Fri 8th Dec 2017

SVG ‘enclave tourism’ is modern day apartheid

Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, said “We cannot continue to build five-star hotels in three-star communities. Jobs and charity are not enough…”

Taleb Rifai’s words ring true for Canouan and Mustique. The exclusive enclaves in Canouan and Mustique are a modern day apartheid system. Foreigners and tourists reside in luxurious accommodation and live lavish lifestyles, often flying in to Canouan on private jet aircrafts.

Meanwhile, Vincentian locals in Canouan are forced to live in poverty and do the low-paid jobs of making up beds, serving in restaurants and cleaning up after foreigners and tourists. The contrast is stark and obscene.

On arriving at Canouan sea port, food traders are often mobbed for their food as Vincentian locals struggle to get affordable fresh food. Foreigners and tourists have no empathy for the terrible plight of local people. Tourism is destroying SVG and ruining many Vincentians’ lives and livelihoods.

Enclave tourism is apartheid and a gross insult. The walls of apartheid need to be brought down.

HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia said that ‘a country should be first for its people and then for its visitors’. In parts of SVG, the opposite is true.

Canouan has been turned in to rich, exclusive enclaves for foreigners and tourists and poverty ghettos for Vincentian locals. This has been done for visitors and our people have been pushed aside and forgotten.

Enclaves for foreigners and tourists make Vincentians second-class citizens in our own country. We are being fenced out of our beautiful homeland, so that foreigners can get a tan and gorge themselves on expensive food and wine.

Enclave tourism means any economic benefits of tourism are not distributed to local Vincentians but, instead, are kept in the hands of major corporations that develop these properties. Enclave tourism is of no benefit to Vincentians.

Enclave tourism does not grow the economy and create the jobs necessary to alleviate long-term economic deprivation. Just take a look at Canouan and the destitution some of our people live in.

The reliance on tourism as the engine of the SVG economy by the ULP regime shows poor vision. It will not bring sustainable development and it can be seen that tourism mashes up the living environment and obliterates our culture.

A number of persons from low-income families have complained to the Leader of SVG Green Party, Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal, that the ULP regime should have provided regular employment for the poor. Tourism is not working.

According to Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal, who has an Master of Science degree in Macro – Economic Policy and Planning in Developing Countries from Bradford University, England, since we know that ‘enclave tourism’ and the white migrants’ 1920s charity mentality can never provide sustainable development for the next generation of Vincentians, we urgently need to take back our Atlantic Ocean billion-dollar fish industry from the dirty dog Taiwan and operate our own billion-dollar fish industry in SVG.

This would create thousands of new jobs and generate a significant amount of revenue for the SVG Treasury. Then, we could properly cater for the needs of Vincentian people.

‘We cannot continue to build five-star hotels in three-star communities. Jobs and charity are not enough.’ The super-rich of Mustique and Canouan should take note of these words. The Mustique Charitable Trust is 1920s thinking and a gross insult to our people.

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