What are we celebrating?
October 26, 2007

What are we celebrating?


28th Independence address by Honourable Arnhim U. Eustace MP, leader of the opposition and president of the New Democratic Party.

For the 28th time in our history as an independent nation, Vincentians will be “celebrating” independence.

But, what are we in fact celebrating? Are we celebrating the fact that in this year we have recorded the most murders in our history?

Or, are we celebrating the destruction of 870,000 marijuana trees and a large amount of compressed weed valued at over $300 million dollars?{{more}}

Are we celebrating the climate of fear that grips the people of our land?

Are we celebrating the fact that a Minister of Government with unbelievable arrogance can threaten to roll his vehicle over a police officer doing his duty?

Or, are we celebrating the fact that a bank teller was transferred because of this same arrogance?

The list of questions that I can ask is endless.

Perhaps we may be celebrating the closing of the Kingstown Medical College which has been contributing significantly to this economy for about as long as we have been independent.

Or, are we celebrating the rapid decline of the Banana Industry and the birth of Moko?

There are those who will also wonder whether we are in fact celebrating again the middle finger and the use of what is locally recognized as indecent language by our Prime Minister.

But then again, there are those who will say that are we celebrating the record number of lawsuits against those who express anti-government views.

Others will say that we are celebrating the growth of nepotism as the Prime Minister chose his son to go to the United Nations.

Are we celebrating the decline in sales in a number of businesses as well as the closure of some small businesses?

Are we celebrating the decline in our hospital and other medical services, including the number of resignations of several doctors?

A student on radio said that we are celebrating the very poor performance in the sciences at the A Level College.

Very importantly, are we celebrating the devastating implementation of the VAT and its negative impact on the poor and the middle class in our country?

Are we celebrating the rapidly increasing rate of inflation (prices) since VAT implementation approaching 8%?

Or, are we celebrating the purchase of yet another expensive vehicle for the Prime Minister?

Are we celebrating the high level of remittances from our Nationals abroad amounting to some US$123 million last year and expected to be higher this year?

Are we celebrating the 3% being offered to Public Servants?

Rather than ask all these questions, I believe it is simpler to ask one question. Are we in this 28th year of Independence celebrating the general decline in our freedom and the economic prospects for the people of this country?

The answer is a simple “YES”