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Fri 15th Jul 2016

Should Gonsalves be put on trial for selling Crown Lands in Canouan?

The land equation in Canouan is clear: white men are blocking indigenous black Vincentians from access to Crown Lands - which are owned by the people - in Canouan.

On Monday 11 July 2016, Ralph Gonsalves announced on SVGBC TV another round of selling crown lands in Canouan to rich, white foreigners. However, there is no economic justification to sell the crown lands.

Our economy is being choked of revenue, because the Mustique Act No. 48 of 2002 grants super-rich, white foreigners in Mustique and Canouan hundreds of millions of dollars in tax and customs duty exemptions. If this revenue was collected by the ULP government, there would be no need to sell off our crown lands to foreigners.

The same money that the super-rich, white foreigners in Mustique and Canouan should pay in tax and customs duty is being used to buy our crown lands. We are losing thousands of acres of our lands, because of the stupidity and incompetence of Ralph Gonsalves.

Taxing the super-rich will bring the revenue our country needs. There is no need to sell off crown lands.

It seems that Gonsalves is intentionally running the economy with deficits and using that as an excuse to sell off crown lands. The crown lands are owned by the people of SVG. They should be preserved and saved for our children and grandchildren. However, gradually, all our lands are being taken over by super-rich, white foreigners.

Also, the SVG Fish Act 2001, should be updated so that our government collects tax from the Taiwanese tuna-fishing vessels that use the SVG national flag. This would bring billions of dollars of revenue for the SVG Treasury.

Not collecting this tax is choking the SVG economy. If the SVG government collected the billions of dollars of revenue in tax, there would be no need to sell off crown lands to get revenue. Selling off crown lands is stupid and unnecessary.

Gonsalves is not a university graduate in Accounting and Finance and is incompetent. Gonsalves failed the SVG 1979 constitutionally-appointed Director of Audit’s audit of Public Accounts for 2008, 2009 and 2010. Gonsalves cannot use financial justifications and the weak economy as an excuse to sell crown lands in Canouan.

Gonsalves is incompetent. He killed the National Commercial Bank in 2008 with a massive bank overdraft of EC$185 million and has mismanaged the SVG economy from 2005 to 2016 with massive fiscal deficits.

The super-rich, white foreigners in Mustique and Canouan are in an unfair win/win situation: they do not pay tax and customs duty, and the money they should have paid in tax and customs duty, is being used to buy more crown lands. They become multi-millionaires, while the poor masses of Vincentians must pay tax and customs duty and become much poorer by the day.

It is conservatively estimated SVG is not collecting about EC$1.8 billion annually from the super-rich in Mustique and Canouan and from fish tax from Taiwan.

The sale of crown lands and the alleged sale of Mustique to white foreigners will have to be reversed under a future government of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

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