Vincentians Donít Need Ralph Gonzalves

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Change is in the air. Residents of St. Vincent and Grenadines are done with the brutality and complete lack of ability that the government has expressed in the last few years. The leader of the United Labor Party (ULP), Dr. Hon Ralph E Gonsalves, has ruled the country in a maze of wrong decisions, lack of accountability and a complete disdain for even basic human rights. His personal digressions from the correct path are open to public scrutiny and we may never have him face the consequences of those actions. The harm that he has done to the country can only be imagined. In his nine years of rule, the Vincentians have survived a reign that didn’t give them anything.

To start off with what’s wrong with the Ralph Gonsalves regime, we must take a look at how he has crippled the country over the years. He was responsible for adding the much dreaded value added tax (VAT). The added tax did more harm than good to the economic situation of the country. Prices shot up more than the average Vincentian can pay for. Essential commodities were dearer. The country of St. Vincent and Grenadines is already ravaged with a population explosion. There is an unemployment figure as high as 22%. If you add items that are priced way beyond the affordability of common folk, you have a problem that has one solution: the downfall of the Gonzalves rule.

The Honorable Prime Minister has not just toyed with the economic prosperity of the country. He has also grossly violated basic human rights. Freedom of speech is a joke when it comes to the Vincentians. They cannot speak up against the oppressive rule without being scared. Critics and free thinkers were dragged to the courts for voicing their opinion. There is no dearth of cases when Dr. Gonzalves paid put to all civilian courtesy. The outsiders, even tourists, are well aware that you cannot speak freely when in St. Vincent and Grenadines. You have to stifle those voices of conscience and protest that are sure to surge up when you look at the threat that the Vincentians are up against.

Development is one area where St. Vincent and Grenadines could have blossomed, given its immense fondness among tourists all over the world. But they could receive only certain byproducts of non-existent development. Innumerable residents were ousted from their native lands in the name of development. None of them were reinstated in any respectable way. You couldn’t stand up against the Prime Minister because he also happens to be the leader of various other departments. You have no option but to land up on his doorstep. His indifference to human rights can only be assumed after what happened to the Canadian human rights attorney, Margaret Parsons. When the molestation charges came to light in May 2008, Colin Williams, his Director of Public Prosecutions, actually made a comment that demeaned and humiliated the work done by human rights lawyers and activists the world over. It’s time for us to ask the question as to why we should re-elect this man rather than why we must dethrone him.

Samuel Parker writes extensively about the country of St. Vincent and Grenadines. His social and economic commentaries are widely known as credible and thought-evoking.

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