Dame Susan makes impassioned appeal for cessation of violence
Dame Susan Dougan
January 12, 2024
Dame Susan makes impassioned appeal for cessation of violence

Governor General Dame Susan Dougan has made an impassioned plea for an end to violence in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

The Governor General issued the call on Monday, January 8, as she delivered the Throne Speech to signal the commencement of the 4th session of the 11th Parliament.

In her much anticipated speech, the Governor General spoke about the involvement in crime among a small segment of the population.

She said the crime and violence, included gun related activities that result in “needless loss of life and injury, and the suffering of loved ones and the community”.

The homicide rate for 2023 (55) has exceeded the record for 2022 (42) and Dame Susan has stressed that “the violence must stop”.

In her plea the Governor-General called for nationals to return to those “core values and principles which define our personal and national identity.”

She called for the return to principles of respect, honesty and ethics.

The Governor General assured that government is committed “ to combatting crime and to ensuring the safety of our citizens and visitors.”

However, she was clear that “this is a fight in which we all have a stake.”

“We cannot shirk our individual responsibility and expect the government and the security forces to do it alone,” the Head of State emphasised.

In her call for full inclusion in the fight against crime, Dame Susan said “together we can bring about the positive changes that will lead to a significant reduction in crime and violence.”

Speaking of the challenges of the past year, Dame Susan insisted that her government “ is not content to adopt a passive, fatalistic attitude to these troubling global happenings.”

“As a country, we continue to actively advocate for, and to promote diplomacy and dialogue in different settlement of conflicts and controversies between countries, within the framework of multi-laterism grounded in the foundational precepts of the Charter of the United Nations,” she underscored.

The Throne speech also hailed the government’s efforts to maintaining and promoting peace in the region, as was seen in December during the high level dialogue that was held here, between the governments of Venezuela and Guyana.

During that meeting this country’s Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves served as one of the interlocutors in the discussions that resulted in the Joint Declaration of Argyle for Dialogue and Peace between Guyana and Venezuela.

As a result of the vulnerability of this nation and the threat of displacement of the population in times of natural disasters, Dame Susan stressed the government’s commitment to provide “decent and sustainable housing for all.”

In this regard, she said this year, government will pursue several initiatives in housing.

This includes an extension of the existing home repair and rehabilitation programme in the volcanic red and orange zones, and the resettlement of persons displaced by the 2021 volcanic eruptions.

The Saudi Development Fund will finance the construction of 350 houses this year and into 2025.

The Governor General in the Throne speech also noted that government will be working towards self sufficiency in food production.

“The target is for a substantial reduction in the food import bill and foreign exchange expenditure.”

This will be done through efforts to boost local production. Dame Susan said the Ministry of Agriculture will work with farmers, fishers and exporters to increase exports regionally and internationally.

In her Throne Speech, the Governor General also commended chief medical officer, Dr Simone Keizer- Beache and her team of health professionals for their work during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

For this New Year, Dame Susan said we look ahead “reinvigorated by fresh hope, love and caring.”

She also expressed the confidence that as a nation “our faith will indeed, see us through”.