October 16, 2012
Eustace says four years of decline is shameful

When it comes to the economy of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace does not distinguish between zero and 0.4 per cent growth.{{more}}

“I don’t make much distinction between 0.4 and zero, in terms of economic growth,” he said in response to a question at a New Democratic Party (NDP) press conference on Wednesday.

The International Monetary Fund has said that 2011 was a fourth year of economic contraction, while the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, has said it grew 0.4 per cent, after three years.

Moody’s Investment Service, in explaining its decision to lower the country’s credit rating, said last week the economy had declined for four years.

“We did some analysis of our own and we find that the growth was negative,” Eustace further said.

“What is the significance between 0.4 and zero? That really has any meaning in practical terms? It doesn’t.”

Eustace said the four years of decline was shameful.

“I am embarrassed, both as Leader of the Opposition and as a citizen of St Vincent and the Grenadines, by the fact that this country would have negative growth for four consecutive years,” he said.

“There is nothing that I can say that influences the government one way or the other. Only the people can determine that, Eustace further stated.

“We go, we meet with people, they have meeting, we have sessions and the people give you ideas. And sometimes when you think of what they are saying, the ideas are very important. But we can only talk about them.”

Eustace spoke of but did not name a man in the offshore business, who, “because of association with us (the NDP), all the offshore companies have let him go because they are fearful that they will have problems in their business… .

“And indeed, they were told in instances they can’t use that lawyer, so that is an issue of great importance,” Eustace further said.

He said if someone approaches him with a business idea, he would listen but would advise them to go to the government.

“… that business might need a concession from the government. If it turns out he is associated with me, he will not get the concession … We have to take all that in consideration in our role we play in this country.

“And I have concrete examples of that. … But all of us are Vincentians. There is not a man in

this room who doesn’t want to see St Vincent go forward, whether you are NDP or ULP,” he said at the press conference at NDP headquarters in Kingstown.

“Everybody wants to see St Vincent go forward. There is no question about that. But we also have to understand how things operate in St Vincent and the Grenadines,” Eustace said. (