Our Readers' Opinions
December 18, 2015
The ULP should not have won elections 2015 – But…

Editor: In a normal world, the ULP should have lost Elections 2015. The widespread mood for a change in government was palpable. A large section of the Vincentian populace was simply tired and fed up of the Comrade and his party. Their waning popularity has been attributable to a number of factors.{{more}}

The productive sectors of the economy have been stagnant or declining for most of the past decade. The road network has been marked by widespread deterioration and disrepair. The state managed health sector appeared headed for a crisis. Social ills such as crime, unemployment and poverty have been spiralling out of control. The private sector, particularly small businesses, has been struggling to stay afloat. At the same time, allegations of official corruption, political victimization, nepotism, cronyism, and sexual immorality in high office have helped to define the ULP administration. Amidst it all, the debilitating effects of rampant political tribalism have effectively retarded the country’s progress.

Despite the generally dismal situation facing SVG on the watch of the ULP, the party has barely managed to retain the seat of governance. On reflection, FIVE critical factors may have been responsible for this.

FIRST, the party has mastered the art and science of winning elections. By skillfully integrating the party machinery with the state apparatus to full effect, the ULP has found a winning formula.

SECOND, the Comrade and his team have been able to steer scrutiny away from their mediocre record of the past decade and instead get the voters focused on future projects, programmes and policies, even the most grandiose and far-fetched.

THIRD, the party made the elections all about RALPH, who clearly still has tremendous political capital. The NDP’s attack on this the ULP’s most valuable asset served only to further enhance his popularity.

FOURTH, the ULP has been able to effectively exploit the perceived weaknesses of the NDP, some of which I have raised in a previous post.

And FIFTH, the ULP spared no expense in trying to buy a victory. The party itself appeared to have unlimited funds to spend. This was further complemented by the use of state resources in the pursuit of initiatives involving significant levels of material assistance to large sections of the population.

Did the ULP cheat? I have no evidence to support such. However, I do think the weaknesses of the applicable electoral laws were exploited to the fullest. Given the inherent advantages of the incumbency and the robust election machinery built by the party over the years, a victory for the ULP, though not necessarily desirable, was still quite likely.

Despite the allegations of widespread irregularities, the elections are over. The ULP has won its fourth term. The Government is legitimate. Let us all combine our energies to take SVG forward. Irrespective of whom we may have supported, the people have spoken and we have a country to build.

Come on; let’s do this!

Philbert J A John-Bute