Fri 9th Jul 2010

Should PM Gonsalves be asked to step aside and stay at home on leave for his incomprehensibly poor management of SVG's finance?

In 2002, Ralph Gonsalves, as Minister of Finance, passed the Mustique Company Act 2002, giving Mustique Island freeport status with outrageous and immoral customs duties and tax exemptions. With this Act, Mustique Company and its 13 subsidiary companies, are allowed to operate in SVG without paying customs duties and other taxes.

Green Party research has revealed that the freeport status is a bed of roses for the rich on Mustique Island, to the extent that Mustique company and its subsidiaries, cream off about $20 million in net income annually. This is totally unfair to the poor in SVG, because in comparison, many poor people are having their drinking water supply and electricity cut off for lack of payment.

SVG is broke. A primary school in Canouan was closed for lack of drinking water. The water infrastructure in SVG is dilapidated, so much so that two weeks' of dry weather results in drinking water cuts to thousands of homes.

The constitutionally appointed Director of Audit, the nation's watch dog on government finance, has revealed in 2007 that SVG's Minister of Finance, spent $63 million and carried this large sum of money over to the next financial year for approval and payment.

The Minister of Finance is a joking about. He spends large sums of money in one financial year and then takes it over to the next financial year for approval and payment. This is like a family going to the supermarket and taking hundreds of dollars of food and telling the supermarket owner that they will pay next year. The family would be sent to jail.

The Director of Audit has also revealed that the Minister of Finance is trying to fool the people by showing the government current account was in surplus in 2005, 2006 and 2007, when in fact the government current account was in deficit by $43 million for the three years.

During these 3 years, Mustique company would have creamed of $60 million in net income without paying customs duties and taxes. This is unfair to civil society. Ralph Gonsalves is not a university graduate in finance. Ignorance is not a defence in law. Had Gonsalves been treasury secretary in the USA or chancellor of the exchequer in the UK, he would probably have been impeached for gross incompetence in managing SVG's finance.

It is morally wrong for Gonsalves to give Mustique Island freeport status, while the rest of SVG is having to pay large sums in customs duties and other taxes such at 15% VAT. The ease with which Mustique company was given freeport status is quite worrying and highly suspect.

Ralph Gonsalves is a servant of the people. Ralph should stay at home on leave for his incomprehensibly poor management of SVG's finance. SVG's finance is an absolute mess and going from bad to worse by the day. Ralph has a moral duty to step aside for the best interest of our beloved country.

A third term for the incompetent ULP regime will result in more financial disaster for SVG. A Green Party government will abolish Mustique Company Act 2002 and reclaim Mustique Island for the legitimate owners, the people of SVG.

Vote Green for prosperity, new jobs and wealth creation.

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