Fri 1st Jun 2018
There is extreme poverty and high unemployment throughout SVG. The ULP regime has been an economic and financial failure and the country has NO confidence in the ULP regime to create prosperity and a strong economy in SVG.
According to Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal BSc (hons), MSc, MBA, Leader of SVG Green Party, all the major economic strategies that the ULP has tried have failed.
The ULP regime has tried agriculture and that has failed. Agriculture contributes very little financially to the SVG economy, because the ULP regime has decimated agriculture and virtually killed the rural economy. Many of our farmers live in poverty and struggle to feed their families. Many farmers have complained to Ivan O’Neal that the feeder roads for the agricultural industry are in very bad condition, to the extent that farmers cannot get their produce to market.
The ULP regime has tried the Argyle airport and that has failed. The Argyle airport was a waste of EC$1.5 billion. It costs much more to maintain - EC$20 million a year – than it contributes to the SVG economy. Argyle airport was a massive opportunity wasted. We could have built a billion-dollar tuna fishing and canning industry for the export market and created thousands of new jobs.
The ULP regime has tried tourism and that has failed. Tourism contributes little to the SVG economy. 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.
The ULP regime has tried the ‘education revolution’ and that has failed. Education contributes very little financially to the SVG economy. In 2011, SVG suffered its worst CEE results in history, with 1116 children of the poor and 56 per cent of boys failing. For the 2012 CEE, roughly 55 per cent of the 1,076 males writing the exams failed and roughly 40 per cent of the 1,043 females failed. Almost 1000 children did not pass and some children scored as low as 5 per cent. Building a new jail and not our own SVG university is laughable.
The ULP regime has tried high taxes and that has failed. High taxes are killing the SVG economy. Increasing taxes, when the SVG economy is so weak, is a backward step. Higher taxes means less disposable income for households. As a result, people will spend even less money in shops and other businesses, which means even more businesses will close down. As more and more businesses close down, there will be more job cuts and higher unemployment, which means less money for households …and so the downward spiral continues.
The ULP regime has tried begging and borrowing and that has failed. The ULP regime borrows and begs to pay debt, but creates more debt. They are digging a hole to fill a hole, with the hole getting bigger with every loan. Interest payments and loan charges in the 2018 Budget amount to EC$62 million. Even after 17 years of ULP regime begging and borrowing, the SVG economy is very weak and unemployment is very high.
Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal has a BSc (hons) in Accounting and Finance and Economics from Oxford Brookes University, England and very strongly believes that Gonsalves is grossly incompetent in managing the SVG public finances.
Economically and financially, virtually everything the ULP regime has tried has been a failure. The country has NO confidence in the ULP regime’s ability to create prosperity and a strong economy in SVG.