Fri 21st Jul 2017

Gonsalves must apologise to the people and resign

Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal BSc(hons), MSc, MBA, Leader of SVG Green Party, strongly believes that the economy in SVG is virtually dead, and that, Gonsalves’ financial and economic policies will not bring life to the dead SVG economy.

Gonsalves should apologise to the people of SVG for the economic disaster that is the result of his 16 years of gross incompetence and poor mismanagement of the SVG Public Accounts. The SVG economy is on a life support system, being kept alive by high taxes and loans.

The economic situation in SVG is very serious and we risk turning in to a Haiti or Venezuela-type situation of social breakdown.

The 1979 Constitutionally-appointed Director of Audit of Public Accounts cautioned Gonsalves in the 2007 Audit Report, for the overspending of $63 million of public money without the prior approval of the SVG House of Assembly.

The Director of Audit also warned Gonsalves of the serious financial danger of spending public money without the constitutional oversight of the Public Accounts Committee, as mandated by section 75 (2) of the SVG constitution.

The Finance Act No.1 of 1964 makes provision for the issue of public funds to cover unforeseen expenditure not exceeding $7.5 million. However, during the fiscal year of 2007, one hundred and thirty–nine (139) Special Warrants totalling $63,082,458.06 were issued. The amount represents 10% of the original budget of $630 million.

None of the Special Warrants approved in 2007 were submitted as Supplementary Estimates for the approval of the House of Assembly during 2007. This illustrates the recklessness in Gonsalves’ management of public funds.

Gonsalves has shown, by his miserable track record between 2001 and 2017, that he does not have the competence to move the SVG economy forward. His gross incompetence in the management of the public accounts has led to SVG being in a serious financial crisis.

There’s virtually no money circulating in the economy. All around the country there is dilapidation and destitution. Our people are suffering unbearable high rates of poverty and unemployment. The almost dead economy is stoking crime and murders at random in the country. In 2016, there were about 44 murders and people no longer feel safe in their living environment.

The safe and responsible way to manage SVG’s public funds and other resources is to invest in projects that bring financial returns and then use the financial returns from these projects to modernise infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, factories and roads. This way, thousands of long-term jobs are created and the economy is strong and stable.

A Green Government would invest wisely and build projects that bring sustainable financial returns and surplus revenue. Then, with the continual surplus revenue, a Green government would invest in the infrastructure that our country so badly needs.

A Green government would modernise the SVG economy to be an export-driven economy. SVG can only increase revenue and create thousands of new jobs by exporting new products such as canned fish, bulk tankers of fresh water and agro-products like tea, juices and baby food. It is crucial that SVG creates new productive economic sectors and builds factories.

Gonsalves should apologise and resign for his financial and economic failures, so that our country can move forward.

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