the Caribbean, when they lose fair and square, they come up with all kinds of trump up thing to say that the elections weren’t fair,” he explained.

“Eustace feels he has a right to do these things and that they could serve the working people of this country with no regard for you,” he added.

The prime minister was of the view that Eustace was the type of person to believe that “30,000 was more than 32,000” and that “seven is more than eight.”

“And so I repeat, I hold my hand out in friendship and cooperation, but understand this, the hand of friendship and cooperation is not a hand of weakness.”

“In fact, we are not asking for any conditions – it is for us to work together in the interest of all the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines,” he said.

Tuesday evening’s activity at Argyle was the second consecutive night of celebrations by supporters of the Unity Labour Party, as on Monday evening, Kingstown turned into a sea of red as hundreds of supporters of the ULP spontaneously converged on capital Kingstown to celebrate their party’s return to office, just barely, for a third term.

Long before official results had been released, news quickly spread that the Dr. Ralph Gonsalves led ULP had managed to hold on to eight of the 15 seats at stake. The New Democratic Party, led by Arnhim Eustace, took the other 7 seats.

The ULP was victorious in the North Windward (Montgomery Daniel), North Central Windward (Ralph Gonsalves), South Central Windward (Saboto Caesar), South Windward (Frederick Stephenson), Marriaqua (Girlyn Miguel), East St. George (Clayton Burgin), West St. George (Cecil McKie) and Central Leeward (Maxwell Charles) constituencies.

The NDP took home the Northern Grenadines (Godwin Friday), Southern Grenadines (Terrance Ollivierre), West Kingstown (Daniel Cummings), East Kingstown (Arnhim Eustace), Central Kingstown (St Clair Leacock), South Leeward (Nigel Stephenson) and North Leeward (Roland Matthews)seats, increasing their tally from the three seats the party had held in the last two parliaments.

The ULP’s third term victory saw the party losing four of the seats it had held in the previous two terms: North Leeward, South Leeward, West Kingstown and Central Kingstown.

The Organization of American States (OAS) issued a report on Tuesday which said “the election was conducted with minimal incidents and complied with international standards for inclusiveness and transparency.”