Our Readers' Opinions
February 7, 2017
It’s time for Vincentians to take a stand and fight for SVG

Editor: Prime Minister Dr Gonsalves, over a 16-year period, has made several promises about growth in our economy whenever he presents the budget. Numerous Vincentians are asking themselves if any economic growth indeed occurred over that period. Persons who support the ULP would say yes and those persons who support the NDP would say no. It’s extremely difficult to obtain an honest answer.

One may ask what stimulates growth in our country when agriculture, tourism and the off-shore sector seem to be struggling. We are hearing cries from the private sector that business is bad, compounded by underemployment for Vincentians who can’t obtain jobs. It’s profoundly difficult to figure out what exactly stimulates growth in our economy.

The estimate presented by Dr Gonsalves for the year 2017 is very frightening, where the Government plans to spend more than they collect. Our national debt keeps rising; a deficit budget seem to be the norm. Poor people continue to scrape the bottom of the barrel, while the Government seems unable to find answers on how to lift this country’s economy.

Vincentians are paying very close attention to the budget; all they will hear is increased payments on their bills. Many Vincentians are saying that after 16 years, Dr Gonsalves should have obtained enough experience to be able to create growth in this country. Productivity in St Vincent and the Grenadines is very low; nothing is taking place in terms of manufacturing; all we know about is a buy and sell economy and when one goes to the customs, taxation is killing poor people.

Sometimes, I wonder how most Vincentians survive. When you complain to the Customs officers, they tell you to blame the Prime Minister, because he is the one who set the high target for customs. Would it be fair to say that VAT, taxation, licensing and the increase on rum and cigarettes is where the Government makes most of its money? Who pays for all those items? Poor people like me and you; yet our salaries remain the same.

It’s time for Vincentians to get up and be counted; it’s about time for us to see and feel that today’s politicians are only doing what is expected of them. Living on hope, mind, sight and empty promises by politicians is creating problems for our country. Vincentians need to ask themselves these questions. Are you satisfied with today’s politician? Has your life improved over the previous 16 years? Are the persons who were elected doing what is expected of them in terms of providing for the needs of poor people?

It’s time for Vincentians to take a stand and fight for our economy. It’s not too late for us to find innovative ways to stimulate growth to our economy. Let’s work together for the development of St Vincent and the Grenadines, because it will definitely benefit all.

Alfred Bernard