Vote No committee calls for equal funding
October 30, 2009
Vote No committee calls for equal funding

A legal injunction may be brought against the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines for the special warrant issued to fund its Vote Yes Campaign.{{more}}

The approval of the warrant has spurred a newly formed ‘Vote No’ Committee to seek legal action, demanding that all groups with a campaign for any side of the November 25th referendum on the proposed constitution, be equally funded or there should be no funding at all.

Public Relations Officer of the group Frank Dasilva indicated that following a letter to the government dated October 27, the government will be given 48 hours to respond.

“We’re gonna challenge them,” Dasilva told the media, at the launch of the Committee on Monday at the NDP West Kingstown Constituency office at Rose Place.

“…And if they don’t then we will proceed to court because this cannot stand; it is not practiced in a democracy. We intend to go to the full extent with this because it is unconstitutional and undemocratic.”

Dasilva quoted the rulings of a number of judges in a similar situation during a referendum vote in the Republic of Ireland. The judges ruled that funding should be available to all sides of a referendum campaign, regardless of the positions they take.

“The Prime Minister asked us to do like the people of Ireland; we are asking him to do now like the people of Ireland and fund everybody or don’t fund anybody at all.”

Apart from Dasilva, the ‘Vote No’ Committee consists of Margaret London who is the chairperson, with General Secretary Vennol Coombs and Committee Member Brian Alexander.

London, addressing the media, said that her group intends to raise public awareness on the resolutions put forward for a Yes Vote and provide a detailed analysis of the flaws in the proposed constitution.

“What we intend to do is go to the schools, have town Hall meetings and stuff of that nature because this is a serious issue, so we intend to have it in a more serious format where we can put forward our case and people are free to put forward their questions.”

“We do not intend to have the big public meetings as the ULP/Yes Vote Committee.”

London said that the Committee, which is independent of the New Democratic Party’s Vote No Campaign, has raised a number of concerns which they will be focusing on until referendum day.

These include the issue of the death penalty, buggery, property ownership and the currency to be used if the constitution is passed by a 66.7% majority.

“These issues are speaking to the emotions of our people and it is rather unfair.” London said.

“They just putting these things together to fool people as they currently are; they don’t mean nothing. They have no teeth.” Dasilva added.

When asked about the timing of the Committee’s launch with under a month for the referendum to take place, the committee indicated that it was better to voice their opinions late than not at all, and that their efforts would be ‘an extension of whatever Vote No campaign started before.’(JJ)