Written By: Tyrone James - General Secretary of the NDP (for the weekly newspapers.)

 

Mr. Editor, I have stated before and I want to reiterate that Ralph Gonsalves and the ULP is all about rhetoric but now I will also add hubris. I do not think there has ever been another political party here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines that has been so impressed with themselves and has promised so much and delivered so little.

 

Recently St. Vincent and the Grenadines won gold medals in the 800m U17 boys and the 4x400m U20 Girls at the 2018 Junior Carifta Games in Bahamas. Without question these athletes performed and represented the country admirably. Understandingly, the country was euphoric and Vincentians basked in a sense of achievement and worth. With their achievement St. Vincent and the Grenadines finished 5th in the Games, the highest this country has ever achieved since competing in 1972.

 

Mr. Editor, the performance of these athletes and others before them are simply heroic. When modelled in the context of lack of financial and other resources to support track and field and the absence of a track, the extent of the athletes’ performance and achievement takes on new dimensions. It simply means that the Vincentian athletes had to work much harder that the other athletes at the games to achieve. The question could therefore be asked what if they had access to a track?

 

Mr. Editor, in support of my point that the ULP is all about rhetoric and hubris, let us take a look at their history in respect of the National Stadium. In their 2001 Manifesto the ULP promised Vincentians that they will construct a National Stadium. On the heels of this promise the ULP announced in Parliament on the 4th December, 2001 that Ralph Gonsalves had acquired some $4 million dollars from the Libyan Government towards the construction of a National Stadium.

 

On 17th April 2002, the nation was told that the National Stadium at Diamonds was estimated to cost fifteen million dollars ($15M) was reminded that Ralph Gonsalves and the ULP already had in hand four million dollars from Libya.

On February 28th 2005, this Nation was once again told that US$21 million was allocated to the National Stadium. In fact, Clayton Burgin boasted to Senator Leacock that “When we added the US$21 million allocated to the National Stadium Project to these already substantial amounts we must conclude that our administration’s commitment to sports and to youth development by extension is surpassed in the entire history of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

On 22nd March 2005 the ULP again boasted that “When you talk about sporting facilities throughout the length and breadth of our country to enhance the welfare and wellbeing of our young people, throughout the length and breadth, they criticized us when we seek to build a national sports stadium and the Prime Minister was going to see Gaddafi in Libya, they criticised us for going to Libya, they did not want any part of that, even if we were going and we would get something to help with the sporting facilities there, they did not want any part of that, it was US$1.5 million

 

Additionally, a stadium committee was set up, there was a ground breaking ceremony, architectural designs were presented and an office was establishment at the Administrative Centre at the Arnos Vale Playing Field.

 

On 3 April 2018, the Minister of Sports could only comment that the Government has a national stadium on its agenda, while the Minister of Health in an apparent congratulatory letter could only say that one of the main topics of discussion after the Carifta success will no doubt be the putting down of a synthetic track.

In respect of the stadium one local newspaper on Friday 07 October 2016 observed, “Sadly, though, the matter of a national stadium for SVG only takes prominence during the electioneering period, which gives rise to the belief that it is merely a political stunt to gain votes one way or the other.”

 

Today 2018, our athletes are still running on grass. No attempt has been made even to put down a track with the $4 million. No financial support is provided to Team Athletics SVG. Youth unemployment has hit a record 46% and in some locale such as North Windward where Handal Roban our 800m gold medallist originates, a possible 66%.

 

Once again Mr. Editor it is clear that this ULP government has nothing to offer Vincentians but rhetoric and hubris.

© 2016 New Democratic Party (NDP) St. Vincent and the Grenadines. All Rights Reserved.