Round Table with Oscar
December 1, 2015
Citizens’ Manifesto 2015-2025, SVG

A Citizens’ manifesto is a mobilizing vision, a vivid portrait of the quality of life that citizens want for their community, a prize we strive to own. It is the kind of manifesto that can frame the future of SVG. Clearly, it is not a Party document; rather, it is the National Declaration of Intent by a people, the Vincentian People.{{more}}

Our Citizens’ Manifesto must hold up before us a country at peace, an economy that grows, leaving no sector behind, a society that cares and an inclusive people who reach towards a wholesome Caribbean future Manifesto 2015 to 2025 for SVG will hold. When we frame such a manifesto and nail it to our doors, seal it in our hearts and own it as our vision, we will have gained a strength to work together. Do not look at this Citizens’ Manifesto as a programme for our government to take and follow and deliver to us; on the contrary, it is a people’s project, this building of peace bridges, and extending our care, courtesy and productivity throughout the whole community. In fact, citizens may need to say a firm ‘no’ to some of our government’s practices, and to our own inclinations, as we seek to engender peace!

OUR STARTING POINT: Peace building

Right now we are in a situation of virtual war between citizens from the major political parties. It was like this before the election date was called, stirred by cases of victimization; the hostility has deepened since then, and the division among us will continue after the election results have come in. It is our call as citizens to discern the party which is mother of divisiveness, to call its leaders out, to impose sanctions on them, while developing an inclusive community programme. Peace building has to tackle also the aggressive and brutish culture of gun violence as a method of dispute and property issues management. Peace has softer matters to contend with too, like the epidemic of ‘runaway’ sexual activity and attendant relationship challenges.

When we view our elections expenditures of $40 million (my estimate) in entertainment, handouts, logistical support and persuasion, as a war budget, it is we who are supporting this sustained attack on our unity as a nation. We need to mobilize as citizens, a counter election, with our citizens’ manifesto and movement. Become a ‘war resister’ during this heating up climax of the election. Disengage from the battleground rallies, listen to such broadcasts as you wish, but boycott the war and start the citizen counter elections for peace and unity and justice here and now.


A Citizen Manifesto must be shaped by citizen cadres or leaders. The only qualification to be a citizen manifesto leader is a consciousness that the time has come for political power to recognize and respect and answer to citizen equity in society. Citizen leaders are not up there on platforms and pulpits, but on the humble ground, learning and sharing in the midst of other citizens, and even in the trenches, defending those who are threatened in the party war. This manifesto does not come down from the leader or the central executive. It is too revolutionary for the old elite leaders to develop it. New, caring and learnable, and wounded hearts and spirits are needed to shape this manifesto for a new kind of SVG using the manifesto 2015 to 2025.

“A country at peace, an economy that grows, leaving no sector behind, a society that cares, and an inclusive people who reach towards a wholesome Caribbean future.” That is the germ of a citizens’ manifesto for SVG. Can you see yourself in this project? Does it have room for the vulnerable, the striving young woman and man, the hillside farmer, the urban businessman and woman, professionals, pushouts and challenged? Sign up with the citizen movement to shape and share the manifesto for the SVG we want to enjoy,

Permit me to close with a slogan that Jomo Sanga Thomas coined for the PMC; it says ‘Country above Party, People before Politics’.