The ULP regime has been in office since 2001, yet their main economic strategy is still begging and borrowing. Begging and borrowing is a backward mentality and running the economy on begging and borrowing for two decades has created the crime and social instability that we see today in our country.
Leader of SVG Green Party, Warrant Officer Ivan Bertie O’Neal BSc (Hons), MSc, MBA, has been stressing for years the critical need for the SVG economy to be driven by productive sectors with an export orientation. The ULP regime has taken the opposite approach, driving the SVG economy by a policy of begging and borrowing.
The consequence of driving the economy by begging and borrowing is a weak economy and a much poorer society.
The rural economy has been decimated by years of our economy run on begging and borrowing, creating substantial hardship for the poor masses. Social problems such as crime, poverty, high level of unemployment, children dropping out of school, households unable to pay water and electricity bills are widespread. As a nation, things have been going wrong for decades and we must change direction and have productive sectors as the engine of the SVG economy.
Under a Green government, the rural economy would be boosted through linking farmers to guaranteed prices and foreign markets. Industries such as the export of organic vegetables, baby foods, herbal teas and fruit juices would make farmers prosperous. We would create jobs and a stable economy through productive sectors.
The ULP regime policy of begging for university scholarships, rather than building our own university, is short-sighted. Having our own university would enable us to produce a much higher number of graduates each year. In SVG, only about 1 to 2 per cent of each school year goes on to become university graduates.
Also, if we had our own university in SVG, we could create revenue by having foreign students and charging them tuition fees. Foreign students renting accommodation and vehicles would also create revenue for individual households and businesses.
The ULP regime’s reliance on begging and borrowing has led to the SVG economy being vulnerable and highly unstable as there are no industries that can sustain our society. For every dollar exported, SVG imports about 13 dollars and so the ULP regime is just making unemployment worse and our economy weaker.
If we had a variety of productive sectors in SVG and A bought from B, B bought from C, C bought from D, D bought from A, then money would circulate in our economy and this would create jobs. Unfortunately, under the incompetent ULP regime, we have no real productive sectors and A, B, C and D all have to buy from abroad. This drains our economy of money and increases unemployment.
Over the past 20 years, the ULP regime’s economic strategy of begging has not worked, which is why the ULP regime imposes many high taxes upon our people.
Our economy is unstable and dangerously vulnerable. The ULP regime’s begging and borrowing approach has put our country in a permanent state of dependency. We need to have strong productive industries in SVG to give the people jobs and long-term financial security.