Articles

Sun 1st Jan 2006

21st Century vision

SVG GREEN PARTY - 21st CENTURY VISION Ivan O'Neal and others have formed 'SVG Green Party' to contest the next general election in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). The electoral office has approved the Telephone as the symbol for SVG Green Party to be used at the next general election and beyond.

The economy. We in SVG Green Party are concerned at the likely collapse of the SVG economy. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and National Debt are running neck and neck. The implication of this, is that the government will have difficulty in national debt servicing. Coupled with this, current expenditure is at $379 million, ahead of current revenue which is $342 million. This deficit of $37 million means the government is unable to pay for current expenditure. They are spending more than what they have coming in from tax and non tax revenues. It is clear that the SVG economy is under the management of a weak team, bankrupt of ideas and innovation to create wealth and sustainable jobs for our youth. The government has lost the public's confidence in their ability to ably manage the economy. They are digging a hole to fill a hole, that is to say, they are borrowing money to pay debts.

SVG Green Party strongly believes that in order to successfully manage the affairs of SVG, we must first successfully manage the economy. When elected, as part of SVG Green Party's policy to positively stimulate the economy, we will use the Atlantic Ocean deep-sea fishing industry, the tourism industry and build a university education industry, thus increasing exports and significantly reducing the present high capital expenditure on non-tradables.

50% electricity price cut. The astronomical high-price of electricity is causing great hardship to low-income families. It also chokes-off the poor's ability to save. The Government has taken no steps to end this plague of high-priced electricity on the poor.

SVG Green Party will focus on alternative sources of energy to oil, such as, wind, water and solar. It will abolish VINLEC's electricity monopoly and fuel surcharge, set up a National Grid to sell electricity and reduce the price of electricity by 50 per cent over five years. All producers of electricity will be contracted to sell to the national grid and the grid will sell to the nation.

Cancel increase tax on kerosene or resign. This government claims to be a champion of the causes of the poor. Three years and ten months in office and they have messed up the economy. They are desperate for money and they have added more tax on kerosene. Kerosene is the poor man's vehicle - they use it for lighting and cooking. To tax it is wicked - doesn't the government want poor people to eat! They should cancel the increase or resign. In office, SVG Green Party will cancel 'all tax' on kerosene and relieve this burden from the poor.

Atlantic Ocean fishing. Deep-sea fishing in the Atlantic Ocean offers the greatest opportunity to bring in the revenue needed to properly revolutionise the economy. The NDP and ULP regimes seem oblivious to this very important source of revenue. The potential revenue from the fish industry is projected to be over $1 billion annually, significantly out-stripping the combined revenue earned from tourism and bananas. SVG

Green Party will cancel all fish licences given to 'flag of convenience' foreign vessels, and replace these licences with joint-venture agreements. Under the SVG Green Party government, all deep-sea fishing ships would have a fifty per cent Vincentian crew and there will be the potential of transfer technology in deep-sea fishing techniques. More importantly, half the revenue earned by each ship will come to the SVG treasury. This has been a missed opportunity under the NDP and ULP to earn billions of dollars to stimulate the economy.

The betrayal of education to the poor. The ULP regime's strategy of universal secondary education, without proper primary education, will fail to eradicate illiteracy, and hence poverty. Whilst teachers do their best, 55 per cent of the children in SVG do not receive the full complement of primary education. Universal secondary education is a 'fix after' policy, because many children of the poor do not get to secondary school, and often the ones that do are not skilled enough to cope well in secondary education or to get the maximum benefits from it.

The core problem with education in SVG is in primary education, in that, the children of the poor miss out in primary school education mainly for economic reasons. The ULP have stated that they do not have the money to fund compulsory education at the primary school level, because they say 'most of the children who do not attend primary school are children of the poor'.

Research shows that the early years of education are crucial to the long-term development of a child. In office SVG Green party will provide free preschool education, free school meals, uniforms and textbooks for all, thus making it easier for children of poor families to go school. Education is a universal right -we shouldn't fail the children of the poor any longer!

