Vincentians stuck in “battle mode” says politician
From left: NDP PRO Lavern King, Senator Shivern John, President of the NDP Dr Godwin Friday and NDP Caretaker for East St George Laverne Velox
October 13, 2023

Vincentians stuck in “battle mode” says politician

A New Democratic Party (NDP) politician is of the view that Vincentians are “battle weary” and are stuck in political mode that never turns off even after ballots are cast on election day.

“We live in a constant campaign mode. We are tired of it,” Laverne Velox, the NDP’s candidate for East St George (ESG) told the party’s “Hope for Home” town hall meeting at Friends of Crown Heights in Brooklyn on Sunday.

Velox, who unsuccessfully contested the ESG seat against the Unity Labour Party’s (ULP) Camillo Gonsalves in 2020 said gone are the days when we heckled our neighbours “during the silly season” but after elections “we good again”.

“These days the brainwashing of the nation is constant and intense. It’s them or us. No healing takes place. We, the people, are battle weary. Even at national events like Carnival and Independence you see the separation. We forget we are one nation, one people, one Vincy. Dividing us is counterproductive to our nation’s development.”

The former banker told the gathering in Brooklyn and listeners to the event that the NDP is the party of hope, with plans for St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) that will be executed by opposition leader Dr Godwin Friday.

“Too many of our people are suffering. Too many of our people live with hopelessness and despair. They cannot get jobs because it seems like jobs in St Vincent and the Grenadines are for supporters of the ULP only,” Velox commented.

She said people are willing to work, but most opportunities for jobs and wealth creation are concentrated within a small circle.

“We are a proud people who want to earn our own money. We want to maintain our pride and dignity and don’t want to settle for handouts. We would rather not line up to collect poor relief, but without sustainable jobs, we have no choice.

“The twice yearly…Christmas and Back to School road gang pay is an insult to our people, but if you can’t do better you say no matter.

“We have become a nation of people who settle for whatever they throw at us. It’s time to recapture our independent spirit,” Velox told listeners.

She opined that there is a practice in SVG of placing people in jobs based solely on political affiliation, and that is wrong as sometimes the brightest minds are not given the chance to prove their worth.

She said “square pegs in round holes” ensures mediocrity, low productivity and unprofessional conduct.

“We constantly hear of the increase in scholarships, but it seems we’re training our citizens to develop other countries…the brain drain is real. Job recruitment and promotions within the public sector must be commensurate with competence…not a party card. The NDP will recruit persons based on merit,” Velox promised.

Addressing persons in the Diaspora specifically, Velox said that persons living abroad understand the pressure back home because there is a domino effect that places pressure on those who live overseas.

“More remittances are sent to help your families. More barrels of food stuff are sent to fill holes. We thank you for caring for your families back home by ensuring they survive amidst austerity.

“We know how hard you work, sometimes in less than ideal conditions, but you persevere because you want to meet the needs of your loved ones. You are truly heroes in our eyes,” the politician said.

Sunday’s meeting, which was hosted by the St Vincent and the Grenadines Progressive Organization of New York (SPOONY) was also addressed by NDP President Dr Godwin Friday, PRO Lavern King and Senator Shevern John.