Kingstown, St. Vincent CMC — Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says the date for the next general elections in St. Vincent and the Grenadines has already been decided, but he will not disclose it as yet to the general population.
Gonsalves, speaking at a rally marking the 14th anniversary of the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) in office, said he knows when he would inform the head of state to issue the election writ.
“I will tell you, the dates have already come to me for the elections; I know when I am going to dissolve the House and I know when I am going to ask the Governor General to have the writ issued for the election date,” he told party supporters over the last weekend.
General elections are constitutionally due by March 28, 2016, but are widely expected this year. The ULP will face a challenge from the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP).
In the last general election in December 2010, the ULP won by a one-seat margin to take control of the 21-member House of Assembly. Six legislators are appointed as Senators.
If elections are held this year, St. Vincent and the Grenadines voters will join their counterparts in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries of Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago where elections will be held this year.
Gonsalves, one of the longest serving prime ministers in the Caribbean, said that he would not be rushed into naming the date for the polls.
“Let us hear their confused conversations about all kinds of subjects,” he said of the NDP, adding “let us hear they tell the people what policies they are going to bring; because there are none. They have no compelling narrative.
“Opportunistically, they try and jump on the woman issue,” he said of the NDP’s “Conversation with Women” event last week.
“You see this? This is an assessment of the women. We had the Caribbean Development Bank do it,” he said, holding up a document.
“We are implementing all the policies and we have done since 2001 extraordinary work in this area. And I want you to go down to social development and talk to the people down there. Protections galore,” Gonsalves told supporters.