Fri 23rd Feb 2018

Tourism failing SVG people – no ‘trickle-down’

On 16 February 2018, a lady from Central Leeward was complaining to the Leader of SVG Green Party, Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal BSc (hons) MSc, MBA, that although the ULP regime is claiming that there is a massive increase in tourism arrivals in SVG, there is no trickle-down of the apparent income from tourism to the poorest people in society.

The lady complained that she cannot get a job and she is finding it very hard to support her family.

The struggles of this lady are mirrored all around the nation. SVG has high unemployment and there is extensive poverty throughout the country. Tourism is failing the people of SVG, especially the poor.

The ULP regime beat their chest boasting about Chandeliers at Argyle airport and alleged increases in cruise ship arrivals, yacht arrivals and air arrivals compared to 2016, but yet SVG is still a poor country, to the extent that there was a fiscal deficit of EC$372 million in the Budget Estimates.

Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal, who has a Master of Science degree in Macro-Economic Policy and Planning in Developing Countries from Bradford University, England, says that tourism could never be the engine of the SVG economy.

Given that it costs EC$20 million just to maintain Argyle airport, the net revenue from tourism will never significantly improve the standard of living of our people. On the contrary, tourism is most likely to do more harm than good to our country.

Since 2001, the ULP regime has focused the economy on tourism, but in all that time, there has been virtually zero trickle-down of wealth to the people. The poor are still poor and suffering. Tourism has not boosted the SVG economy and SVG is worse off today than in 2001.

If tourism has been so good for our country over the past 17 years, why are many of our schools badly dilapidated, why is electricity and water expensive and heavily taxed, why is there increased VAT on electricity, why are more and more businesses closing down, why is unemployment so high and why is there widespread poverty all over the country.

Tourism provides no trickle-down of revenue to the people of SVG. The only trickle down we getting in this country is Taiwan and the super-rich, white migrants of Mustique and Canouan ‘urinating’ on the people of SVG by not paying hundreds of millions of dollars in tax annually and making our people suffer in poverty.

Tourism in SVG is an umbrella for the super-rich, white migrants to take over our country through corruption and turn our country into a ghetto, by perpetuating poverty and destitution as there is no trickle-down of tourism wealth to the poorest in society.

Experiences from around SVG have shown that tourism not only fails to deliver on the ‘trickle-down’ promise, but increases poverty and inequalities and reduces workers’ rights. Only the super-rich are getter richer with tourism in SVG.

The struggles of the lady from Central Leeward are testament to the failure of the ULP regime and the failure of tourism: she cannot get a job and she is finding it very hard to support her family.

There’s no trickle-down of money for the poor people of SVG. Trickle where economics?

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