Gonsalves says NDP will pay a heavy price

Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister St. Vincent & the Grenadines

The Prime Minister of St. Vincent & the Grenadines said the election petitions filed by the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) and dismissed by the High Court after two years, tarnished the image of the country.

Addressing listeners of Star FM, the radio station owned by his ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP), Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said the actions of the NDP put the good name of St. Vincent and the Grenadines “in the dirt”.

“We are known for having free and fair elections,” Gonsalves said, adding that “the OAS and CARICOM and the local observers say yes, the elections were free and fair…they say there might have been an administrative glitch here or there but it [the election outcome] reflected the will of the people.”

Late last week Acting High Court Judge Justice Stanley John dismissed the two petitions filed by candidates for the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), in the December 2015 general elections.

Lauron “Sharer” Baptiste and Benjamin “Ben” Exeter were challenging the victories of the ruling Unity Labour Party’s (ULP) candidates Montegomery Daniel and Sir Louis Straker respectively.

In dismissing the petitions, Justice John said that while many issues had been raised during the trial, the only evidence he had found was of partiality towards the ULP’s candidate by the returning officer for Central Leeward, Winston Gaymes.

Gonsalves alleges that following the filing of petition in December 2015, after the general elections, the NDP sent messages to investors discouraging them form coming to the country and siting an illegitimate government.

The SVG Prime Minister said “the have besmirched the good name of St. Vincent and the Grenadines”.

“…they have a scotched earth policy. They pull down every single thing under the sun, that if per chance , they ever were to get into office, what they going to rule over? The rubble? The disaster?”

Gonsalves said justice for his ruling ULP was long in coming but it had finally arrived.

He said the NDP, which hinted that it would appeal the court’s decision, would pay a heavy price in the next general election, constitutionally due later this year.

“Well the process of justice grinds slowly but it grinds finely and we have come to this particular path now and they are left naked and they will pay a price in the next election for having done all this to our country; and they will pay a price also because cost will be assessed against them.”