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Last updated: 05 December, 2005 - Published 22:08 GMT
 
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Vincentian elections a tough fight
 

 
 
The two major parties, the opposition New Democratic Party and the incumbent Unity Labour Party are taking no prisoners as they vie for the 15 parliamentary seats which are up for grabs on Wednesday.

In the absence of independent opinion polls, both sides are predicting victory.

The ruling party says it is going to win 14-1; the opposition is little more modest predicting an 11-4 sweep.

If you step back from the flag waving, dancing and sloganeering, the NDP is saying that the ruling party is in the process of destroying the economy.

Opposition leader Arnhim Eustace, who was prime minister five months prior to the last election in 2001, is talking about declines in agriculture, tourism and pouring water on the government's prize "revolution" in education.

On international and regional issues, the NDP is concerned about the government's coziness with president Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Fidel Castro of Cuba, possibly at the expense of the United States and Caribbean countries such as Trinidad and Tobago.

Stagnation

The NDP is proposing a knowledge-based economy, a tax free agricultural sector, a ministry for the private sector, the development of rural communities and increasing incentives to encourage private sector investment:

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says economic growth has averaged 4
percent compared with the stagnation his party found when it came into office.

The ULP's manifesto says the government has completed 50 major projects since coming to office and has another 77 unfinished.

And the party is warning voters not to allow an NDP government to roll
back the advance.

Dr. Gonsalves says that if Vincentians want five star hotels, a new airport, relatively inexpensive cooking gas and petrol through a deal with Venezuela; then they have to vote for the ULP.

 
 
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