“Another five years under the NNP, will be Keith, heat and nothing to eat and you know it.”
Those were the ripping words of Senator Rochelle Forde of St. Vincent & The Grenadines as she addressed last Sunday night’s Youth Rally of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDFC) at Progress Park in St. Andrew.
Sen. Forde was giving full support to Congress from Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, the Prime Minister and Political Leader of the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) in St. Vincent.
She told the crowd estimated at around 8,500 that she sensed NDC will win the election to form the next government in St. George’s following Tuesday’s general election.
“The victory you have worked so hard for is just around the corner, do not lose the battle at this time…at this point in time it is not whether you win, it is about how badly you (are) going to beat the NNP at the polls”, she said amidst loud cheers from Congress supporters.
The female Vincentian politician told the youth in attendance at the rally that if they are ready to bring new life to Grenada and for a chance to strive, then “vote for the NDC.”
Having read the NDC manifesto, which was historically launched in digital form last week Thursday under the slogan ‘Putting People First’, Sen. Forde the Vincentian senator told the gathering that it “has truly chartered the way forward for you while putting people first”.
“As I read it, what was very striking to me is that the manifesto places high priority on the young people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique and there is an entire section for the youth beautifully captioned
‘Youth Empowerment Providing Better Opportunities for Young People’.
She cited provisions in the manifesto for the nation’s young people such as free tuition to opportunities in ICT, the introduction of a student loan programme to job creation across all sectors of the economy.
The female Vincentian politician also confessed to reading the NNP’s manifesto and heavily criticised it.
She said: “I went and I looked at the NNP manifesto online…and the youth is only featured all the way down in chapter 7, when the NDC manifesto has the youth focused in the first three chapters of their manifesto. That is very telling”.
“To the NNP, the youth are not even good enough to come early in their magazine and I call it a magazine because it is not a manifesto and there are no plans to take you forward.”
“I want you to know that you are not a priority of the NNP so on Election Day, show them the same regard when you vote them out.”
According to Sen. Forde, the only thing that stood out to her in the NNP manifesto was the slogan ‘keep moving,’ and on March 13 you will help them keep moving straight out of government.”
“I look around at your leader and your candidates and I see the promise of a bright future for Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. I see energetic, dedicated Grenadians ready to work. I see comrades led by Comrade Burke full of integrity.
“I see that the NDC will make young people an integral part of national development and decision making…I see that the NDC has really put young people first.”
The Vincentian also singled out for special mention two of the youthful “fantastic candidates” of Congress for the elections – Tevin Andrew (Carriacou & Petite Martinique) and Ali Dowden (St. George North-west).
“Your party is not afraid of intelligent young people and as a matter of fact your party embraces new ideas. Comrades, I can assure you, if you have had enough of the self-serving behaviour from the other side, it is time that you make your voices heard and say we don’t want a set of yes men and yes women who are afraid to speak in front of their leader”, she remarked.
Former Public Relations Officer of NNP, Terrence Forrester who quit the party last year chided the ruling party for having a set of “yes men” who gave support to every and anything put forward by PM Mitchell.
Seemingly well informed about the political climate in the country, Sen. Forde launched a stinging attack on the NNP and in particular, former NDC General Secretary, Peter David also known as ‘Pedro,’ who will come up against NDC Claudette Joseph for the Town of St. George seat.
She said: “Thankfully Congress leader Burke will never have to say that any of his candidates have twisted minds, are fraudsters or are hungry for power…Thankfully also, that the People of the Town of St. George has Claudette Joseph to vote for…I know there are some and I think the numbers getting less and less day by day, who might still vote for the NNP; but I say to those persons, if on election day, when you go in and you look at that ballot paper and you don’t see any name that say Pedro, then get vex and give Claudette your (X) because somebody trying to trick you.”
“When I look at your candidates, I see honest men and women. I do not see anybody who would be making a secret deal in the night with overseas (people) to explore oil and gas. I see men and women who are concerned with and will work very hard to reduce the unemployment statistics of 50.4% among the youth. I see men and women who are committed to getting healthcare right,” she added.
Commenting on the recent public squabble on the island over the sale of the legendary Camerhogne Park, which is generally used by locals daily, Sen. Forde told the gathering that “come March 13 you must vote for your right to own a piece of Grenada Carriacou and Petite Martinique.”
The female Vincentian Senator affirmed that while “no one is against development and foreign investment, there must be a careful balance”.
“It cannot be that every square foot of land (that is) good for development must be sold to foreigners. No, Grenada belongs to Grenadians first and foremost. And I am telling you, if you are not careful, the day might soon come when you might need a visa to get from Gouyave to St. George’s – you must not let that happen”, she said.
Sen. Forde also addressed reports circulating in the country that the Imani programme is heavily politicised and NDC’s intention to upgrade certain aspects, contrary to rumours that it will be abolished.
She had the confidence that “NDC will ensure that access to the programme is not just limited to those who have a godfather to pull a string for them.”
She also had a parting word for the Grenadian youth to “demand fairness and opportunity for all young people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique”.
“Come March 13, quietly and with the power of you ‘X’ show the strength of your democracy and vote NDC. Do not allow them (NNP) to keep you in bondage for (the) next five years.”
“You must ink up your entire finger as you proudly write a new chapter in the history of Grenada by voting the NDC into office.”
“…Get up early, stand in those lines and do not leave those lines until you have voted (because) your future depends on you bringing new change and new life…
“…With your vote, you the young people of this country must punish the NNP for suffocating you and blocking you from opportunities, which you need to advance yourselves.”