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Fri 20th Dec 2019

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

Let us wish for an end to corruption in SVG

According to Warrant Officer Ivan Bertie O’Neal BSc (hons), MSc, MBA, Leader of SVG Green Party, there is a very strong correlation between the depth of corruption in a Third World Country and the extent of poverty in the Third World Country.

The greater the amount corruption in a third World Country, the greater is the amount of poverty, destitution and filth.

There is a very high correlation between corruption and deep poverty in SVG and since there is very strong positive correlation between poverty and corruption, we can predict that many families will struggle to put food on the table this Christmas - especially those families with children.

The people would like to hear from PM Gonsalves. Is the Nader Hariri Ambassadorship to UNESCO an example of Ambassadorship by investment?

There are a number of public bodies and private companies that have failed to declare their financial statements to the public. The financial statements of all public bodies and the companies and subsidiaries of the super-rich of Mustique and Canouan should be available for the public to scrutinise and check.

It smacks of corruption that some of these accounts are hidden away from the public.

There is a substantial lack of financial transparency in our country, and this is a gross abuse of power and can lead to corruption. According to Transparency International, information is fundamental to make informed decisions. Where it is not freely accessible, corruption can thrive and basic rights might not be realised. People can hide corrupt acts behind a veil of secrecy.

SVG needs greater transparency and accountability of the public accounts. The SVG Freedom of Information Act 2003 was signed by His Excellency, The Governor General, in 2003 and it should have been proclaimed and made in to law, so that we have proper access to government information. We need a Freedom of Information Act so that we can root out corruption.

The solution to the very deep problem of corruption in SVG is quite simply to update or create new laws that provide heavy penalties for corruption, including custodial sentences.

Every dollar lost to corruption in SVG is one less dollar available to combat extreme poverty, one dollar less to fund education and maintain schools and one dollar less to create jobs for our people.

Corruption affects us all and hurts the poorest and most vulnerable members of society most, increasing costs and reducing access to services, including health, education and justice. SVG needs to create lasting change. We need a zero-tolerance policy toward corruption.

To improve Vincentians’ lives, a Green government would end corruption and bring strong economic leadership and competent financial management. This would enable a Green Government to invest significant sums of money in to Vincentians’ education and community needs and create mass employment.

Merry Christmas and let us wish for an end to corruption in SVG and a regime change to Green for prosperity for the people.

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

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