Our Readers' Opinions
November 26, 2013
ULP Luzette King headlines NDP Convention

Tue Nov 26, 2013

Editor: The 37th Annual Convention of the New Democratic Party may have ended last evening, but tongues are now wagging about the sterling presentation by host of Nice Radio’s Global Highlights Luzette King. Miss King, who kept the audience focused as the featured speaker, created an uproar as she announced that she is a card carrying member of the Unity Labour Party.{{more}}

In a call to action to motivate the electorate and the NDP delegates present, she beckoned the country to elect an Arnhim Eustace led New Democratic Party when the bell is rung for the pending general elections, constitutionally due in 2015. The NDP believes, however that the election may be much sooner. The question remains: “Did Arnhim Eustace and Luzette King make a compelling argument for a change of government?” This is the question everyone in the political world would be debating over the next few days.

The popular radio programme host urged the party faithful gathered not to be sidetracked by the politics of distraction. She cautioned, “We really got to see how we can break the many negative trends and patterns in society. We have to get our children passing Mathematics and English at all levels. Brothers, we have to see how we can increase credit to farmers, expand agro-processing and attract foreign investors. Sisters, we need to assess why our tourism numbers over the past four years are in a decline, inclusive of visitors from other Caribbean countries.”

Her presentation was packed with the usual “red-meat” that received rapturous applause calling for change due to the failure of the present administration on the economy, good governance and political management. The convention was told “The bold-faced nepotism and cronyism for family and friends and the elected cabinet and appointed cupboard of former ministers must be changed.” In warning against divisive partisan politics, she further advised, “you win an election by thinking about the election last and the people you intend to serve first and foremost.”

Students and followers of the politics in St Vincent and the Grenadines would argue that as featured speaker, Ms King would have done enough to motivate the party base and encourage the electorate to take another look at the NDP and its leader Arnhim Eustace, who was referred to several times in an intimate way throughout the speech. The NDP may have introduced its own masterstroke by having a card carrying member of the ULP make the feature address to win over other ULP supporters who are thinking about “turning back.”

Debt service amounts to $208.33 per sec, says Eustace

Gasps were heard around the hall when President of the New Democratic Party Arnhim Eustace, in his address to stalwarts gathered as part of the party’s national convention, broke down the country’s 1.3 billion debt for the ordinary man. He stated that at September 30th, every Vincentian — man, woman and child – is required to pay $12,495 to service the national debt. However, it is the figure that the country needs to be generating $208.33 every second to repay the sum that cemented in the minds of those present the debt challenge facing the nation. In an address that largely stuck to an economic theme, the Gonsalves led ULP administration was criticized for their mishandling of the local economy, especially the agricultural sector.

Energy also received attention and the party president has challenged Dr Gonsalves to explain whether or not there are plans for the sale of this country’s lone electrical company, Vinlec. However, critics following the speech have already pointed out that while there were a series of economic reprimands, the NDP leader failed to mention any of the initiatives a new NDP government would introduce. Whether it was a deliberate omission to keep the party’s cards heading into the election campaign close to his chest, Mr Eustace and the NDP may not have calmed undecided voters as to the governing construct of a new NDP dispensation.

In the modern era of electioneering, political party conventions have moved away from a solely inward exercise where delegates meet to vote officers and deal with several constitutional and housekeeping matters. Today, with the increase in media and technology, conventions are now widely expected to be the platform in which key policy issues and party positions are announced. The primary goal, however, at this stage, would be to present the party is a formidable alternative government. There are many paths to achieve this and the party, in what is being said is the last convention before the upcoming general elections, would hope it has done enough.

Attention now turns to the convention of the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) which is being held on December 15th, 2013.

Adaiah Providence-Culzac

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