They are the dictators, says PM Gonsalves
March 8, 2011

They are the dictators, says PM Gonsalves

The actions in the House of Parliament by the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) on Thursday March 3, are hallmarks of a dictatorship.{{more}}

So said Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, a day after the members of the NDP were thrown out of Parliament by Speaker of the House Hendrick Alexander for defying him.

“What happened yesterday was a minority seeking to establish a dictatorship to prevent the House from transacting its business.

“….Anyone who enters Parliament and disrupts parliament to the extent of disrespecting the authority of the Speaker is not merely disrespecting the speaker and the members of the house, but most fundamentally disrespecting the individual voters.”

“What the Opposition came yesterday to do was to prevent the business of Parliament; to subvert and undermine the people’s rights, the people’s freedom, the people’s dignity, as encapsulated in their vote.”

The Prime Minister was speaking on the Star FM radio program Morning Scoop, when he made these remarks on Friday, the day after supporters of the NDP took to the streets of Kingstown, in the party’s continued demonstration against bills passed and introduced in the house.

Last Thursday’s action saw members of the opposition, led by Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace, being forcibly ejected from the House for refusing to comply with the Speaker’s directives.

Some members of the opposition claimed that they were manhandled by security forces and had to seek medical attention.

Following the altercation inside the House, tensions on the streets heightened, resulting in clashes between police and protesters, resulting in injuries, arrests and damage to police property.

The Prime Minister, who also appeared on the We FM Shake Up program on Friday, claimed that the NDP, in acts of desperation, is resorting to undemocratic means by which to stop the business of Government.

“We are bound by a contract; the contract is called the constitution.”

“Because they know the legal tactics are not sustainable… that is why the few who turned out (to protest) are behaving badly… bang the gates, mash up a police vehicle, fight the police… call to business places about bomb scares…. In other words, disrespect and disorder in the House, disrespect for authority, and the further violence outside the House….”

Speaking on the NDP’s reasons for protest actions: the Criminal Procedure Code and the amendment to the Representation of the People Act, Dr. Gonsalves reiterated that these laws do not take away rights and freedoms of Vincentians, neither do they undermine democracy, and that the Opposition are substituting a dictatorial approach by a minority to stop the business of government.

“That is remarkable for persons who are mouthing issues of rights and freedom. They are in fact the dictators, and I think that point has to be repeated over and over.”

“Their actions were actions of dictatorship and that will give you an idea of how they would rule if ever they were to get a chance.”(JJ)