NDP says action will continue until fresh elections
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February 11, 2011
NDP says action will continue until fresh elections

Despite heated arguments between rival party supporters and skirmishes with members of Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, the protest action staged by the New Democratic Party (NDP) went off without any reported casualties.{{more}}

Leaders and supporters of the opposition NDP took the streets of Kingstown on Tuesday, February 8, 2011, in condemnation of one bill that is currently before Parliament, and another, which has already been passed, calling for them to be withdrawn and abandoned.

With chants of ‘Let freedom reign’ and ‘Kill the bills,’ along with songs from the American civil rights era such as ‘We shall overcome’, the protestors worked their way from the Parliament building on Grenville Street to the Administrative building on Bay Street via Heritage Square on South River Road.

But their march was not without obstacles.

The first hint of trouble was the obstruction of vehicular traffic in the area of the Parliament building and the Central Market when protest organizers and police officials could not seem to agree on how the day’s event would proceed.

Calls by the police for protesters to occupy the southern lane went unheeded, causing the disruption of vehicular traffic, including a number of buses transporting tourists from the Princess Cruise Ship ‘Grand Princess’. Much of the traffic had to be diverted to other routes.

The event took a turn for the worse when the protesters and their mobile public address system were prevented from advancing along Heritage Square by two fire tenders and members of the Fire Department, Special Services Unit (SSU), Rapid Response Unit (RRU) and regular constabulary.

Attempts by protestors to remove and overturn the fire truck at Heritage Square resulted in a brief skirmish with police officers.

This was quickly brought under control with the arrival of police reinforcement.

After about an hour in that location, the protestors’ truck was finally allowed to reverse and leave the Square and proceed along James Street, then Bay Street to the Administrative Complex, where party members, including Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace, Daniel Cummings, Senators Vynnette Frederick and Anesia Baptiste addressed their supporters, calling on them to voice their dissatisfaction with the bills, which they allege trample on the rights and freedoms of Vincentians.

The gathering was also addressed by President of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Bar Association Kay Bacchus-Browne and other members of the public showing solidarity for the NDP.

Tuesday’s activity is the latest in protest action that has been organized by the NDP this year, the first being a protest outside Parliament during the budget debates in January.

Party leaders vow that action such as this will continue until there are fresh elections in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Elections were last held in December 13, 2010.