Fri 9th Sep 2011
No country in the world can survive without a sustainable foundation of income. In Gonsalves' ten years of office, he has failed to create one source of sustainable revenue for the country. His strategy has been a massive failure causing much pain and suffering for our people.
Aside from begging and borrowing, Gonsalves' strategy has been dead projects. He has wasted taxpayers' money on projects that do not produce any revenue for the country. This approach lacks common sense and shows Gonsalves' ignorance of economics and poor understanding of the SVG economy.
Money has been wastefully spent building Belle Isle jail, several new police stations, fifteen useless resource centres, a centre of excellence and more seriously, the muddy wasteland at Argyle. None of these projects are a priority for SVG and none of them are creating revenue for the country. These projects are dead projects, because there is no return on the money that has been spent.
Gonsalves has been throwing hundreds of millions of dollars in to the wind. This ludicrous strategy has made SVG's economy dangerously weak and pushed many families further in to poverty. He has travelled hundreds of thousands of miles around the world at taxpayers' expense, but still SVG has no sustainable income.
The alternative to Gonsalves' dead projects model is productive sectors fully utilising our indigenous resources. We need factories that will create jobs and revenue. SVG could be producing herbal teas, fruit juices and other agricultural products.
SVG has a licence to fish tuna in the Atlantic Ocean. We should use this licence to create a fishing industry and a modern fish processing plant. The returns from fishing and fish processing will far outweigh that of tourism.
Focusing on tourism is a dead-end strategy. With the high price of oil and a global economic downturn, tourism is in decline. It would be reckless to continue on this mass tourism path.
The big question everyone is asking is can the people of SVG survive with an economy not based upon revenue creation. It is highly unlikely. Unemployment is high, the cost of living is high, there's no rise in the minimum wage and household bills are high. Gonsalves' dead projects have left the SVG economy heavily burdened with fiscal deficit and no economic growth. SVG is going backwards.
The coconut plant in Congo Valley and the dasheen plant in Lauders are more examples of the ULP regime wasting taxpayers' money. They spent millions on these two plants which are idle and become homes for cockroaches. They are dead projects that have never brought any money into the country nor created long-term jobs. They do not produce a return on the money spent.
SVG Green Party strongly believes that we have no choice but to change direction. We must stop the focus on dead projects - including the argyle airport project - and instead invest money in projects that create an income for the country. We need productive sectors that create mass employment and put money in to our people's pockets.
A Green government will stimulate growth in revenue and create jobs. We will sensibly invest in projects that produce income for the country and have a high yield.