KINGSTOWN, St Vincent (CMC) – Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says he is not afraid to call the general election, contrary to the taunts of his political opponents.
He told his Unity Labour Party (ULP) Women’s Arm Convention on Sunday that the elections will be this year, ahead of the March 2016 constitutional deadline, and listed the seats he thinks his party should win.
“When the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines elected us in December 2010, they say you have five years and you have three months grace.
Well, unless there are some special reasons, I don’t want that three months grace in time. Because in our hearts is the grace of love, and watch for me between now and the end of the year,” said the prime minister.
“And when they say what is the date, I put my hand up, my voting finger up to my father who is in Heaven, following the advice of the ancient prophet who is Eli, speak Lord, your servant Ralph is listening,” Gonsalves said to loud cheers at the convention.
“What we are seeing in the Labour Party is that the people, the members, the supporters, the country as a whole rallying behind labour, and there is a mood, a rising mood,” he told the convention at which guest speaker, former Member of Parliament Rene Baptiste, said “the tides of the time are shifting”, and called on party supporters to respond.
“… But I want to tell you something: The mood has to be organised, the mood has to be channelled and that mood, that good mood, has to be grounded in organisational strength to bring out everybody to vote. We have to register everybody and we have to bring out everybody,” Gonsalves said.
He again repeated the analogy of the Jews choosing Barabbas over Jesus.
“…So you have to be organised; you have to make sure that the spirit which you have does not get dampened until up to the election and beyond, and you have to be organised in every single constituency,” said the ULP leader.
Gonsalves said ULP supporters must ensure that young people in their home are registered to vote.
He said that the supervisor of elections has made it public that there are 9,000 new voters since the December 2010 general election, and that there are still more to be registered.
“…The NDP might have registered a maximum of 1,500 of these new voters, hence Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace’s concern about the growth of the voter’s list since the last election.
“I see the NDP has some candidates, they running, they running as NDP. But when I see the fella up in North Windward, I say he running as a fool; he ain’t running as NDP. And when I go to Central Leeward and I see Ben Exeter, he ain’t running as NDP, he running as joke,” Gonsalves said to loud cheering.
“Politics is arithmetic, but politics is also geometry,” he said.
To win general elections in St Vincent and the Grenadines, a political party must get at least eight of the 15 seats.
At present, Gonsalves’ ULP holds eight seats while the NDP won the remaining seven.
“In order to get eight, you have to come for it, and the eight which we have, nothing like NDP can take them,” Gonsalves said.
Gonsalves said that in 2001 and 2005 the ULP won all the seats from North Windward to West St George, and North Leeward to West South Leeward, the “influence an impact of those 10” caused the party to win two of the West and Central Kingstown also.
“That’s where the geometry comes in, and I tell you, we are taking back Central Kingstown, and we are taking back West Kingstown,” he said, adding that Luke Browne will also defeat the Leader of the Opposition in East Kingstown.
“Ah want all thirteen on St Vincent; ah want all thirteen. And I am telling you this, down in the Southern Grenadines, you know we beat them on Union Island, but they normally win us in Canouan and in Mayreau and get a small victory.
“But, this time, with the Canouan project coming back and with the comrade’s role in bringing back that project, I am sure the people of Canouan will show their appreciation for the comrade…” Gonsalves said.