Opposition wants to replicate ‘Roadblock Revolution’ says PM Gonsalves

 

However, Leader of the Opposition and president of the NDP, Arnhim Eustace, has suggested that with Colin Williams as the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), it would be hard to unseat through legal channels, the Unity Labour Party (ULP), which has a one seat majority in the Parliament.

In 2000, half way into the NDP’s fourth term in office, Vincentians blocked the streets in response to the tabling in Parliament by Eustace, the then Minister of Finance, a bill to increase salaries and benefits for parliamentarians.

The NDP had a one seat majority in the 15-member Parliament and the “Greedy Bill” triggered the “Roadblock Revolution” that forced the NDP to the polls and s into the opposition benches in March 2001.

The ten complaints, filed last week on behalf of three NDP candidates in the 15th December general elections, were brought under the elections laws.

A guilty verdict could have seen any or all of the government ministers fined and imprisoned and their election nullified and barred from being a parliamentarian for five years.

The Chief Magistrate threw out the charges against Gonsalves and one of the ministers while the Director of Public Prosecutions discontinued the remaining six even as the NDP was preparing to rally last Friday, 14th December, when the ministers should have appeared in court.

Lawyers for the NDP had since appealed the decisions of the judicial officers and Gonsalves said on Monday, 17th January, that the right to bring private criminal charges was being abused.

He said Vincentians should support the view that these charges should be brought through the DPP but did not say if his government would modify the laws accordingly.

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