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Thu 25th Dec 2014

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SVG Green Party Leader, Ivan O’Neal, Christmas message

Only EC$136 a year per person on health - This is a disgrace

We draw near the end of yet another year in which Vincentians’ health has been neglected by the ULP regime. For the past 10 years, the health of Vincentians, especially the poor, has been getting worse, because of the miserly amount of money the ULP regime has put in to health.

Over the past decade, only $150m has been put towards Vincentians’ health. This works out to be only $136 a year per person on health. This is a disgrace.

The Health Service in SVG has fallen to ruin under the incompetent ULP regime. Many areas are dilapidated, do not have enough medicines and lack equipment. The Kingstown hospital is run down. We have seen that when Gonsalves gets ill he flies off to Cuba or Barbados, avoiding the Kingstown hospital.

How many Vincentians though can afford an air ambulance or jet aircraft to fly abroad when they get ill? Thousands of households can barely feed their children; flying abroad is not an option when they are ill.

Tens of thousands of Vincentians are made to suffer, meanwhile Taiwan and the super-rich of Mustique and Canouan are allowed to make millions with their tax and customs duty exemptions. No doubt they will be having a merry and healthy Christmas as the poor go without.

The health of Vincentians is also made worse by the financial incompetence of the ULP regime. Poverty is so high in SVG that many people turn to pilfering agricultural produce from fields. This has meant that fed-up farmers plant less food and so there is less food around. This makes food more scarce and it is the poor who ache with hunger.

The fact that thousands of households have no mains water, because of poverty, is also a serious risk to Vincentians’ health. The lack of access to clean drinking water can lead to a serious outbreak of illnesses such as cholera.

If that ever happened though, we all know who would be jumping in to a jet aircraft to Cuba to avoid the devastation.

Gonsalves’ poor leadership has caused SVG to operate virtually as a failed state. Health is declining rapidly and homicides are increasing significantly. Gonsalves’ weak economic leadership and incompetent financial management has mashed up SVG. The reliance on begging and borrowing has pushed the SVG economy into a dark hole and made Vincentians’ health suffer.

Vincentians deserve a higher standard of health service, so they can have a better quality of life and be better able to work and support themselves and their families. Vincentians could then also really enjoy their Christmas.

To improve Vincentians’ health, a Green government will bring strong economic leadership and competent financial management. This will enable a Green Government to invest more money in to Vincentians’ health needs and build high-quality hospitals in Kingstown and Union Island. We will also upgrade other health facilities around the country.

Merry Christmas and a regime change to Green for prosperity and good health in 2015.

Ivan O’Neal BSc (Hons), MSc, MBA
Leader of SVG Green Party

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