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Fri 8th Feb 2019

SVG Green Party / ULP regime comparative SVG Budget Estimates 2019

Notes to the SVG Green Party SVG Budget Estimates 2019

Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal BSc (hons), MSc, MBA, Leader of SVG Green Party, presents the SVG Green Party Budget Estimates 2019. These comparative estimates illustrate the potential of SVG under a Green government and the harsh reality of the economic mess in SVG under the incompetent ULP regime.

SVG has a very high poverty and unemployment rate. SVG must shift towards an export-oriented economy. Education and science and technology should be the engine of the SVG economy. This will eradicate poverty, create mass employment and get money circulating our country.

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Notes to the SVG Green Party SVG Budget Estimates 2019

a) A 25% reduction in tax collected as a Green government starts a phased reduction on the heavy taxes imposed upon SVG people and businesses.

b) A 25% reduction as a Green government starts a phased reduction on the heavy fees, fines and permit costs imposed upon SVG people and businesses.

c) A Green government would abolish the tax and customs duty exemptions given to Taiwan and the white, super-rich migrants in Mustique and Canouan and take back our SVG Atlantic Ocean tuna fishing licence from Taiwan. We would impose a ‘windfall tax’ on Taiwan and the white, super-rich migrants in Mustique and Canouan. This will give SVG a massive amount of revenue - EC$3 billion - to create economic growth in SVG.

d) The ULP regime has relied upon begging and borrowing from foreign countries since 2001. This must stop as SVG is heavily indebted, so much so, that the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Monetary Council has decided to extend the timetable to reduce our Debt/GDP Ratio to 60.0 per cent from 2020 to 2030. Under a Green government there will be no need to beg and borrow.

e) The ULP regime has relied upon begging and borrowing and ‘raiding’ from local institutions since 2001. This must stop as SVG is heavily indebted. Under a Green government there will be no need to beg and borrow.

f) This is usually the sale of Crown Lands. A Green government will not sell off our countries lands to foreigners to raise income like the ULP regime does.

g) This is a figure the ULP regime makes up to hide the deficit on the income needed. It is money they hope will grow on trees. The budget really has a deficit of EC$198 million. The ULP regime is misleading the people of SVG with a fake billion dollar budget. The government is short of money.

h) Total revenue for 2019 could have been over 3 times as much under a Green government. This would boost the SVG economy and get money circulating our country.

i) Under a Green government there would be massive investment in infrastructure to reinvigorate and expand the economy. This will create mass employment in new economic sectors and increase the number of people receiving salaries.

j) The increased amount of employment will mean increased contributions to pensions and NIS. Also, pensions in SVG are too small. Our people need more money to have a good quality of life when they retire.

k) General public services in SVG have deteriorated substantially under the ULP regime. Our public services need to be increased and modernised so our people get a better service and have a better quality of life.

l) The year 2017 was another bad year for Vincentians under the incompetent ULP regime, with murders reaching a record high of 42. SVG now has the fourth highest murder rate per capita in the world. There is too much blood running in SVG. A Green government would invest much more in public order and safety to fight crime and the causes of crime.

m) A Green government will invest more to increase and modernise SVG’s economic activities.

n) Environmental protection is essential. Kingstown is very polluted and dirty, many drains are blocked and some areas of land around the country are being used as illegal rubbish tips. A scheme to recycle household and commercial waste will be set up. This will help protect our waterways and provide a cleaner environment for our people.

o) A Green government would invest more in housing and community infrastructures to provide our people with a better standard of living.

p) Our health centres and facilities need to be modernised. We need more doctors and nurses in SVG, and all health services such as dentists, opticians, medicines, hearing tests, physiotherapy, etc, need to be free. SVG needs a healthy population to have a working and industrious population. In the ULP government Budget Estimates 2019, the ULP regime invests only about EC$91 per person on health, based on a population of 110,000. A Green government would invest much more.

q) The protection and preservation of our culture and heritage is important as they are vital components in nation building. A Green government will build museums, galleries and theatres so that our talented artists and performers can exhibit their works and perform cultural productions. A Green government would also fund school trips to museums, galleries and theatres so that young people can learn more about our culture.

r) The main point of this budget estimates is the substantial investment in education. Many schools in SVG are dilapidated and badly in need of refurbishment. The ULP regime invests only 1.41% of expenditure on our children’s education, only EC$15,090,010. A Green government would invest substantially more in education, an amazing EC$450 million and undertake a massive refurbishment of schools program and build preschools, so all children can get free, high-quality education from preschool to university.

