News
December 18, 2009
ULP supporters air grievances at Council meet

The popular hymn ‘It only takes a spark (pass it on)’ was replaced by the battle song ‘Ready Steady’, as scores of supporters of the Unity Labour Party (ULP) converged at the Kingstown Methodist Church Hall for the party’s National Council meeting last Thursday.{{more}}

The supporters packed the hall and lobby, and stretched out into the street below, to show solidarity and support for the party’s leadership, especially its political leader, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, who was making his first public appearance since the failed November 25th referendum.

The meeting was described by party stalwarts as “the largest and most vibrant” council meeting since the formation of the party in 1994.

The “grievances” that the prime minister had previously given as a reason why he believed many ULP supporters did not turn out to the polls to vote on the proposed constitution were aired loudly and passionately in the public forum, so that if the Prime Minister and his cabinet did not ‘get it’ before, they surely got it on Thursday.

Many of the speakers, who consisted mainly of “grass roots” party supporters, voiced their concerns, queries, disappointments, disdain and distrust, for not only their parliamentary representatives, but also persons at the upper echelons of the party and civil service, whom they considered at times disrespectful and dishonest.

Calls were made for the sacking and immediate resignations of some officials whom the speakers perceived were not pulling their weight.

Although there was an overall sense of support for the leadership of the party by the speakers and supporters, the Prime Minister was advised, encouraged and warned that as the party goes into battle mode for the next general elections, due as late as March 2011, serious stock taking should be done if the ULP administration is to return to office.

Calling on Dr. Gonsalves to put friendships aside, the supporters said that fresh new faces needed to be seen in the party’s line up of candidates, and asked that these names be brought forward soon, so that preparations for the battle ahead could begin.

As was done at the beginning of the four-hour long meeting, the leadership and membership closed with prayers, singing and solidarity, in an effort to reassure each other that despite the recent defeat, the party remains “Refreshing, Energizing and Delivering.” (JJ)