New GG humbled to be following in the  footsteps of the late Sir Frederick Ballantyne
Governor General, Susan Dougan
February 7, 2020

New GG humbled to be following in the footsteps of the late Sir Frederick Ballantyne

Governor General, Susan Dougan, delivered her maiden Throne Speech since being appointed as this country’s head of state, outlining the Government’s policy framework for the 2020 fiscal year.

Dougan entered the Halls of the House of Assembly on Monday, February 3 to carry out her duties, at the commencement of 2020 Budget exercise, less than one week after the state funeral of Sir Frederick Ballantyne, who served as Governor General for the past 17 years.

“I begin by thanking Almighty God for making it possible for me to serve my beloved nation in such an esteemed capacity, especially as the first woman to hold the office of Governor General. I am humbled by this opportunity that I have been afforded,” she said.

“Mr. Speaker, I am deeply humbled, too, and greatly honoured to be following in the footsteps of the late Sir Frederick Ballantyne, a titan, a nation-builder, and a man of impeccable character, who has given sterling service to the citizens of this country as Governor General for seventeen (17) years. Moreover, he did so with remarkable dignity and great humility. His recent passing is a severe blow to us as a nation.”

Dougan also took the opportunity to extend condolences to Sir Frederick’s family and friends.

The Governor General, noted that the Budget was not only the first of a new decade, but also one being carried out within the continuing celebrations of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ (SVG) 40th anniversary of Independence.

And she challenged the nation to commit itself to renewal on several levels, in keeping with the anniversary theme of “Renewal at 40”.

“We must first and foremost seek spiritual renewal, as we thank Almighty God for His grace and favour. We must be renewed in our commitment to our families and communities, to nation-building, to our Caribbean, to our hemispheric neighbours, and to our world. We must also renew our commitment to our individual development, advancement, health and wellness, and come to a deeper appreciation of how all this fits within the larger enterprise of national development,” Dougan said.

Outlining the policies underpinning the 2020 budget, the Governor-General said that the country is realising a number of “many-sided accomplishments”.

She praised the country for earning a place as the smallest country on the United Nations Security Council. Dougan also acknowledged the leading roles that SVG will occupy in regional and hemispheric entities, namely CARIFORUM, CARICOM, the Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee (CDCC) of the Economic Commission of Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

She also spoke of work that will be done to continue improvements in the various Ministries and sectors of SVG including Tourism, Health and Agriculture and Fisheries.

“Mr. Speaker, the plight of our most vulnerable is always at the forefront of my Government’s work programme in any given period, 2020 is no exception. The increases in the amounts paid as monthly Public Assistance stand as proof of that. It encompasses, also, the ongoing assessment of the most vulnerable of our citizens to arrive at a more complete understanding of their circumstances, including the evaluation of such factors as the potential impact of disasters on their lives, livelihoods, and capacity for resilience and recovery,” the Governor General said.

Dougan highlighted the importance of law and order and said that innovative approaches will be taken as it relates to the prevention of crime.

She listed the suite of legislation expected to be taken to Parliament this year in that regard, as well as other bills that will touch on fiscal transparency, accountability and efficiency.
Pointing to pending general elections, Dougan said “ I have every confidence that, as has been the case in every election exercise since Universal Adult Suffrage, the upcoming general elections will be conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner, and that the results will yet again be truly and fully reflective of the will of the people”.

Finance Minister, Camillo Gonsalves presented the 2020 Budget shortly after Dougan’s delivery of the Throne Speech followed the following day by the commencement of debate.