s) Social protection is needed for persons with disabilities, elderly people and victims of domestic abuse. Elderly people and people with disabilities often need equipment to enable them to do everyday activities such as washing, dressing and to be mobile. They may also require carers to help them. The ULP regime invests a pittance on social protection, only EC$24.5 per person in SVG, based on a population of 110,000. A Green government would invest substantially more to cater for our people’s needs.

t) The cost of electricity is outrageously high and using oil to produce electricity is the reason. A Green government will invest in infrastructure to make electricity 100% from renewable energy. The fuel – sun, wind and water – is free and this will enable the Green government to cut electricity prices by 50% and abolish the immoral fuel surcharge. This will help thousands of poor households to obtain mains electricity. Households will have more disposable income and businesses lower overheads.

u) A Green Government will provide free, wireless internet access throughout our country. The internet is the most powerful resource for information. In 2011, there were over 4.7 billion google searches of the internet each day. Our people must be a part of this growing internet era and have free internet access in their own home. Children of the poor must have free internet access or else they will be left further behind. Free internet is important for business innovation.

v) A Green government will invest heavily in supporting our entrepreneurs to set up and run their own business. Small businesses are the beating heart of a healthy, strong, growing economy. A Green government will provide incentives to help small businesses move up the supply chain to provide value-added, innovative goods and services that can be exported.

w) A Green government will take back the SVG fish licence from Taiwan and set up our own SVG deep-sea tuna fishing and canning industry. This will include leasing or buying ships and building factories. This will bring billions in to our economy and create mass employment.

x) In regional and international competitions SVG under-achieves. We should be winning medals like other small nations do at sports competitions. A Green government will upgrade and modernise sports and leisure facilities, to enable people to take up sports and our sportspeople to win medals at regional and international events.

y) Our hospitals need to be modernised and we need more hospitals. SVG needs a healthy population to have a working and industrious population.

z) The global Green market is worth more than £4 trillion as economies around the world invest in low-carbon technologies across a broad range of sectors. A Green government will help SVG small businesses to get a slice of this big Green pie.

aa) Every day thousands of gallons of freshwater flow from our rivers into the sea. This is water going to waste and is money going down the drain. This fresh water that could be sold in bulk tanker loads to countries abroad needing drinking water. A bulk tanker water export industry would create hundreds of new jobs and be a multi-million dollar industry. This industry can help bring prosperity to our people.

bb) In order to stop deforestation in SVG and protect the watersheds, we must urgently plant a million trees. This will help reduce floods and landslides in times of heavy rain and make our agricultural land more fertile.

cc) Many buildings in Georgetown are dilapidated and there are not many public services in Georgetown. A Green government will modernise Georgetown centre and provide our people with more and better public services.

dd) Many buildings in Layou, Barrouallie and Chateaubelair are dilapidated and there are not many public services in Layou, Barrouallie and Chateaubelair. A Green government will modernise Layou, Barrouallie and Chateaubelair centres and provide our people with more and better public services.

ee) Much of the public infrastructure in the Grenadines has been neglected by the ULP regime and fallen in to a state of dangerous disrepair. A Green government would repair and modernise infrastructure in the Grenadines to improve people’s quality of life.

ff) Section 72 (1) of the SVG 1979 constitution mandates that there shall be provisions for a contingency fund to provide for unforeseen expenditure. However, Gonsalves has ignored our constitution: there is no contingency fund and our economy is broke. Whenever we have damage from hurricanes and tropical storms, our people suffer because SVG has no money left to provide everyone with immediate assistance.

gg) An SVG Green Party government will build a science and technology university so that all our children – poor and rich – have access to free university education.

hh) A Green government will modernise agriculture and reverse the dangerous trend of hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on food from abroad, so that we are virtually self-sufficient in food production. We will revive the rural economy. There are plenty of alternatives, including organic farming; building factories to produce and export tea, baby food and fruit juices; coffee production and exporting other agro-products. These measures will provide thousands of new jobs.

ii) A new ministry, the Ministry of Science and Technology needs to be established to formulate science policies and to coordinate the deployment of the nation's scientific and technological manpower. There is also an urgent need for the re-structuring of the educational system to provide the requisite technical manpower. SVG needs a supply of skilled people.

jj) A Green government would set up a School of Navigation and Seamanship to train Vincentians in seafaring, and the principles of seamanship, navigation and nautical astronomy, so they can serve on-board vessels worldwide and captain SVG tuna-fishing trawlers.

kk) We have had 18 years of fiscal deficits under the ULP regime. A Green government would be financially competent and responsible and ensure a fiscal surplus every year, to make our country financially stable and our economy strong.

Conclusion
After over 18 years of the ULP regime our country is in a mess. SVG needs a Green government. Green is prosperity.

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