June 2, 2015
NDP will create 500 jobs within first year of office – Eustace

Within the first year of taking office, a New Democratic Party (NDP) administration will create 500 jobs in the Information Technology sector.

President of the NDP Arnhim Eustace, speaking at a Town Hall Meeting in Brooklyn, New York, on Sunday evening, listed 15 things that his party would do in their first year, should they be voted into office.{{more}}

He said his party is already working with “people overseas” in relation to the jobs in the IT sector.

Also within the first year, the NDP admistration will appoint a committee on Public Financing and Debt to give an actual picture of the state of the country’s financial situation.

Eustace said his government would bring in people to deal with this matter, which would also help with “dealing with corruption.”

The Value Added Tax (VAT) will be removed from more than 100 basic food and service items, including electricity, to allow businesses to become more competitive. He noted that parliamentary representative for Central Kingstown St Clair Leacock will be the “lead man” on the issue of the cost of electricity.

During the first year, 1,000 acres of banana will be replanted and rehabilitated and a development bank will be reinstated to support enterprise and tourism development.

The much discussed Constituency Development Fund (CDF), the brainchild of Leacock, will be implemented during the first year. Explaining how the CDF will work, Eustace said it is not the intention of an NDP government to put any money in the hands of parliamentarians.

“…The parliamentarian will work with his constituency council, identify projects in his constituency; they will still have to go through the Ministry of Works to be done and supervised, but the allocation will be there for funding for the constituency. But no politician will get any money in their hand… that is not so,” he explained.

The payment of fees for all CSEC and CAPE examinations will also be accomplished in year one, Eustace said, as will the revival and refinancing of the Book Loan Scheme.

His government will begin the maintenance of all constituency playing fields and begin to tackle and reduce crime at the community level.

Integrity legislation, which has long been promised by the Unity Labour Party (ULP) government, will be passed in Parliament by an NDP administration, Eustace promised.

He said in the first year, a National Health Insurance Scheme will be designed and implemented and noted that preparation for such a scheme had been prepared by the NDP before it left government in 2000, but it was never implemented by the ULP government.

“It will be done. We’re going back to that National Health Insurance plan.”

According to Eustace, health facilities will be improved, as will the availability of medication at hospitals and clinics.

During year one, an NDP government will begin the process of repaying the government’s debt to the Private Sector.

“We believe as part of the process to get our economy moving forward, we have to take away some of the hindrances to proper private sector development. That is where we are going to get our jobs from, we are not going to get them from the government,” he said.

Despite the many problems the NDP have identified with the Argyle international airport, Eustace said during year one, they will do what is necessary to complete its construction.

“We can’t have that investment of millions and millions of dollars lie down there and not finish it.”

General elections in St Vincent and the Grenadines must be held no later than March 31, 2016.