April 27, 2007
Eustace: Wake up, Hurricane Ralph!

“Wake up, Hurricane Ralph, our economy is unraveling!”

This was the chant of Opposition leader Arhnim Eustace at a press conference last Tuesday where he called on Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves to review his foreign policy, which he claims is responsible for the decision by the Kingstown Medical College to pull out of St Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

Eustace said that while escalating crime levels in St Vincent and the Grenadines and crime committed against medical college students are worrisome, it is this country’s foreign policy that caused the school to end its 27-year relationship with this country.

Referring to the new system put in place by the school starting in September, which would see about 50 students at a time coming to St Vincent to do a two-week rotation for their clinical studies, Eustace said that this was a certain sign of the school’s pending closure.

At a recent press conference, acting Prime Minister Sir Louis Straker gave assurances that the school was not going to move out. He said that while the new rotation system was being put in place that he was hopeful that by January everything will be back in order.

Sir Louis led a high power delegation to Grenada to hold meetings with the student body and officials of the medical school. The delegation included Deputy Commissioner of Police Lenroy Brewster, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Godfred Pompey, and Director of Public Prosecution Colin Williams.

Sir Louis sought to diminish fears about the school’s closure, stating that the current situation was only a temporary one – a view that Eustace considers to be misguided.

“We in the NDP believe that the foreign policy of the ULP administration as it relates to Venezuela and Cuba is a significant reason for the pending closure of the college,” he said.

Eustace reiterated his position that while he supports the maintenance of diplomatic relations with both Cuba and Venezuela that the stridency in our relations with those countries had to be reduced.

“We take strong objection to the President of Venezuela coming on our soil and attacking other friendly countries with which we have good relations. This was done while our Prime Minister was in the audience and said nothing about it,” Eustace said.

Chavez was out of his damn place,” Eustace declared unapologetically

Eustace read from a letter that he says was written by a student of the medical school who along with crime lists the Prime Minister’s support of “declared enemies’ of the United States as one of the reasons for the student’s leaving.

Eustace said that the fall out from the Government’s foreign policy will also be felt in the tourism sector.

“We are hearing that Princess Cruise has reduced its number of calls to St Vincent and the Grenadines and another prominent cruise company coming to St Vincent and the Grenadines will be doing the same thing,” the opposition leader stated.

Listing the various stakeholders that would be affected if the medical school pulls out of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Eustace said that persons affected by the pullout stand to lose their properties.