An opposition Member of Parliament in St. Vincent and the Grenadines claims that pervasive fear hovers over the multi-island state, stating that nationals at home and even in the Diaspora are suffering from what she describes as “phobophobia,” derived from the Greek phobos, or fear of fear.
Senator Kay Bacchus-Baptiste, a veteran Vincentian lawyer, told a town hall meeting of the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) in Brooklyn, New York Sunday night that “the undeniable legacy” of the Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves-led Unity Labor Party (ULP) administration in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is “fear,” or “phobophobia.”
“Many Vincentians have become crippled by this fear so much so that they have become apathetic, even immune to corruption,” said Bacchus-Baptiste, who was part of a four-member NDP delegation, led by Opposition Leader Dr. Goodwin Friday, which has been touring North America in apprising Vincentian nationals about the socio-economic and political status quo at home. Before coming to New York, the delegation visited Montreal and Toronto in Canada.
“The irony of it all is that many ULP supporters live in more fear than NDP supporters,” added the caretaker representative for the West St. George Constituency in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. “They fear loss of jobs or unmerited salaries, perks and gifts.
“What is absolutely more ironical is that Ralph Gonsalves himself has become a prisoner of this phobophobia by which he governs St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Bacchus-Baptiste continued. “Let’s face it, Ralph (Gonsalves) is tired, sick and out of ideas.
“He is ready to go home (demit the prime ministership), but he dares not until he sets up a puppet, who will protect him and ensure his total insulation from scrutiny and investigation into his tenure for the last 17 years,” she said. “So afraid is he of this that he is now saying he may run for a fifth term. How sad for him!”
Bacchus-Baptiste said, on three separate occasions, three unidentified parliamentarians, “past or present (because I must protect them),” came to her legal office in Kingstown, the Vincentian capital, “sat across me from my desk and lamented that they wanted to leave ULP and publicly support the NDP.
“But they feared they will end up dead like Edger Cruickshank,” she said, alluding to a former ULP stalwart-turned-NDP-supporter, from the South Leeward constituency, who was killed in that constituency when a driver rammed a vehicle through a gathering at an NDP public meeting.
The opposition parliamentarian said another reason for the fear that she claims pervades St. Vincent and Grenadines is the spate of murders and other serious crimes.
In February, 2018 Bacchus-Baptiste said “Geography and Travel” listed St. Vincent and the Grenadines as no. 15 of countries with the highest murder rates in the world; Venezuela ranked no. 2.
“Of about 200 countries in the world, 195 to be exact, our beloved St. Vincent and the Grenadines ranks no. 15,” she stressed. “This fear for our safety is so real that many people make it a policy to lock in as dust falls.
“But even in your home you are not safe, as Carlise Douglas (NDP supporter) can attest,” Bacchus-Baptiste added. “He was shot in his home by a stray bullet.”