February 26, 2010
Dr Gonsalves: ULP is the change!

The Unity Labour Party (ULP)-led government is the change that Vincentians have been looking for.

This is the standpoint of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, the Political Leader of the ULP.{{more}}

Gonsalves, in a very energetic mood at the ULP’s 16th National Convention on Sunday, February 21, 2010, built his two hour and

half presentation at the Campden Park Secondary School on the change factor that sometimes swings the electorate away from governments.

He also used the opportunity to attack the record of Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace, his leadership style, as well as his image.

“The change in St.Vincent and the Grenadines is the Unity Labour Party. We are the change.

“The people of St.Vincent and the Grenadines have seen over the last nine years what the change means for them directly, and the people of St.Vincent and the Grenadines today in every material respect are far better off than they were in 2001 when we came to office,” said Gonsalves.

The Prime Minister, who made his presentation on the heels of the feature address by Kenny Anthony, said the St. Lucian Political Leader had presented enough evidence of the St.Lucia scenario in which the St.Lucians had changed a very good government for a terrible government.

“We in St.Vincent and the Grenadines, a people in a free and fair elections, will never turn this country over to bandits. Never will we turn our country over to bandits,” promised Gonsalves.

He told the gathering that recent elections were held in Antigua, St.Kitts & Nevis, and Dominica, and in the three instances, the governments were returned to office because the electorate decided it was better to play it safe and stay with their governments to ride them through the turbulent times stemming from the global recession, instead of experimenting.

He noted that in the case of St.Vincent and the Grenadines, it is easy to contrast what his administration met when it came to power and what it has done.

When the ULP came to office, said Gonsalves, the unemployment rate stood at 20 percent. However, since 2001, his administration has created over 10, 000 new jobs.

“In fact, you check the NIS records, you will find that over 8,000 new active employees have gone on the NIS roll, and there are people who are not on the NIS roll who have been employed,” said Gonsalves.

Gonsalves further stated that when his Party came to office it met a report from Kairi consultants of Trinidad and Tobago, who were contracted by the James Mitchell led New Democratic Party, which said the poverty level in St.Vincent and the Grenadines was 37.5 per cent of the population or close to 40,000 living in poverty. Additionally, 25.7 or 26,000 were living in indigence or dirt poor poverty.

Gonsalves said his government contracted the same consultants in 2007 after initiating a poverty reduction programme. They concluded his administration had reduced poverty from 37.5 per cent in 1995/96 to 30.2 per cent in 2007/08. Additionally, indigence was reduced from 25.7 per cent or 26,000 to 2.9 per cent or 3,000 people.

“For any poor person who votes for the NDP, they voting against their own interest. Anywhere you see a poor man and poor woman and they talk ‘NDP’ they talking against their own interests and that need to be pointed out to them,” said Gonsalves.

Likewise, Gonsalves said a businessman voting for the NDP is voting against his own interest.

The Unity Labour Party has been aroused and is ready to do a third term in office, said Gonsalves.

“They shake up the ants nest!”

Gonsalves, a Roman Catholic, disclosed it is possible that he will pay a return visit to Mount St. Benedict in Trinidad and Tobago. He stated that he was criticised for going there in 2005 by those who said he went to ‘work obeah’, but this time around if he is so moved by the Holy Spirit, he will return.

“A fresh anointing! A fresh anointing!” said Gonsalves.

He noted that the records show his administration is the best Government that St.Vincent and the Grenadines has ever had.

“This government is umpteen times better, superior in every single respect, than the seventeen years of misrule and abuse of the people by the New Democratic Party,” said Gonsalves.

“We are not going back to them. We naar come back. We naar come back,” he warned while sounding the battle cry.