Articles

Fri 24th Apr 2009

ULP weak economy stoking child abuse in SVG?

The victims of the economic downturn are often very small, evidenced by the incidence of child abuse. Many cases bear the imprint of economic troubles. It is alarming the high level of abuse. Stressors such as homelessness, the inability to pay utility bills, job losses and unemployment can often lead to the abuse and neglect of children. We have to define our priorities or we may see more awful tragedies. Priorities must be about the children.

The socially conscious SVG Green Party has on a number of occasions explained to the incompetent leadership of the ULP the implications of using tourism as the engine of the SVG economy. Tourism cannot sustain economic development in our country. A Green economy driven by science, technology and new industries, creating new jobs and revenue, is the solution to our problem of a weak economy.

The table below of reported cases of child abuse in SVG shows that the weak ULP economy is stoking this social ill in our society. The situation is quite alarming with 3,192 reported cases of child abuse between 2001 and 2008 under the ULP regime.

Forms of abuse

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Sexual abuse:

23

51

22

33

34

36

47

40

Physical abuse:

26

55

46

46

65

73

41

30

Neglect:

51

112

51

40

83

50

58

78

Abandonment:

29

22

31

62

76

48

36

37

Non maintained:

261

258

260

227

251

129

104

170

Source: SVG Social statistics

At the fifth summit of the Americas in T&T, 17 to 19 April 2009, the PM of Belize said Caribbean tourism has been almost paralysed as a consequence of the global economic crisis, suffering a two thirds drop. SVG Green Party said in 2005 that SVG should focus capital expenditure on tradables. The Prime Minister of Belize is recommending to his colleagues that capital expenditure must be focused on tradables too.

Since 2001, PM Gonsalves has taken the SVG economy in the wrong direction and spent millions of dollars of capital expenditure on non tradables, such as roads, a prison, a misfit international airport project and a cricket stadium.

SVG Green Party hopes PM Gonsalves will listen to the Prime Minister of Belize and change the direction of capital expenditure from non tradables to tradable projects. Failing that, SVG will witness a catastrophic deterioration in the SVG economy which will further impact negatively on child abuse in SVG affecting so many innocent children. We cannot afford so many young people's lives to be traumatised?

As a consequence of mismanaging SVG's economy with capital expenditure on non tradables, the ULP regime has a one hundred million dollars bank overdraft at NCB, a forty million loan from NIS and been selling hundreds of acres of crown lands to prevent total SVG economic collapse. These instruments of keeping the economy afloat are not sustainable - it is a fool's paradise.

SVG Green Party is reiterating a serious warning to the ULP leadership that the use of tourism as the engine of the SVG economy will not only stoke child abuse, but unemployment and poverty. The situation has the potential to become explosive.

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