BROOKLYN, NY, Sunday, September 19 2010: – Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves spent an active weekend in Brooklyn, engaging New York’s Vincentian Diaspora in advance of his weeklong participation in activities at the United Nations. Prime Minister Gonsalves was the feature speaker at a packed town hall meeting as well and was the specially invited guest at a gospel concert to benefit persons suffering from kidney ailments.
Surrounded by scores of enlarged photographs illustrating government accomplishments over the past decade, a standing-room-only crowd of over 400 persons heard Prime Minister Gonsalves mix politics and policy in his town hall address.
The meeting, which was held on Saturday 18th at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Centre, was broadcast live on Vincentian and Brooklyn radio stations.
Speaking at the town hall meeting, Prime Minister Gonsalves detailed major accomplishments of his government, including poverty reduction, infrastructural development, and the successful “education revolution,” which revolutionlised access to education in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. He also discussed projects that are ongoing, including the medical diagnostic centre at Georgetown, access to early childhood education, and the Argyle International Airport.
Speaking on the eve of an intensifying political season in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Prime Minister Gonsalves reminded the audience that elections are constitutionally due by March, 2011, and asked them to encourage their friends and relatives back home to reelect the incumbent Unity Labour Party (ULP). The Prime Minister discussed the background and qualifications of some of the first-time ULP candidates, and contrasted the fresh faces and ideas of his government with the candidates and policies of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP).
Prime Minister Gonsalves also highlighted the NDP’s embrace of foreign elements to assist them in their efforts to unseat the incumbent government, including British company Strategic Communications Laboratories and American dot-com millionaire Dave Copps. The Prime Minister admonished the NDP for their claims that democracy is under threat in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and questioned whether the opposition intended to “save” democracy or “sell” it to the highest foreign bidder.
Deputy Consul General Cyrill “Scorcher” Thomas and United Nations Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves also made brief remarks at the town hall meeting. A lengthy question and answer period followed the Prime Minister’s address.
On Sunday, the Prime Minister attended the annual gospel concert that is held in Brooklyn to benefit Vincentians who suffer from renal failure and other kidney ailments. In remarks to the audience, Prime Minister Gonsalves detailed the advancements being made by his government in the treatment of kidney ailments, including the construction of the medical diagnostic centre at Georgetown, which will include ten (10) dialysis machines.
Pastor Wendy Mitchell, the concert’s headline performer, invited Prime Minister Gonsalves to join her for a spirited dance and singing of some popular gospel songs.