Our Readers' Opinions
August 12, 2014

Politics and traditions in St Vincent and the Grenadines

Tue, Aug 12, 2014

Editor: For years, the trend of tradition in politics is one of continuation in SVG. We are so keen on the ways of our parents and grandparents that we fail to take the time to consider the choices and decisions that we make. Or, more importantly, to question ourselves as to why we blindly go along with something just because of tradition.{{more}}

How do we justify ourselves? I am appealing to the young people of this country, the future and the backbone of SVG. What do you envision for your future and your country? Are you satisfied with what the leaders before and now have done? Are you honestly contented with the state of this country?

I am not here to tell you who you should support; it’s your God given choice. But what I’m trying to accomplish is to make you understand that although tradition is important, it should have no place in politics.

We have four political parties here in SVG. First I will mention a little about the NDP, founded by Sir James Mitchell. It is my own opinion that he is the best prime minister that this country ever had. However, all good things must come to an end. I’m not saying he was perfect. He made his mistakes – lots of them – but he was a man of integrity.

The NDP is now under the leadership of Hon. A. Eustace, who failed to take his party into power for three consecutive elections. He also failed to maintain the peace and unity amongst his own party. A member of parliament who is there to lead us stoned God’s church and they behaved like hooligans. Is this the kind of people we want running this country? Is this the best we can do for our beloved SVG? I hope not.

Dr the Hon. R Gonsalves is the leader of the ULP. I must frankly say he has done a lot in the period of time he became PM, although some of his projects and plans are a total waste of money and time. Look at the cross country road for instance and the amount of money thrown away down the drain. Consider the international airport – a good venture for SVG, but why is the PM constantly using it against us. “Vote for the international airport” and year after year, we are given dates of completion and up to this day it is still far from completing. A new date is still at hand, ending of 2014 – Vincentians time will reveal all things; the end of the year is soon approaching.

I look at the education revolution and I’m grateful for the few fruits that benefited from it. But I still have to think about the majority, access to secondary education for every child – which is a good thing. But parents cannot afford the basic school stationery for their kids to go to school due to the high level of unemployment in this country. So, tell me, do you see the sense in the education revolution?

Citizens of SVG, the youths – our future generations, you are my hope for a brighter SVG. You need to open your eyes and see the ULP administration for what it really is. We cannot build a country and move forward on lies and broken promises. The rich getting richer on us, the poor people in SVG. It is the rich and privileged who are benefiting mostly from the ULP government.

Mr Ivan O’Neal – he’s a man with vision. We, however, have to be realistic. Some of his plans are way too extreme and his style of administration will not do for this country. If the persons in authority consider half of what Mr O’Neal suggests, we will go a long way in SVG. Yes, Mr O’Neal, we need our own university. Vincentians, don’t you agree? We need factories, thus creating employment. Thumbs up, Mr O’Neal.

I know what I’m hoping to see in our little SVG. Do you? We are a democratic country, where we are considered to be free to support and vote for whomever we wish, but where is the republicanism within this country? We need to realize that the power isn’t with the authority or the PM. We are the power. Yes, Vincentians, we the people are the power. We need to acknowledge this and take control of the power that is rightfully ours. Look at our leaders. No one asks us what we want, but they make all decisions, excluding us from the process. I want a government that is there to serve me, don’t you?

It is in the best interest of SVG that I say to the general public, to consider the DRP. Where “power to the people” is one of their slogans. A party founded by the leader Mrs Anesia Baptiste, who is endeavouring to build a country of democratic republicans, who promises a government that will see to the needs of ALL the people, regardless of political status.

This is the type of change we need in this country. Vincentians, this is what freedom of choice really means – being able to make a decision without victimization. Who dares to tell me that we are free in this country, where our natural God given rights are being hindered? We see democracy, but where is the republicanism? Where are the togetherness and the love and respect of people’s rights? Where is the unity? The country is more divided than ever. When we apply for jobs, instead of judging us based on our qualifications, they look at our political status and deny us our right of freedom of choice.

Oh my blessed SVG, what are we coming too? There’s no love among us. All I see is corruption, victimization, favouritism and spitefulness. We need a leader who can envision a red heart symbolizing love and togetherness, a blue fist representing power to the people and a white banner that shows purity, freedom from corruption. The DRP’s symbol is the heart and it shows a party with a heart of love and compassion for the people. This is the kind of government I want for my blessed homeland – the DRP – the party with a heart.

Tradition, politics – there should be no tradition when it comes to politics, but there should be persons who are openminded, who want better and who are always thriving for more. With tradition we cannot have that, because we will be supporting a party, no matter how poorly they perform in this country. We are supposed to be breathing down their necks and demanding more, better for this country.

I refuse. I will not stay loyal and devoted to no tradition when it comes to politics. I am moving with the wind and I’m changing with the times. Momma, I’m sorry, but if you want to stay loyal to Joshua who died years ago, just because he did a small favour to great granddad, that’s your choice, Momma, but I’m not. I want a brighter future for myself, my people and my children and my grandchildren.

Young people don’t sit and go along with tradition; make a stand and stand firm. Times are changing, let’s move forward. Why settle for mediocre when we can head for greatness. Election is around the corner. Take a look at the things that are happening in this country and ask yourself if this is what you want for yourself and your country. Be open-minded and make your choice but make the choice, that is going to be beneficial to you, your family and all of SVG.

Lauretha Williams