Fri 5th Aug 2011

When gas prices go up, trees come down!

Gonsalves's incompetence puts another nail in the coffin of the poor.

Poor families will experience more severe hardship for the foreseeable future whilst Gonsalves remains in power. Not content with punishing people with school fees, 15 % VAT, high electricity and water prices, a 51 % fuel surcharge on electricity, high food prices and no jobs being created, Gonsalves continues his slow crushing of the poor with a rise in cooking gas prices.

We must take our hats off to our Cuban brothers and sisters. Cuba signed on to Petro-Caribe with fixed rates for oil and gas prices. This gives Cuba substantial protection against the turbulence of price swings and high oil and gas prices. Others - commonly known as fools - signed on to Petro-Caribe with variable rates for oil and gas prices. Gonsalves agreed variable rates and this puts a devastating financial burden on our people at the pumps and with the family cooking gas.

Experience in Haiti shows that, when a PM is incompetent and financially na've, the result can be catastrophic. When poverty takes hold and cooking gas become unaffordable, the poor are forced to chop down the rain forest as a source of fuel for cooking.

Haiti has less than 1.5% of its forests remaining. Without trees on the hills, the soil has lost most of its water-holding capacity leading to flash floods, frequent mudslides, the loss of fertile farmland soils and desertification. In Haiti, in May 2004, flooding killed over 3,000 people and in September 2004, tropical storm Jeanne caused mudslides killing over 3,000 people.

In Haiti, the deforestation is so critical that Haitians have taken to "baking" mud cookies out of dirt, salt and vegetable oil. The mortality rate for children under five is more than double the regional average and life expectancy is severely reduced. We do not want this in SVG.

Haiti's poverty is so rampant that poor people cut down trees and use the wood as firewood or turn it into charcoal, which they then sell for food. The price of gas needs to be lowered so people in SVG don't cut down trees for fuel or charcoal. The high food and fuel prices could cause social unrest in SVG.

Arial photographs taken of the severe flooding in Congo Valley, Morn Garu Mountain and Locust Valley Mountain in 2011, have revealed beyond doubt that induced poverty is causing deforestation. This negative impact will destroy the living environment of the people, and hence, threaten the lives of people.

SVG urgently needs a competent minister of finance to avoid long-term environmental damage and social unrest in SVG. It is hard to believe that the poor can cope with so much pressure much longer before things erupt.

The cost of living in SVG is running out of control like wild fire. Meanwhile, the rich of Mustique do not pay a fuel surcharge nor VAT and get tax and customs exemptions. It is only a matter of time before this immorality and shameful behaviour comes to an end.

A Green government will bring in renewable energy, so electricity becomes virtually free and take SVG out of the punishing Petro-Caribe agreement.

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