Our Readers' Opinions
September 11, 2015
Need for national televised political debates in SVG

EDITOR: With the Vincentian population at the crossroads of this important upcoming 2015-16 general election, the time is ripe for nationally televised debates amongst all active political parties of St Vincent and the Grenadines. Although unprecedented in the region, such political debates at this juncture might be the most effective exegesis of openness to the general public.{{more}} This new method can engender a tremendous amount of transparency of and hope for each party’s purpose, objective, goals, and intentions. The outcome might be the highest demonstration of true democracy in the Caribbean – the people’s ultimate decision that is derived out of their volitions.

During these debates, the leader, or a worthy representative of each political party, will be called upon to outline and define clearly his/her party’s agenda or a concise version of his manifesto for the upcoming five years. They will be asked to speak on pressing issues that are currently plaguing the island’s growth and development e.g. (unemployment, lack or reduction of export trade) the nation’s deficits and other pressing issues. They also will be expected to speak on the nation’s strengths, challenges and viable means that are necessary to transform them into commerce, if possible.

Such debates will enable the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines to be apprised of the political landscape, to learn more about each political party, personalities and their track records. But most importantly, they will be served with the opportunity to have a thorough insight of each party’s role and intentions to move the country forward for the next five years.

Having a profound insight of each party’s agenda and initiatives, Vincentians at home and abroad will be fortified with the necessary tools and ammunition to make educated choices, some at the polls. They, in turn, will be able to throw their support, endorse or make consciously determined decisions regarding the party that they think is most capable of managing the affairs of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

For the first time in the history of St Vincent’s politics, four political parties are vying for political leadership to take the country forward for the next five years. Mrs Anesia Baptiste, leader of the Democratic Republic Party (DRP) and Mr Ivan O’Neal of the SVG Green Party have already made their request for a national debate with the incumbent Unity Labour Party (ULP) of Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, and the New Democratic Party (NDP) that is led by Mr Arnhim Eustace.

Said the leader of the DRP, as she called for a debate among the parties: “Political debate organized would give us the opportunity to focus on the issues and would allow each political party’s leader to outline their plans and policies to Vincentians. This debate will allow Vincentians to access each leader based on the issues and policies, and to make the decision as to who they will vote for based on those things.” She went on to say, “Let us come together and be questioned by journalists on various issues that people will like to hear us on, and let the people know exactly where we stand. I am asking for three debates. Why? Having three debates allows the persons who are asking the questions on a variety of issues and the public to access us on consistency. Are you going to flip-flop on a question in your second debate? Are you going to change your position on the final debate from what it was in the first debate? These are the things that can come out when you are tested on three different occasions.”

The entire Vincentian diaspora is eagerly waiting for such an event to take place in the near future. After all, we have an innate vested interest in St Vincent and the Grenadines and all of its affairs. We, the diaspora of North America, are saying “BRING ON THE 2015 POLITICAL DEBATE.”

Josiah Stewart

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