Our Readers' Opinions
December 4, 2009

We brought life to Vote No campaign – Green Party


Editor: The SVG Green Party’s vote NO campaign worked with the NDP vote NO campaign eight days before polling day for strategic reasons. The SVG Green Party came in at a point that gave significant momentum to the vote NO campaign. SVG Green Party visited most of the villages in St Vincent, but sadly, time did not allow us to reach beyond Barrouallie or the Grenadines.{{more}} SVG Green Party’s prominent television ads brought life to the vote NO campaign.

The following points were perceived by voters for rejecting the constitution:

1. A lack of trust in the key players of the proposed new constitution was the significant factor to voters.

2. The new constitution increased the powers in the hands of the Prime Minister.

3. Compulsory purchase of private land by government and not paying market value with a delay of twelve months before making the first payment was open to discrimination.

4. Government must always treat the people with sacred regard and respect their God-given rights and freedoms. The new constitution did not show respect for the peoples’ rights and freedoms.

5. The strengths and weaknesses of the constitution were not fully explained to the nation.

6. The silent majority was grossly underestimated by a privileged few.

7. The decision of the Boundaries Commission being not challengeable in a Court was totally unacceptable.

8. There was no need to increase the number of Parliamentarians. Parliament should not be a forum for privileged employment.

9. The new president should be elected by the people and not by a group of friends.

10. The mere fact that the yes campaign was using public money to buy votes shows a hidden agenda in the event that the Yes vote was successful.

11. The US dollar scandal at the NCB resulting in a member of staff being suspended was a strong cause of concern to Vincentians.

12. The need for the preservation of freedom of speech was not guaranteed in the new constitution.

13. The entire campaign was conducted along party lines.

14. The arguments for and against the use of symbols on the ballot paper in place of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to facilitate secret balloting by illiterate people indicated that symbols should have been the preferred choice. There were 620 rejected ballots on November 25, 2009, whereas there were only 262 in 2005. In 2005, 63.76% of electors voted, whereas only 53.60% voted in the referendum. The analysis shows a clear case for the use of symbols on the ballot paper in future referenda.

In conclusion, the results are telling us that come next general elections, the ULP might win one seat, while other parties will win fourteen seats.

Ivan O’Neal BSc (Hons), MSc, MBA, Leader of the SVG Green Party