Fri 6th Nov 2009
Since 2001, when PM Gonsalves came to office, his arrivals at Victoria park for independence celebrations were always met with a tumultuous applause from the crowd. It was to our amazement on Tuesday October 27th 2009 at about 8.00am when the PM arrived at Victoria Park - and it was very noticeable - that there was no applause. Is this a strong silent message from the people?
Having given the people a king-sized jail and the promise to build a multi-million dollar firing range for the nation's thirtieth anniversary, it was not surprising that persons were dumbfounded at Victoria Park. Gonsalves' welcome was as cold as the North pole.
In the past, PM Gonsalves has shown a tendency to disrespect the nation. For example, he told us that he worked on a Sunday to introduce a dollar tax for persons travelling to the Grenadines. This tax is so ridiculous and stupid that it costs more to administer than it brings in in revenue.
He introduced a brutal 15% VAT and then went to Parliament and bragged to the people about the proceeds. He took forty million dollars from the National Insurance Scheme, a greater amount from the NCB, sold hundreds of acres of crown lands and said he needed the funds to construct the Argyle military airport.
On top of all this, there is a huge cry from the masses due to the pain and suffering from the hardship they endure. We are reminded by the United Nations that November 25th is the day for the international campaign to stop violence against women.
Then he introduced constitutional reform and discovered that he is stuck in getting acceptance from the people, because he still believes he is the only person in this country with some savvy. To get out of his predicament he is politically bribing the people, by giving thirty thousand school children two hundred dollars each as an Independence gift to influence the parents to vote yes to the referendum. This can have no other effect but to damage the psyche of the people and have long-term adverse effects on the children.
It is unprecedented and totally unacceptable for any government to use the peoples' money from the treasury - some four million dollars - to force a yes vote out of the people. This constitution would certainly divide the people, rather than bring them together, and cause substantial hardship, poverty and squalor for the masses.
This constitution will only benefit a few. How could the PM take poor people's land by compulsory acquisition and turn around and say that the payment must be reasonable to the State?
There has to be a very positive response from the nation to reject the PM's brutal insult. He is utilising his knowledge of political and scientific psychology to use the peoples' own money and give it to them as a gift to buy their vote. If he is capable of doing all this, imagine what he will do if he gets a yes vote? He is capable of further dividing the country by using Vincentians against Vincentians to achieve his ruthless goal.
The message from SVG Green Party is this: Vincentians do not be fooled by Gonsalves' underhand monetary gift, the new constitution will be bad for you. Vote NO and stop SVG from becoming another Haiti or Zimbabwe. We deserve much better than that.