January 10, 2014
Bi-partisan body needed to manage relief efforts – PMC

The members of the People Movement for Change (PMC) are calling for a bi-partisan governing body to manage the relief and reconstruction efforts in the wake of the floods which took place during the Christmas season.{{more}}

During a press briefing on Wednesday, the group’s chairman Oscar Allen made the point.

“What we mean by this is that personnel from both parties should be policy framers of the process,” Allen told SEARCHLIGHT in an interview on Wednesday evening.

He explained that there were damaged areas within constituencies of both the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) and the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP).

Allen said with the current situation as it is, the expectation was that those areas within the ULP constituencies would get immediate attention.

“With a bi-partisan body, you minimize that,” he said.

The PMC chairman also suggested that a civil society body be set up to monitor the ongoing relief effort.

“So, there is a governing body and a watchdog on the ground,” he said.

According to Allen, some civil society body, such as the Red Cross, should be responsible for overseeing the relief effort.

During the press conference, members of the PMC referred to a letter penned by Junior “Soca” Jones, which was directed to Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves and the Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace.

“We give credit to one Vincentian overseas whose letter on the matter of political collaboration pointed a way ahead,” Allen said.

In the letter, Jones stated to the Prime Minister that the system affected all Vincentians and that it was impossible to rebuild a divided nation.

“Our island is so divided politically that it’s sad,” Jones included in his letter.

“You both have the keys to open those doors of change. Our people are openly resentful of and disrespectful to each other and too often this is because of politics.

“At this juncture, our island needs all hands on deck. Let us try to imagine the difference it would create if our people saw you working together.

“Can you imagine how much animosity would be dissipated if Vincentians saw the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader travelling around the country together, examining the damage and speaking to them together in true and genuine concern for their well being,” the letter stated. Allen also stated that the PMC also wrote to the two main political leaders and in addition to the political collaboration, he said that they proposed a civil society agency to help to make the relief process more transparent.

The PMC is a socio-political movement which was established in 2008.(DD)