Apartheid was a system of racial segregation in South Africa, under which the rights, associations, and movements of the majority black inhabitants were curtailed. Apartheid was abolished in South Africa in 1994, but, sadly, apartheid lives on in SVG.
Mustique operates like an apartheid state. The white super-rich live a life of luxury, but there are strict rules and conditions imposed on indigenous Vincentians living in Mustique.
Like South Africa during the days of apartheid and the USA pre-1970s, Mustique has a regime of racial segregation. Generally, it is the indigenous black Vincentians who serve the white, super-rich migrants in Mustique.
Work for many Vincentians in Mustique is low-skilled jobs. It is very difficult to break the chain of generational poverty when people have little or no chance to progress to high-paid, skilled employment. Again, this is like the days of apartheid in South Africa, indigenous people oppressed and controlled by low wages.
Indigenous Vincentians who work in Mustique live apart from the super-rich, segregated in an area known as Lovell Village. Indigenous Vincentians who own property in Mustique cannot rent out their property to earn a few extra dollars, whereas the super-rich foreigners of Mustique can rent out their property. The super-rich foreigners are charging up to EC$135,000 a week in rent for their properties and collectively making billions of dollars.
Indigenous Vincentians who own property in Mustique must seek permission from the super-rich to have a visitor come and stay. They must fill in a form, called the ‘Mustique overnight guest authorisation form, and give it to the apartheid regime for clearance, before they can bring a visitor to their home in Mustique.
This is clearly done to control the movements of people and the policy can be likened to the Pass Laws in apartheid South Africa, 1800-1994. Slaves in South Africa were forced to carry passes so their owners could control their movements. Do the super-rich of Mustique think they own the indigenous Vincentians in Mustique?
The apartheid Mustique Act no 48 of 2002 gives blanket tax and customs duty exemptions to the Mustique super-rich. They can build million dollar mansions and import private jets and yachts into SVG, with extreme concessionary privileges.
This is disgusting and immoral and another example of different rules for the white, super-rich migrants in Mustique and black indigenous Vincentians.
If we stretch the argument, the concessions given to the super-rich of Mustique encourage unemployment, poverty, the closure of many local businesses and our economy being dangerously weak.
Our children are being deprived of a prosperous future because of the greediness of the super-rich of Mustique. These apartheid laws must end, and we must remove these unfair practices from our country for the sake of our children, otherwise we will see mass poverty in SVG for generations.
A Green government would abolish the tax and customs duty exemptions given to the super-rich of Mustique and Canouan and use the money gained from taxing the super-rich to build free, high-quality pre-schools and a science and technology university for SVG’s children.