Our Readers' Opinions
May 13, 2005
Reshuffle does nothing

Editor: The time to change course is now and the way to do it is not through Cabinet reshuffle but to re-engage the party with ordinary citizens, particularly at the village and town levels.

Hence, it is folly to expect many benefits from the recent

St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Cabinet reshuffle for ‘DIS’ Unity Labour Party, in particular. {{more}}

It does nothing to change the incredible mood of rebellion among the Vincentian electorate.

There is evidence which point, also, to an apparent lack of confidence Prime Minister Gonsalves has in his colleagues when his own portfolio now represents 70% of the ministerial structure. Further, it is worthy of note that recently the British electorate rejected a similar leadership style from their once charismatic Prime Minister Tony Blair.

How can one justify rewarding the campaign manager of any political party, let alone the ruling party, with public funds to the extent that it deprives others of a fair chance in the electoral process? For what other reason can one justify transferring an un-elected Minister of Government to the Prime Minister’s Office on the eve of a general election, not forgetting the family link between them?

It is a shame that the ULP government has been reduced to this when it had a chance in a lifetime to ‘revolutionize’ governance in SVG.

As for the British Labour Party victory, their recent third term victory is a bitter-sweet one and from which the SVG ULP should take heed.

In the 2001 election, Prime Minister Tony Blair led his party into a second term of government, with 412 of the 659 seats in the House of Commons and a clear, historic majority of 123. With Prime Minister Blair being dubbed a liar, the 2005 election turns out to be disaster: the British Labour government lost 57 seats thus turning its “blood shed” victory of 1997 to a near “bloodshed” loss in 2005 with a majority of 66.

By my calculation, Prime Minister Blair suffered a 46% loss in the House. It is true the ULP now enjoys an 80% majority in the House but in many cases these constituencies are quite marginal. Therefore, a 46% loss would be fatal to a ULP government that promised so much.

The reason for the decline in popularity for the British Labour Party is similar to that of the SVG ULP: the landslide victories in both cases have transformed charismatic leaders into liabilities. These two men became so drunk with ‘POWAR’ that they forgot the electorate was their boss. Much to his peril, Blair ignored the million voices against the Iraq war and changes in the education system.

Leading members of his party are stating publicly that he should resign in order to restore credibility to the party and its progressive policy.

In the case of Prime Minister Gonsalves, his ‘Iraq’ is what could only be described as his despicable conduct. Our Prime Minister thinks it his prerogative to insult Vincentians as he sees fit. When he doesn’t give us his middle finger salute, he thinks us malignant and vagabonds, especially as we dare point out his faults.

There is a growing, silent majority among Civil Servants and ordinary citizens who are frightened to talk – something that was NOT so obvious under the previous administration. In fact, the ULP promised to get rid of all this fear.

I was surprised on my last visit to SVG the number of voters who can’t wait to vote as if rehearsing the song “Ah can’t wait to vote.”

Luzette King