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Fri 22nd Sep 2017

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Barbados poverty report 2017 vindicates Ivan O’Neal’s 15 year call for free high-quality education in SVG

The Barbados poverty report 2017, made public in September 2017, has revealed that poverty is on the increase in Barbados over the past 7 years. It went up from 15.1% of the population in 2010 to 17.5% of the population in 2017.

This report vindicates Macro-Economist Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal’s 15 year call for free high-quality education and his claim that tourism is turning SVG in to a graveyard.

Barbados has focused on tourism since 1952. Barbados has far better tourism infrastructure and beaches than SVG and has many more tourists, and yet poverty is increasing. If Barbados cannot achieve a prosperous country after 65 years of focusing on tourism, it is clear that SVG cannot.

Annually, Barbados welcomes about 1 million visitors and is number one for visitor spend per capita in the region. Its tourism industry generates over 50% of the country’s foreign exchange. And yet poverty in Barbados is increasing.

Barbados is the number one destination in the region for visitors from the UK. In 2014, Barbados had 519,601 long stay visitors and 557,898 cruise passengers. And yet poverty in Barbados is increasing.

Tourism is not the answer for the SVG weak economy. Tourism has failed to create a strong economy and bring prosperity to all in Barbados even after 65 years.

Gonsalves’ focus on tourism as the engine of the SVG economy is killing our country. The SVG economy is very weak and money is not circulating our country. This focus on tourism as the engine of the SVG economy has caused a substantial rise in poverty, unemployment and crime in SVG.

The Barbados poverty report 2017 also revealed that those living in non-extreme poverty more than tripled from 3.8 per cent to 13.8 per cent. More women are trapped below the poverty line and more women were also counted among the extreme poor than men (4.15% compared to 2.4%).

The report says that education is seen as one way out of this vicious cycle.

Singapore is seen as a World Bank economic success story. After independence in 1965, Singapore’s economic development was focused, not on tourism, but on high-quality education and skills training.

Singapore invested up to 50% of its expenditure each year on pre-schools, schools and universities, and made education totally free from pre-school to university for all of Singapore’s children. Singapore created a knowledge-based economy and today has one of the highest standards of living in the world.

Singapore has the highest percentage of millionaire households as a share of a country's total households at 15.5%; Singapore is ranked as the most attractive country for foreign investors in the Asia-Pacific region and attracts 52% of foreign investment in its region; Singapore topped the charts for highest GDP per capita in 2010 at close to EC$152,636; Singapore has a GDP of EC$810 billion; Singapore has a very low unemployment rate of 1.9%; and, more than 70% of Singapore resident non-students aged 25-34 have a university education.

In contrast, the incompetent Gonsalves invests only about 0.79% of expenditure (EC$7.7 million) on education in 2017, bases the economy on tourism and boasts about having a great hunger programme in SVG schools.

The result is an explosion in crime, poverty and unemployment, businesses closing down due to lack of sales and a very weak economy.

According to Macro-Economist Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal BSc (hons), MSc, MBA, the focus by Gonsalves on tourism – even with a new airport at Argyle – is turning our country in to a graveyard with ‘rivers of blood’.

SVG has a choice: either we adopt the Singapore economic development model and invest heavily in free high-quality education from pre-school to university and create a knowledge-based economy, or we just wallow in ‘rivers of blood’ by foolishly continuing with the failed 65 year tourism model of economic development, which has changed the Caribbean from paradise to bloody violent countries.

Tourism creates little revenue for a country’s economy. Look around the whole Caribbean, they all focus on tourism and they are all heavily in debt with high levels of crime, unemployment and poverty.

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