Leader of SVG Green Party, Warrant Officer Ivan Bertie O’Neal BSc (Hons), MSc, MBA, says the ULP regime needs to do much more to protect the health of Vincentians. Covid-19 and dengue fever are spreading around the country and taking Vincentians’ lives, yet the ULP regime still does not adequately fund this country’s health and medical services.

For many years, the nation’s health service has been starved by Gonsalves, with as little as $88.20 per person, per year, being budgeted to be spent on health.

Whilst Vincentians’ lives are needlessly being lost, Gonsalves still gives the super-rich of Mustique and Canouan tax and customs duties exemptions of millions of dollars a year. Also, Taiwan is allowed to cream-off hundreds of millions of dollars from SVG’s fish licence and not pay one dollar of tax to the SVG Treasury.

It is a sick mindset whereby a government burdens the black poor to financially support the country and lets the white rich live a life of tax-free luxury. They must really enjoy seeing the black people of SVG suffer.

When Vincentians are ill, their families should not have to go begging for thousands of dollars to pay for medicines or treatment at better equipped hospitals abroad. Much more money needs to be invested in SVG’s health and medical services to create world-class hospitals in SVG. Emergency health care services in this country need to be better equipped. Hospitals must stock all the medicines that people need.

Furthermore, the health system should be free for all Vincentians. We have heard heart-breaking stories of poorer people being forced to go out on the street, in a state of ill-health, and beg people for money for medicines. We have heard how some people are not able to leave hospital until they pay for an ambulance or some private means to transport them home. This is an appalling state of affairs and disrespectful to all Vincentians.

The SVG health service is woefully inadequate. We have seen Gonsalves flying abroad when he required medical attention.  It is the very poor who suffer the most in SVG as they cannot afford the medicines, let alone fly abroad for treatment. Gonsalves’ policies are destroying the health service and there is much concern about abuse of health service assets.

We may get to a stage soon where if you are knocked down in the street and an ambulance is called, they will check your wallet before they check your pulse. Can you afford to pay? Even if you make it to hospital, you may find that they put the stethoscope to your wallet instead of your chest.

We need to create revenue for the country so that we have a proper, free national health service. We cannot have people dying or suffering ill health, just because their wallet is empty. We must provide a suitable free medical care system for all SVG citizens. How can the poor be expected to earn money to feed and care for their families?  And for those who just might have some means, how can we expect them to go out of pocket because they have to spend the little that they have on medicines? This is unacceptable and immoral.

The Leader of SVG Green Party says to pay for a world-class health and medical service in SVG, a Green government would abolish the Mustique Act and end the tax and customs duties exemptions given to the super-rich of Mustique and Canouan, and amend the SVG Fish Act so Taiwan pays taxes to the SVG treasury.

Gonsalves’ economic policy of begging and borrowing is not sustainable and is turning SVG into another Haiti.

There has to be a positive change in our mindset, so that we put the people of SVG first, especially the poor. We need a Green economy to create jobs and a better health service.

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