The Gleaner: KINGSTOWN, St Vincent – Opposition Leader Godwin Friday said the raiding of homes points to a very serious moment in the country.

The main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) is claiming harassment and intimidation after the police late Saturday, raided the homes of several opposition supporters.

It follows Thursday’s mass protest during which Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves was injured. 

Speaking during a press conference on Saturday night, Opposition Leader Godwin Friday said the raiding of homes points to a very serious moment in the country.

“What happened today signals a very dangerous course on which the police and the ULP (United Labour Party) have embarked. What started with ten persons may be more and is nothing more than an attempt to suppress democracy in this country,” Friday said. 

“Democracy is not a giant conifer, a big mango tree, but a gentle flower that those with big heavy boots are waiting to stamp upon and crush beneath their feet. And when that is done, all of us suffer,” he warned.

Friday said that people must stand up for what is just and right and when forces are arrayed against the people, that is the time for them to stand their ground.

He said that what he had warned about on the streets and in other speeches is now “real, actual” in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

He called on citizens to open their ears, hearts, and minds and be willing to do what is just and proper to defend the principles that they were on the street defending on Thursday.

“Our country depends on it,” Friday said.

Friday told reporters that news of the raids came when heavily armed Black Squad officers arrived at the home of the general secretary of the NDP,  Tyrone James. 

It’s reported that James – a retired commandant of the Coast Guard – was not at home at the time, and the police subsequently returned.

Throughout the afternoon, there were raids on the homes of at least 10 people, Friday told the press conference.