Thursday, November 26, 2009


The No's have it

The people have said a resounding no to the proposed new constitution. As I write the No Vote has earned 55.64% of the vote with 43.13% going to the Yes Vote. If this were a general election the ruling ULP would find itself in opposition with just two of the fifteen seats. This is a most remarkable result given the resources of the state machinery.

On the ground it was quite clear that the no vote was winning the war but I doubt many were prepared for the scale of their win. Even the commentators on national television were taken aback by what was unfolding before their eyes. Despite it being a referendum on the constitution the consensus always was that people were going to vote along party lines and so it really was a referendum on the government. If this were the case and I have no reason to believe otherwise the ruling party is in serious trouble. I've long maintained that the death of Glen Jackson former press secretary left a gaping hole in the heart of the Gonsalves government. I believe he more than any had the pulse of the people and the guts to let the Prime Minister hear the harsh truth.

No doubt the reasons for the Government's poor showing will be debated incessantly in the upcoming days. More than likely the rape charges levelled against the Prime Minister, the uproar over the 4 million dollars, the document detailing monies deposited at the NCB that made the rounds and the gifting of money to school children will all feature. Not to be forgotten is the unease over the Govt's foreign policy which has convinced many that communism is a threat. One thing for sure is the months leading up to the general elections will be action packed. They say a day is a long time in politics but the ruling party has a mountain to climb if it is to regain any respectability at the polls. Throughout all of this I'm saddened that the leaders refused to put political ambitions aside and cooperate on something that was bigger than general elections. It really did not have to go down the road that was taken where it became all about politics and less of the matter at hand. On the other hand I am thankful that the so called bribe money did not influence the vote which suggests that as a people we have gone past such. This is pleasing and tells me there is yet hope for our people's continuing maturity.

I watched this unfold from another Caribbean island and I pleased to see that Vincentians did not allow themselves to be fooled. One of my lecturers at UWI said this referendum was a smoke screen to distract the citizens from the country's problems. Most politicians believe that the average citizen is easily fooled. It takes a situation like this to show politicians that the average person is not an idiot and can think for themselves. The PM of St.Vincent should recognize that there is a wind of change blowing around the Caribbean.
People are no longer content to believe what politicians spew out as "facts" and "truth". Citizens need to see tangible efforts to improve the country and by extent their lives.
It's a bit of a strange thing because while a lot of people have a love/hate relationship with Gonsalves his constituency said a resounding yes. It suggests that people have a huge problem with his ministers who many see as MIA.Then when you have many people on both sides telling you they would vote on party lines then you wonder if we even voted on the constitution at all. That said the Yes vote people wounded themselves with some at sea canvassers and ill advised spending.
I disagree with the smoke screen comment...I would say that it was a test run for next elections for both parties especially the ULP administration.

To say it was a smoke screen is to suggest that Constitutional reform was a waste and that is a process that we dared to undertake because we as a nation saw the NEED for. The abuses that surrounded the referendum and the other major concerns of the people have overtaken what should have been a national issue and not merely a political cricket ball.
interesting. considering how much effort it appears the vote yes folks put in this is pretty significant result
The one thing that all the commentators seem to mention is the PM's own role in the failure of the referendum. That alone speaks volumes.

What should've been a humbling, uniting process was hijacked by the politicians and made into a political testing ground.

The rest of the Caribbean was watching. I wonder what their thoughts are.
I think he said it was a smoke screen because there are greater issues which need to be dealt with immediately.Yes constitutional reform is important, even necessary, but even more important are jobs, housing, education, and crime. These are issues which all Caribbean countries are facing right now and providing proper health care, a safe society and jobs should be the priority of any government.
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