Special Feature
October 7, 2005

Opposition leader tells PM to call elections now

“Gonsalves, do us a favour, take us out of misery and call the elections soon!”

This plea was made by Arnhim Eustace, Political Leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP) on Saturday, October 1, at the Redemption Sharpes Playing Field at a political rally to launch Senator St.Claire Leacock as the NDP’s candidate for Central Kingstown.{{more}}

However, while Eustace challenged Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, leader of the incumbent Unity Labour Party (ULP) to announce the elections date soon, at the beginning of the elections campaign which started in earnest in August, Prime Minister Gonsalves on several occasions had emphasized that the elections campaign will be a marathon.

Under our constitution, elections are called at the pleasure of the Prime Minister at any time within the constitutionally due period. General Elections in St.Vincent and the Grenadines are constitutionally due by the end of June next year.

“I am asking him to call it as soon as possible,” said Eustace, adding that he knew Dr. Gonsalves was listening to the rally, which was carried live on radio.

“I know you can’t go back in the Parliament to face another Budget because we will mash you up the same way we mash you up last year in the Budget,” challenged Eustace.

“You can’t go back there with another Budget, Gonsalves. So take the plunge now and call the polls… the New Democratic Party is willing, ready and will defeat you. We will defeat you,Gonsalves, you call it,” said a buoyed-up Eustace.

Eustace said his Party was criticized for not having candidates or money but he was pleased to announce that he had a slate of “good candidates” and had collected some money.

“We will deal with you when you call the elections,” said the Political Leader.

Eustace said he firmly believed Prime Minister Gonsalves had intended to call the elections before now but his own polls are indicating that such a decision should not be made now.

“I know that he does not have the same level of popularity nor his Party as they had in 2001,” said Eustace.

“This NDP here will whip Gonsalves. We will whip him, whip him and Dinky will ride him,” Eustace said with defiance.

Eustace disclosed that his Party was planning programmes and strategies and, most importantly, had developed an economic plan to improve the wellbeing of Vincentians. He said the cornerstone of this economic plan is a basic needs programme to deal with the poor.