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Fri 12th Oct 2018

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Currency Control Act withdrawn by unqualified Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves

Vincentian traders in agricultural produce are unable to convert their earnings to Eastern Caribbean dollars after plying their trade in Trinidad and Tobago.

As a result, some Vincentian traders have large stockpiles of Trinidad and Tobago currency in Port of Spain and farmers in St Vincent are reluctant to sell their produce to these traders, because of the delay in getting paid.

However, Port of Spain says it is constrained by a shortage of foreign exchange in its financial sector and they are unable to convert the Trinidad and Tobago currency in to Eastern Caribbean dollars for these Vincentian traders.

To resolve this issue, the SVG government took the decision to enforce the Exchange Control Act, which had previously been suspended, with regard to trading with Trinidad and Tobago.

Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves, announced during the 2018 Budget presentation that as of 1st March 2018, any payment in United States (US) dollars from St Vincent and the Grenadines to Trinidad and Tobago would now require prior approval of the Director of Finance and Planning.

This decision was not particularly helpful to Vincentian traders, as it did not resolve their problem of being unable to convert their earnings to Eastern Caribbean dollars after plying their trade in Trinidad and Tobago.

The decision highlights the incompetence of Gansalves and shows that he is highly unqualified to be the SVG Minister of Finance. Camillo Gonsalves is not a university graduate in Accounting or Finance and his appointment as the SVG Minister of Finance is a gross insult to our country and people.

The currency exchange restrictions were lifted after it caught the attention of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago.

Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal BSc (hons), MSc, MBA, Leader of SVG Green Party, has a BSc (hons) in Accounting and Finance and Economic from Oxford Brookes University, England and says SVG needs a competent minister of finance to move the country forward, one that is a university graduate in Accounting and Finance.

SVG is being left behind the rest of the world, because we have a government that is utterly hopeless in finance. SVG needs change, because our people are suffering as a result of ULP regime incompetence.

Camillo Gonsalves has been Minister of Finance for some time now and has failed to announce any cash cows or new productive sectors to generate revenue for the country. Gonsalves has failed to announce any clear plans to attract foreign investment in to SVG. We need foreign investment to help create jobs.

According to Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal BSc (hons), MSc, MBA, the very high debt to GDP ratio in SVG is a very strong warning to our people, that SVG urgently needs a new government and a macro-economic and structural change. It cannot be business as usual.

The problem of Vincentian traders in agricultural produce being unable to convert their earnings to Eastern Caribbean dollars after plying their trade in Trinidad and Tobago has still not been resolved.

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