Fri 29th Jul 2011

ULP festering economic boil set to burst

SVG's economy is in a vacuum: it's not prospering, there's no job creation and there's no money circulating in the country, especially in rural areas. The pressure on poorer families is immense as they struggle to survive, pay the bills and feed their children.

This pressure manifests itself around the country as tension and frustration, and ultimately seems to show itself as the gross violence and criminality we see throughout SVG. There are so many stories of people chopping people to death or seriously injuring people with a cutlass. It's a dreadful consequence of a weak economy and pressure.

SVG's finances are in a terrible mess and have got rapidly worse under the incompetent Gonsalves since 2001. He has been a big disappointment and a failure.

Unable to create revenue, the ULP regime's strategy is to make links with as many countries as possible and to beg from them all. They have no shame as they wander around the world begging and disgracing the character of our beloved country. Through the ULP regime's actions SVG is most probably seen as a country that will 'prostitute' itself in any way for an easy dollar.

The Director of Audit has consistently warned Gonsalves about SVG's desperate finances, but Gonsalves consistently fails to heed the advice of the Director of Audit. Consequently, the economy is very weak and life for many in SVG is tough. It seems as if Gonsalves is happy to mash up the country and let people go deeper in to poverty, as long as he can cling on to power.

As the economic apartheid continues in SVG, it is the rich who live the good life, while the poor and our children are being squeezed. In the 2008 Budget Estimates, $53 million was budgeted for education, but in 2011, this amount had been severely cut to only $33 million.

The millions of dollars of tax and customs duty exemptions given to Mustique Company and Canouan Resorts continue, meanwhile our children get a kick in the teeth with $20 million being cut from their education. While the rich in Mustique and Canouan enjoy honey and wine, we get the worst CEE results in history.

There is an urgent need for a review of these unfair exemptions. The people should decide by referendum whether the rich of Mustique and Canouan should still receive such grossly immoral tax and customs exemptions. Gonsalves - set a date for the referendum!

Times are quite worrying in SVG. With no money in the pockets of the poor and unemployment on the rise, the future for SVG under Gonsalves looks desperate. Gonsalves' 2011 Budget Estimates already have a $296 million fiscal deficit.

The ULP have an economy based on agriculture and tourism, but agriculture brings in little and tourism even less. It's a terrible financial mess and the ULP's festering economic boil is set to burst with unpredictable consequences.

To boost the SVG economy and ensure social stability, SVG must go Green. We have to change direction, adopt a Green economy and properly utilise our indigenous resources to build productive sectors. We must create new jobs and revenue and bring prosperity to all, not a few.

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