Vice President of the New Democratic Party (NDP) Major St. Clair Leacock has compared the police raid on the premises of several individuals over the weekend to searches conducted here in the late 1960s.
Leacock said that something similar was done to young scholars, political activists and emerging movers and shakers, “in our emerging society” back in the 60s.
“I speak reverently of persons like the late Eddie Griffith, the late Parnell Campbell, the later Kerwin Morris, the late Kenneth John and I believe a Mr. John Cato, a barrister of law perhaps serving somewhere else in the Caribbean, was also a victim of that activity.
“Perhaps it is not accident of history that their homes and persons, which were searched extensively and repeatedly, over and over again for seditious literature by another labour party,” Leacock remarked at a press conference of the NDP. He said the greatest irony is that Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves can speak first hand of those searches, because he was under watch by the same Labour Party that conducted them back then.
“So this very dark moment does indeed have its historical antecedents,” Leacock commented.
At the virtual press conference host Colin Graham, said that he was one of several persons whose homes were searched by the police during which cell phones and other gadgets were taken.
It was disclosed that up to that time around 10 persons had been subjected to searches and these were all members of the NDP or activists who have given support to the party.
The raids appeared to be part of investigations launched into the August 5 wounding of Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves by someone during a protest in Kingstown against the Public Health Amendment Act.
The PM had to be flown to Barbados for an MRI after he was struck on his head around 5.15 p.m. when the protest escalated.
The police conducted raids at the homes of NDP supporters Colin Graham, Luzette King, Robert “Patches” King, Joe Da Silva, Kenson King, Nikeisha Williams (Rise Hairouna), Adrianna King, Igal Adams, Douglas De Freitas (NICE Radio) and businessman Lance Oliver. Layou resident Annamay Lewis, who is charged with maliciously wounding the; she has pleaded not guilty and is on EC$3000 bail.
Going further, Leacock said the type of governance being demonstrated by the Unity Labour Party (ULP) is more destructive than dengue fever, COVID-19, the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano and the passage of Hurricane Elsa.
“It is true that a lot of it would have been acts of nature, from dengue, to COVID, to Soufriere and to Hurricane Elsa, disaster upon disaster, all acts of nature but as devastating as they are, they have been surpassed by the governance, or to be better put, the absence of governance by the Unity Labour Party (ULP),” Leacock said on Saturday night.
He charged that the current administration is best known for its proclamation when they lost the election in 1998, that they would make the country ungovernable.
“They haven’t let up and St. Vincent has become an unmanageable county since then,” Leacock said noting that as a commandant in the auxiliary police force and the cadet force he knows what it is like to wear the uniform and the authoritative structure of the organizations.
“It is therefore not an easy job or a decision by myself when I have to be on the streets of my city, one that I have paraded on more than anyone serving on the police force and to participate aggressively, actively and forcefully in civil disobedience,” Leacock said as he recounted events associated with the ULP’s so called “roadblock revolution” which cut short the life of the James Mitchell administration.
He said that then Prime Minister, Sir James Mitchell, in one of the greatest acts of magnanimity said he loved SVG to much to see peoples’ lives in bloodshed just for the sake of political power.
Leacock said he was highlighting this era because it is the same trade unions, the Public Service Union (PSU) and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers Union (SVGTU), that took front stage and were saying enough is enough and today, these same organizations are standing in the light to rid the county of what they consider a manmade disaster.
According to Leacock, the shooting of Cornelius John and the COVID-19 vaccination issue are the straws that broke the camel’s back.