Gonsalves asks for overseas support
June 10, 2005
Gonsalves asks for overseas support

by Maxwell Haywood in New York

Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has appealed to the Vincentian community in New York to support the Unity Labour Party (ULP) and to ensure that it wins the next general elections.

He made this appeal on June 4, 2005 in Brooklyn while speaking before a full audience at a fundraising dinner and dance organized by the Friends of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Committee.{{more}}

Dr. Gonsalves, who was invited to New York in his capacity as leader of the ULP, declared that the party has delivered to the people of SVG and was therefore set to win the elections. To support his argument, he highlighted education and poverty reduction as the main focus of the government.

He made it clear that since the ULP took office in 2001, education had been changing for the better. He emphasized that universal access to secondary education was now a policy of the government, and student enrollment at secondary schools had markedly increased, facilities were provided, and many teachers trained.

He also mentioned that the multipurpose centers would serve to support the education policy of the government and that more students were attending universities than ever before.

All of this, he said, could be characterized as an education revolution in SVG. He pleaded that these achievements should not be reversed but instead consolidated.

Dr. Gonsalves also highlighted poverty as another reason why the ULP should win the elections. Since taking office, the ULP government was able to sustain economic growth. This has put the government in a better position to tackle poverty.

He highlighted various initiatives of the government to reduce poverty such as the Youth Employment Service; Children Against Poverty programme; sustaining and consolidating achievements in health; an effective garbage collection mechanism, and strengthening of the public assistance programme.

The Prime Minister was in no mood to stay quiet on the NDP’s charges of political victimization. He sent out the message that no one should take seriously the charge by the NDP that the ULP engages in political victimization. He said the NDP was asked to submit their charges to the Christian Council but it failed to do so.

It was just last week that, while speaking to Vincentians in New York, Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace repeated his charge that there had been widespread victimization since the ULP took office.

The Prime Minister also shared with the audience various employment practices of the government to demonstrate that the government does not practice political victimization and that the NDP’s charge was unfounded.

He said the government places high emphasis on the importance of the Vincentian diaspora, especially on Vincentians living in the U.S.

Gonsalves noted the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of SVG benefits tremendously from remittances and that the bulk of it comes from Vincentians in the U.S. To underscore the importance of Vincentian nationals abroad, he announced that a committee has been established to look into developing ties with them.

In the area of international relations, the Prime Minister highlighted elements of SVG’s foreign policy saying the policy was based on the idea that SVG has permanent interests, not permanent friends. He emphazised that it was not good to have powerful countries determine who should be the friends or interests of the country. He stressed that only SVG could do that best, as the foreign policy serves to promote the interests of SVG.