PM rejects Leacock’s claim that ULP strongest among poor

An opposition politician says that the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) is strongest in the poorest areas of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a suggestion that Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has rejected.

“Look at where the Unity Labour Party is strong. They are strong where poverty is greatest: in the rural country areas, in the areas where they have trampled on agriculture, in the areas where they have knocked down irrigation, in the areas where they have not taken science to transform our people,” Central Kingstown MP St. Clair Leacock said on Thursday.

He told his New Democratic Party’s (NDP) virtual meeting that the ULP is strongest “in areas where they did not lift a single hand to take over the estates to create a middle class.

“And so, there is an urgency. This is a time to be with the better team. This is a time to be with those of us who know how to walk through that valley, who have had wilderness years’ experience,” said Leacock who spent one five-year term as an opposition senator and is into his second five-year term as an elected representative, all of which was spent in opposition.

Leacock said that the opposition has a team “who, by nature of our upbringing, our human sufferings, our own experience, our own relationships, social life, street life, understand that in this passage of time, across the stage of time, we have but one more measure.

“And that one good measure is not what, as I said before, what we make of ourselves when presented with the opportunity. But on the other hand, when presented with the opportunity, what we have made better for other people’s lives,” Leacock told the rally, which was broadcast live on radio and social media.”

But, Gonsalves rejected Leacock’s comments on WE FM on Sunday, saying that Leacock was damning poor people for supporting him.

“Whappen? Is he saying that poor people so ignorant that they poor and supporting Ralph? It’s an interesting twist because that is what the former Labour party used to say about PPP supporters,” he said.

The People’s Political Party was established in 1952 and dissolved in 1984, when the NDP was formed, inheriting many former PPP supporters.

Gonsalves said:

“But the fact remains that we have supporters among all classes of people and young and old and middle age but that the poor in this country support us because we have reduced poverty and our policies are directed immediately, in the medium and in the long-term, to reduce poverty and give people an opportunity.”

He went on to mention, not by name, several of the persons from poor rural families who have been able to advance themselves under his administration.