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Fri 23rd Nov 2018

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Open letter requesting UN to send a Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty to SVG

Dear Secretary General of the United Nations,

Re: SVG Green Party requests the United Nations sends a Special Rapporteur – such as Professor Philip Alston - to St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) to deal with the extreme poverty our people suffer on a daily basis.

The extreme poverty in SVG is causing widespread misery throughout the country and many thousands of households live in very dilapidated conditions. The living environment in some areas is so bad that many households suffer with the problems of having to deal with snakes, centipedes, rats and lizards invading their living spaces. The dilapidated living environment conditions are stoking serious crime and criminality.

The level of child poverty in SVG is very high and about half the country can be regarded as destitute, as there is a very high level of unemployment. Many children’s living situation is appalling. These children have a human right to adequate housing and education.

The system is not only failing lots of people in SVG, it is actively punishing lots of people too. For example, the tax system in SVG is discriminatory against the poor indigenous black population and in favour of super-rich foreigners. Taiwan and the super-rich, white migrants of Mustique and Canouan do not have to pay tax and customs duty. They are getting away with not paying billions of dollars in tax each year under the highly immoral Mustique Act No 48 of 2002 and Taiwan owes the SVG Treasury about EC$51 billion in fish tax for the period of 2001 to 2017.

In SVG, there is a huge difference between people living in extreme wealth, and at the other end, people who can't afford a packet of bread or one good meal a day. Thousands of households are unable to feed their children adequately and send them to school, and unable to afford running water and electricity in their house, yet those living in extreme wealth import cars, yachts and aircraft tax free. The differential must be seen as a human rights abuse.

The knock-on effects of the extreme poverty in SVG is an increasing rate of statutory rape with girls under 13 years of age, and high rates of rape, domestic violence, incest, teenage pregnancies, morbidity and mortality. In 2017, SVG had the fourth highest murder rate per capita in the world. See https://bit.ly/2FdMz9n.

Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal, who has a BSc (hons) degree in Accounts and Finance and Economics from Oxford Brookes University, England, an MSc in Macro-Economic Policy and Planning in Developing Countries from Bradford University, England and a Masters in Business Administration from Leicester University, England, says the UN must send a Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty to SVG immediately to look into the extreme poverty and the poor population killing each other.

The situation is dire in SVG. The authorities – in power since 2001 - do not know how to resolve these serious problems.

Yours sincerely


Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal BSc (hons), MSc, MBA
Leader of SVG Green Party

cc: His Excellency, The Governor General of SVG

UN Human Rights Council in Geneva
Professor Philip Alston

President of the World Bank
President of the International Monetary fund

President of Taiwan

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