SVG Opposition Calls On Gonsalves To Resign Immediately

Photo Credit : IWN

It pains me as a citizen of this beautiful country and Leader of the Opposition to be constantly addressing the crime situation here. I say this because the seriousness of the matter demands a community response.

But those who have been charged with managing the affairs of the nation must be in the forefront. You might remember that not too long ago, the Honourable Arnhim Eustace, as Opposition Leader, asked Prime Minister Gonsalves to have a joint (bipartisan) appeal to the nation to address crime and violence.

Dr. Gonsalves refused to do it and instead sought to belittle Mr. Eustace and his offer by saying Eustace only wanted to look Prime Ministerial. We know that crime is a complex and multifaceted issue.

However people expect their government to provide security and create an environment that facilitates economic and social development.

The current Prime Minister accepts praise for any good that comes to SVG regardless of his role in it, but distances himself from anything that is negative or not politically popular. As he put it: he accepts responsibility; he does not accept blame.

The crime situation must be fought on many fronts. First, one expects the immediate response to come from our law enforcement personnel.

This begs the question of their training, involving having the skills and equipment to tackle crime in this era of modern technology.

Events of the past few months have shown us that there is tremendous dissatisfaction in the police service over many things, including conditions of work. The Police Welfare Association tried to have these matters addressed and, several weeks ago, its executive members debated how best to do so.

We all know how that turned out! What was also manifested was a lack of respect for the police by those in authority.

Recently members of the police service were upset by efforts to deduct money from their pay for hurricane relief donation, without their prior knowledge and consent. Despite the efforts of the authorities to rationalise their actions, the incident showed itself as part of a deepening gulf between the rank and file and the top brass of the service.

This cannot continue if we are to meet the challenge of fighting serious crime. Under the past NDP government, community policing was advocated and fostered. The effectiveness of community policing is recognized world over. However, such policing is clearly not a priority today. It must be championed again.

The police cannot on their own effectively fight crime and lawlessness. It is obvious to most of us that there is a lack of trust between the police and the population they serve.

Community policing is a way of restoring trust and making the police more effective. It would also help to remove partisan politics from the operation of police service. Let the service be strictly professional!

There is more that can and will be said on the issue of the conditions of work and housing of the police but let me focus on some other issues.

Tackling crime must be dealt with both in the short and long term. What is happening in our society leads us to the conclusion that crime cannot be simply explained as greater and easy availability of guns and of gang warfare. These are obviously part of the whole equation but it goes beyond that, especially when we look at the involvement of young people in criminal activity.

We have seen examples recently of even young women being involved, including persons who were well educated. We are of the view that while we tackle the issue head on and immediately, we must look at the root causes.

It is because of this that we introduced the Spiritual and Social Redemption Charter in 2003 which the ruling ULP regime refused to have debated in parliament. We continue to see the need for addressing the issues raised in the Charter. In the past, we depended on the Church for guidance and work on matters of morality and addressing and up-keeping established values which we consider still very relevant today.

The Church is no longer the mover in this area for a variety of reasons,including being itself infected by the political divisiveness prevalent in the country.

Given that anti-social behaviour that can later escalate into acts of violence is present in the schools, we believe it necessary to start in the schools reinforcing the long-held values that have over the years held our people together as members of one community, assisting each other and looking after the interests of the community.

But with all of this, the economic downturn in our society provides space and fuel for the unruly. While some applaud and speak glowingly about what is called the ‘education revolution’, the reality is that many of our school leavers, even those with university degrees, cannot find jobs.

Our education curriculum and its general direction continues to be one that certifies graduates to find jobs which are becoming scarcer and scarcer, rather than creating jobs. But even in the creation of jobs it is necessary for us to provide the context and the environment that stimulates entrepreneurial activity and attracts investment from our people in the diaspora and from foreign investors.

So, the issue of criminal activity and the skyrocketing murder rate is complex and must be tackled on all fronts. Government must, however, be caring and must put in place measures that will convince the people that it is serious about dealing with crime and violence. It must provide a platform for our communities to understand that they have a role to play in combating crime, which has gotten completely out of hand.

But we also accept that we all have a role to play and we should not wait until violence touches us personally to demand action.

The NDP pledges that this problem will be high on our political agenda in government. We do not hold the reins of government now but are prepared to work along with others to tackle this alarming crime situation. It really cannot be business as usual; we must begin the process of taking back control of our communities, our lives and our peace of mind.

In our Manifesto, (see page 42), we set out what can be done to address the problems of crime and violence in the society.

To those prescriptions, I will emphasize that to address this crisis of crime and violence in our country, the ULP must be removed from office. Ralph and his government have failed this country and, what is more, they don’t seem to care.

When they can seek to minimise the significance of the current spate of violent killings and wounding in the country, it shows that they are out of touch with the feelings of the common people. As powerful and privileged ruling elites, they feel safe and cannot imagine that ordinary people would be worried about the murderous violence in the country! Since they do not acknowledge the problem, they cannot provide leadership in finding solutions.

Therefore, the Minister of National Security must go. I am calling on him to resign immediately!

As for the rest of us, we must all come together to be each other’s keeper, to build strong, healthy communities. Together, we must make St. Vincent and the Grenadines safe again!

NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY

12 Comments

  1. NDP ah gi me jokes…you guys are serious? Did the government give guns to vincentians to kill people? I can’t understand, so if the NDP take over leadership of Vincy there will be no more kill in SVG,is that what you are saying? Let go mi foot ley me run like bolts..lol

    • Come on now! How much is the ULP paying you to “troll” SVG internet sites. We can all see that the ULP has dramatically increased the crime rate due to not only the terrible economic philosophy of thinking they can borrow and tax the country into prosperity.
      They have been slowly destroying the police force and the entire justice system. After letting the courts Registrar get away with theft of many thousands it shows us under the ULP it is not a justice system it is a “just us” system.

      What would help the ULP is if they begin to realize that poor people as well as opposition Vincentians have more value than just political pawns for votes. I am very happy that the NDP talks of ALL VINCENTIANS but the ULP only thinks of voters, and if you voted the wrong way expect to be punished.
      I am tired of the false promises of the ULP. Where are all the jobs? Where is the road works Ralph promised that would be so great “like the country has never seen in its’ history”. He also promised to renovate Kingstown. Instead we get a very nice airport that will never be used to capacity and will continue to cost us far more than we will ever get from it. More debt and liabilities: in other words “RALPHONOMICS”, making the country economically ungovernable.

  2. Thank you Dr. Friday and thank you MP Major (my representative) for your leadership and genuine concerns for the welfare and security of the people of this country. We MUST continue steadfastly to press forward in our efforts to remove this dreadful ULP plague that is sickening our beautiful SVG with FEAR, DISPAIR AND HOPELESSNESS. The pirates and plunderers have done their time- 17 years- and they just can’t be bothered with addressing the seriousness of the impact that the crime situation is having on our society.

    No society (including SVG)can function effectively in an environment charecteried by lawlessness,joblessness and escalating criminal activities be they murders, robberies, hijackings, thefts, assaults, etc. Having said that, there must also be respect for the rule of law; no one should be above the law. But in SVG anything goes!

    They appears to be an urgency by the Government to prosecute civilians and to enforce court orders against these civilians. But when the shoe is on the other foot, the same Government often refuses to comply with court order for payments. How many civilians are still waiting on the Government to comply with court orders for payment in cases which they (government)would have loss.

    Most of us would recall the ULP ROAD BLOCKS of 2001. They were law breakers plain and simply but not one of them were ever prosecuted and given jail time for these crimes. The very same police refused to uphold the law by arresting those criminals. And so what do we have today? The same road blockers who were never arrested and charged for their crimes, are now put in charge of addressing crimes and bringing us security in this country!!! Can someone explain this conundrum to me? Lord help us!!

    • Good information. It is always helpful for someone to bring up all the lawlessness of the ULP. We can see they are leading the weak-minded by example. Didn’t a certain politician in the ULP spend his time before being in government defending drug dealers and criminals? It should be no wonder that the criminals feel at home in SVG.

  3. The opposition them talking shit is the prime minister putting guns in their hands and telling them to go and shoot.the criminals them sick in their mind ,how can they get away with things that are in their head.

    • No, the Prime Minister is not putting guns in the hands of our youth but he is making sure it is the only chance they have to attain any prosperity while in This country. Killing in competition for the drug trade because the present government supports only the tourism industry (big tourism makes better campaign contributions than farmers). and all other industries have to pay so much in taxes and fees that they do not have a chance to reach any level of security or prosperity.

  4. Dr.Friday; With all due respect, alluding to your manifesto to combat crime, is an excuse to talk about what you would do in the future-if elected.The leader seeks to address issues,even when not in government… Here is a suggestion: Maybe, doing something today, would go a long way to instill confidence in the minds of the populace that you are capable of tackling the complexities of governance! That there is crime[the effect], governance in action also includes,but not limited to, dealing with the core issue of hopeless[cause]. In acknowledgement of this aforementioned dynamic,why haven’t you made efforts to effect direct investments in the name of country? Are you capable of this undertaking,or you’d rather wait until you assume the post of Prime Minister?

    • So, what does Dr Friday or anyone need to do to show that they are “ready” fot the leadership of the country? do they have to put on a 700.00 US$ suit like Ralph? Do they have to be all talk and no action like Ralph? Promise to throw money at problems like Ralph? Dr. Friday sounds to me like he knows far more what needs to be done than Ralph. In fact, Ralph has shown us that he does not have much of a clue on how to do anything, except take out loans and spend away the future of our youth for hundreds of years.

    • So, he should say nothing at all? In case you have not noticed Dr. Friday is doing exactly what his job is as leader of the opposition. If you would rather have a dictatorship stick around a few years, SVG is getting there.

  5. My gosh. Am alarmed by Dr goodfriday .That’s my name for him talking about the pm should resign why don’t you resign. I hope it’s not you who will take the place of the pm because am already unimpress by your statements blaming the pm for the crimes. Think outside the box regardless of who is pm or what year it is or what laws put in place people are going to kill if they want to kill. So Friday in light of your demanding statements it paints a picture in my mind you are not fit to represent.

    • Yeh, I suppose Ralph is completely blameless. I guess that is why SVG is the highly advanced wealthy country, the envy of the world with the fastest growing economy where all investors want to invest their money and travel on our beautiful roads….right?

  6. While the opposition party could be more activist in its approach to seeking direct investments,the government has become hapless, and way too complacent. An apt perspective: If one were to wear a shoe for 17 years, it is natural that the quality breaks down to a point,at which, it is no longer useful. Need I say more?

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