Fri 12th May 2006
It is interesting to read of recent government initiatives, such as organic farming (The News, May 5) and bio-diesel (Searchlight, May 5). It is interesting in the sense that Mr Gonsalves seems to be reading the SVG Green Party manifesto for ways to secure SVG's long-term economic and social security. Page 10 of the SVG Green Party manifesto calls for organic farming, and both pages 11 and 35 refer to alternative sources of energy other than oil. SVG Green Party recommended hemp, as there are concerns about jethropa taking too long to deliver and it is not as versatile as hemp.
While a turn to organic farming and alternative sources of energy is welcome, it needs to be done properly. Selecting a few bits of this manifesto is not a coherent way forward. A bit of joined-up thinking is necessary to really get the economy going again, which is why this manifesto was put together as a synergistic, strategic plan for SVG's economy. For example, hemp can be used for fuel oil, animal feed, biomass to create electricity and as textile to produce clothing.
After five years of the ULP in office our economy is still very weak - unemployment is high and a large section of the population is very poor. These facts show that the ULP is weak and their ability to uplift the economy is sadly lacking. Electricity prices are high and the country suffers from water rationing - a cross country road making water scarcity a greater issue.
SVG needs a strong, vibrant private sector. The longer the ULP government delays the creation of a thriving private sector in the economy, the longer the economy will be sluggish. There needs to be a rapid expansion of small business and that needs a certain environment to happen. The government appears not to want or not be able to provide favourable conditions for small business start-ups. A couple of key factors are the eradication of the VINLEC monopoly on producing electricity and the reduction in internet prices. No small business can survive with insurmountable overheads! As with telecoms, we need more companies producing electricity and providing internet services - competition is needed to bring the price down for the consumer.
It's in the SVG Green Party manifesto - read it well Mr Gonsalves.