Articles

Fri 9th Apr 2010

Vincentians, get out of St. Vincent!

This seems to be the message from the ULP leadership to Vincentians. Slowly, but surely, Vincentians are being forced out of SVG. Rather than use SVG's best resource, a fish industry, the incompetent ULP are selling-off bits of our country and giving it to foreigners and turning SVG in to a playground for rich tourists.

We see incidences of Vincentians being forced off their land and not being properly compensated, and the land be used for tourist facilities. At Argyle, we saw Vincentians forced from their homes to make way for an airport for tourists. Many Vincentians are unemployed or on very low wages and so will never be able to afford the thousands of dollars for plane tickets.

We see at Buccament Bay an outrageous case of Vincentians being forced off their land and then Vincentians being excluded from Buccament Bay. They are excluded by virtue of their poverty. The prices of the villas at Buccament Bay are beyond that of most Vincentians, with some costing over EC$5 million dollars. (See http://www.harlequinproperty.co.uk/download/priceguides.php). By virtue of this pricing, the owners of Buccament Bay seem to be metaphorically sticking two fingers up to Vincentians, saying 'keep out'!

Of course, there will be some Vincentians there - cleaning the floors, making the beds, serving the food and doing other insecure, short-term, menial, low-pay jobs. It should be a policy that 50% of these villas are given free to Vincentians to help ease the poverty in SVG. Many young people and families need homes.

What is happening though is that St. Vincent is getting smaller as the population of Vincentians gets bigger. SVG gets smaller as more land is sold for tourist facilities - Buccament, Mustique, Mount Twin, Raffles in Canouan and Palm Island! We are gradually losing our space.

Is your house safe? Is your land safe? If it's in the way of tourism development for the ULP's rich buddies and tourist friends, then it isn't. Remember the Argyle residents forced out of their home? They were in the ULP's way; they were moved!

No, at some point they will start deporting people. Just as Garifuna and Caribs were deported in the 1700s and 1800s, so we may see the same again as land becomes scarce. Many Garifuna live in Livingstone, Guatemala and Roatan, Honduras. A member of SVG Green Party has been there; their living conditions are fairly squalid.

Vincentians, Buccament and mass tourism are bad for SVG. Statistics from Caribbean countries show that the greater the dependency on tourism, the greater is a country's national debt. Also, 6 out of the 10 most indebted countries in the world are found in the Caribbean - their economies driven by tourism.

Bear in mind, that tourists generally use 9 times as much water and electricity as locals. Given our water shortages and electricity supply problems, you have to ask yourself whether you want to live thirsty and in the dark!

And, if we lose more prime agricultural land (Buccament Bay) to tourist hotels, in this new era of climate change and droughts, we are going to be hungry too. Agricultural lands are needed to grow food, to guarantee food security for us and future generations of Vincentians.

Why should Vincentians be forced to live in squalor on top of each other, while the ULP's rich tourist buddies live like kings? The new colonialists are taking over our lands.

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