Fri 19th Feb 2010

The collapse of Greece's tourism economy - a warning for SVG

For over 50 years, Greece's economy has been driven by tourism. However, last week the Greek economy suffered a major collapse.

The government has angered Greek trade unions by freezing public sector salaries and raising the retirement age. Perhaps this is the future for SVG too?

Greece has announced major cuts in public sector jobs. For years Greece's spending has ballooned while tax revenue has diminished. Sound familiar! A public sector strike last week brought many services to a standstill in Greece.

This is a warning to the ULP 'dreaming team' that they should wake up. The Argyle airport should be cancelled and SVG must embark on a course for a strong Green economy. The ULP regime is tearing up our beautiful country in the hope of a few tourist dollars. Madness!

After all these years focused on tourism, Greece's debt is about $419bn; that's about $3.8 million for every Vincentian. Can you afford that? The Greek government has increased taxes (have you heard that before somewhere - VAT) on many items such as fuel, alcohol and property. There are now nearly 532,000 unemployed people in Greece, after an economy based on tourism.

The global markets remain sceptical that Greece will be able to pay its debts and many investors believe the country will have to be bailed out.

Like SVG, Greece exports far less than it imports. Greece exports 12.5 billion dollars of goods, but imports around 28 billion dollars. Bad economics! Also, for many years Greece has been receiving huge amounts of economic aid from the EU - more than 5.5 billion dollars. Its tourism economy was not good enough.

The Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou, has warned his country that it faces drastic spending cuts and higher taxes, to stop its economy "going over the cliff". We must not let the ULP 'dreaming team' push our economy over a cliff.

Soon after Greece's recent general election, George Papaconstantinou, Greece's new Finance Minister, said that the previous Government had underestimated the budget deficit. Hmmm, could that happen in SVG?

George Papandreou, the Prime Minister, said last month that Greece was plagued by tax evasion and was operating a 'parasite economy', draining the public purse!!!!!!!!

Vincentians, we must look to the future and build a strong economy to create jobs. SVG can learn from Greece's mistakes. An economy based on tourism does not work. We must vote out and get rid of the ULP 'dreaming team' at the next general election, so that our economy can be set on a path to create peace and prosperity for all. We must cancel the Argyle airport and mass tourism, because, under the incompetent ULP, our economy is near the cliff's edge.

A Green government will put Vincentians first, not tourists. Our people deserve to be put first. A Green economy is needed in SVG, because so many people are suffering. Poverty is too high, crime is too high and the number of jobs is too low. SVG must switch capital expenditure to agriculture and new Green industries.

Vote for a better future - vote Green.

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