Fri 11th May 2018

ULP regime cannot manage education and money

A Vincentian businessman told the Leader of SVG Green Party, Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal BSc (hons), MSc, MBA, that the Belle Isle prison is full. He also said that if the ULP regime built three more prisons, they would be full too, because the economic situation in SVG is so bad.

Unemployment is high and there is a huge amount of poverty throughout our country. The economic and social situation in SVG is very tough and many people are in desperate circumstances. With little chance of getting a job and earning any money, a significant number of people are turning to crime. Hence, the full prisons.

At the recent Christian Council conference on crime held in Kingstown, a senior prison officer told the audience that the majority of the young inmates cannot read. It is believed that at least 8 out of 10 young inmates cannot read.

Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal fully agrees with the Vincentian businessman that the ULP regime’s so-called Education Revolution is a big joke. It is a major weakness for our country.

We have to ask ourselves, is the poor education system intentional? In 2017, the ULP regime’s capital expenditure on education was peanuts – only EC$7.7 million, whereas tax exemptions given to Taiwan and the super-rich white migrants in Mustique and Canouan was about EC$3.5 billion.

From 2001 to 2018, the ULP regime’s education system has failed to deliver for many male youths. A significant number of male youths do not finish their schooling. They are leaving school early and ending up in prison not long afterwards.

Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal BSc (hons), MSc, MBA, believes that the high level of crime and full prisons situation, has been created by the ULP regime’s failure to create a strong economy and failure to provide a good education system.

It is well known all over the world that people who are functionally illiterate have a higher chance of ending up in the criminal system. A study in the USA concluded that inmates have a 16 percent chance of returning to prison if they receive literacy help, as opposed to 70 percent for those who receive no help.

The situation in SVG is beyond ridiculous, with more male youths going to prison than to university.

The cost to society and the economy is enormous and is like a double-whammy. People in prison cost the SVG Treasury a lot of money to maintain, and as they are not working, they do not make any tax contributions to the SVG Treasury. The public finances take a double hit.

Another major weakness for our country, and a big contributory factor to the high crime rate in SVG, is that the ULP regime cannot competently manage the Public Accounts.

When Singapore gained independence in the 1960s, it focused on education and building universities – not prisons - in order to create a strong economy. Now, Singapore has the highest percentage of millionaire households as a share of a country's total households at 15.5%; Singapore topped the charts for highest GDP per capita in 2010 at close to EC$152,636 and is expected to continue to be the global leader until 2050; 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, since 2001, the ULP regime has focused on begging and borrowing, building prisons and giving tax exemptions to Taiwan and the super-rich, white migrants in Mustique and Canouan. Now, SVG has prisons overflowing with illiterate male youths, high unemployment, crime and poverty, the 4th highest murder rate per capita in the world and a very weak economy.

Don’t you think that something is wrong? Don’t you think that SVG needs a new government?

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