The Dangerously Escalating Situation in Our Country By Jomo Thomas

Jomo Thomas, General Secretary of the People's Movement for Change (PMC) SVG

From its inception in July 2008, the Peoples Movement for Change (PMC) maintained that for St. Vincent and the Grenadines to go forward, all of us, especially the politicians, must place country above self and people before politics. Time and again, we warned that hyper-partisan politics threatened to destroy our nation. Few took heed and so we have come to this.

Immediately following the hotly contested general elections in which the ULP was returned to power with a narrow 8 to 7 margin, the opposition filed 10 criminal complaints against four government ministers including Gonsalves, Slater, Burgin and McKie.

The chief Magistrate dismissed 4 complaints brought against Gonsalves and Burgin as being frivolous and vexatious and the DPP discontinued the remaining 6.

The governing ULP administration swiftly moved to amend the Criminal Procedure Code and the Representation of the People Act. The opposition denounced the move as a violation of the rights and freedoms of the people and an affront on our democracy.

The PMC is steadfast in the belief that the changes to the laws are, by themselves, totally and completely unnecessary. Therefore, our call is for the authorities to return to the status quo and withdraw the bills.

So doing will not manifest a sign of government weakness or proclaim the triumph of the opposition. Such act of statesmanship will point to a new level of political maturity especially in this period when the national clamour is for reconciliation and unity. It will also test the capacity of both sides for national leadership.

In fact, the withdrawal of the bills could act as a precursor to a new quality of discourse, discussion and dialogue that can and should lead to a more efficient and effective delivery of justice as well as a more respected election process. A withdrawal also takes away the opposition’s cause for protest.

The actions in parliament on Thursday March 3rd reflect a dangerous escalation in the battle for state power between the two main parties. The PMC will never question the right of citizens to civil disobedience and protest, but the following must be made absolutely clear: The opposition leader’s refusal to sit and leave the House when ordered out for his breach of the rules cannot be tolerated or repeated. Those actions of the opposition were and remain an affront to the institution of the legislature. The opposition must abandon this tactic immediately or it may inherit a parliament which is unmanageable.

At the same time we call on the Speaker of the Parliament to arm himself with the tactics and strategies and mode of operations that demonstrate transparent impartiality and good order or he must resign.

Jomo Thomas

General Secretary, People’s Movement for Change (PMC)

4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Tailyar on March 21, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Now this is a piece I can gladly share with other. Non partisan as it should be

    Reply

  2. Posted by Vincent Charles on March 20, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    This statement is refreshingly balanced and carefully crafted. Whereas I do not agree with some of Jomo’s personal positions, I find myself more inclined to see the merit in the collective reasoning of his organisation.

    When positions are moderated and consensus built, the ensuing product is always good for the country.

    May each party apply these recommendations, or at least moderate their positions to better reflect the disparity of views that exists in SVG.

    Reply

  3. Posted by empress modupe on March 18, 2011 at 10:44 am

    To quote Bob Marley “every need has an ego to feed” . Will a repeal of the bills to amend the Criminal Procedure Code and the Representation of the People Act bring about significant transformation to the toxic political climate in SVG? I seriously doubt that. As long as you have delusional and selfish individuals who place their political interest before the best interest of the people, as long as the Opposition remains hell bent on destabalizing the current administration, only the people of SVG will suffer the consequences. It is high time for both the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition to realize that political tribalism leads to political cannibalism. We call on both leaders to put aside their male egos and engage in meaningful and fruitfull dialogue in the best interest of the people and country. They have a responsibility to end the tensions that is tearing Vincentians apart. SVG is a blessed land, but at any moment,
    God and nature not man can transform our lives without notice. Think about what we would do if we had to deal with natural disasters such as Japan’s, New Zealand and Haiti’s tragic circumstances. Do we need to reach the point of no return? I certainly hope not. To end with another quote from Bob Marley “…Unite for the benefit of your people…Unite for its later than you think…”

    Reply

  4. Posted by Helen on March 18, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Jomo Thomas, you are a holy breath of fresh air… Where have you been? Your article is a brilliantly logical analysis; thumbs up to you please keep up the good work!

    Reply

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