No to Taiwan. Taiwan and SVG's 22 years relationship has shown no significant benefit to the overall development of our country. Taiwan gets more from us than we get from Taiwan. In government, SVG Green Party will cut ties with Taiwan and create ties with mainland China. SVG will be better-off financially and economically forming relations with China and there is a much larger potential market. All Caribbean countries that have cut ties with Taiwan and created ties with China, have received far greater support from China than we have ever received from Taiwan. The NDP and ULP are unable to cut ties with Taiwan for reasons given above.

According to the CIA World fact book, 'Taiwan's trade surplus is substantial, its foreign reserves are the world third largest at US$ 207 billion". Our government says that the relationship with Taiwan is like a marriage. If that's the case let Taiwan gives us half of the money they have "creamed-off' from deep-sea fishing under SVG licences since 1987.

Taxing the poor to let off the rich. The ULP government has recently increased tax on diesel, gasoline and kerosene, and have not collected billions of dollars of corporation tax from the ships / companies deep-sea fishing in the Atlantic Ocean under SVG's 'flag of convenience' licence. SVG Green Party would ensure that this corporation tax is collected.

Our 21st century vision SVG Green Party's policies are based on the need for long-term food, economic and social security of our country and environmental sustainability. We aim to encourage the development of an inclusive, safe society for all, eradicate illiteracy and poverty, empower the vulnerable, improve the health of the nation, create a fully employable workforce and reduce unemployment to single figures. We need to leave behind last century's politics of short-term party policies, created mainly to get people re-elected, but which are detrimental to our economy and society. We need to leave behind 'party jobs', where people are given jobs based on who they voted for. We need a society in which people gain jobs based on ability and are free to vote for the party of their choice without fear of losing their job. SVG Green Party aims to bring SVG's economy and society in to the 21st century with policies that are exciting, achievable, realistic, but also necessary to achieve a thriving, sustainable, democratic society.

Copyright of Ivan O'Neal BSc (Hons), MSc, MBA.

The Environment

Our environment is extremely precious to us and needs to be respected and treated with care. The protection and preservation of our physical environment is critical to our survival and lifestyle. It is necessary that we look after our ecosystem and biodiversity. We need to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions as a country and actively participate in the global struggle against climate change.

The extent of air pollution in Kingstown is unacceptable. The SVG Green Party will install air pollution monitors in the capital, to measure high and low periods and extent of air pollution. The SVG Green Party will use the findings to create policies to provide Kingstown's residents, workers and visitors with better, good-quality air at acceptable levels as agreed by the World Health Organisation.

Protection and preservation

The protection and preservation of the watershed is paramount to long-term health of the environment, our people and our future generations. SVG Green Party will take the ULP regime to the High Court when the ULP publicly announces the route for construction of the middle-section of the cross country road development. In government, the SVG Green Party will strengthen laws to protect and preserve the nation's environment. We will cancel the cross country road project when in government. We will

1.introduce anti-litter, clean air and noise pollution legislation
2. Strengthen the protection and preservation of our heritage sites
3. Put a tax on environmentally damaging activities
4. Designate parts of the country protected areas
5. Undertake an extensive reforestation program to stop landslides like Haiti and reduce soil erosion
6. Make Environmental impact assessments a feature of all future development projects, and not let building start until we have gone through the whole appeal process.

Recycling and waste

We cannot afford to keep on dumping so much of our waste in landfill sites. There will be leaching and pollution of water courses and we will run out of sites to bury the rubbish. Much of our waste can be recycled and we should start doing so immediately. We will

1. Revise the disposal of white goods so they are not buried
2. Say no to any incineration of rubbish for health reasons
3. Start a door to door collection of recyclable waste such as paper, glass, tins, batteries
4. Encourage more composting,

Marine environment

Put into place maintenance of beaches and coastal waters through national community clean up and undertake clean up campaigns. We will strengthen legislation and enforce measures to control illegal mining of sand from our beaches, polluting at sea and other areas which result in damage and pollution to the coastline. We will mobilise a public campaign to stop further pollution of the marine environment.

Disaster response and relief

SVG Green Party would implement a pro-active stance, that is to say, we will carry out annual live exercises to simulate our response in dealing effectively with air, land and sea disasters.

We will produce fliers about what to do and not do in an emergency and include a list of emergency phone numbers.

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