The ULP regime has focused on tourism since 2001, and since that time to the present, our economy has only become weaker. Tourism has failed in SVG, and so too in the Caribbean region in general. It has no hope of bringing prosperity.
It is clearly madness to continue to try to run the SVG economy on tourism, when the past two decades have proved that tourism is unable to make our economy strong. Unemployment and poverty is still high in SVG after two decades of focusing on tourism. Tourism cannot and will never be able to offer our people long-term, high-paid jobs and prosperity.
In recent years, two things have illustrated just how weak and vulnerable our economy is – Covid-19 and high energy costs.
During the Covid-19 outbreak the whole world stopped travelling. As our economy is based mainly on tourism, this led to a drop in income for our country. And, as the economy is too focused on tourism, there was nothing else with which to replace that loss. Yet again, government went begging and borrowing to try to avoid economic collapse.
At present, countries around the world are facing high energy costs. The reality is that people in richer countries have to make cutbacks, to save money to pay for their energy costs and put away dreams of luxuries such as holidays.
Again, as our economy is based mainly on tourism, this will lead to a drop in income for our country, and because there is nothing else to replace that loss of income with, government will be begging and borrowing to try to avoid economic collapse.
This economic weakness and vulnerability are not present in richer economies and economies not purely focused on tourism. During Covid-19, and over this time of high energy prices, these economies were not weakened to the point of collapse, since richer countries have more diverse economies, not purely focused on tourism. Tourism is a small part of their economy.
SVG must do the same – diversify and develop new, strong economic sectors to make our economy strong and not vulnerable.
In richer countries, knowledge and technology are the engine of the economy, not tourism. A Green government would put knowledge and technology at the heart of the SVG economy to make it strong.
With a strong economy based on knowledge and technology, our people would get high-paid, long-term jobs. With a strong economy based on knowledge and technology, our country has a better chance of staying strong, even when there is economic turbulence. This will protect us from the frailties and dependence that are inherent on tourism.
Our children deserve a prosperous future and knowledge and technology can bring them a prosperous future. However, as a nation, we must be pro-active in making this happen. This means having a coherent strategy to create a strong economy and revenue for the SVG Treasury.
The ULP regime cannot revive the SVG economy with tourism, because people from rich countries have less money and have cut back on travelling. SVG Green Party believes in modernising the SVG economy, so that it is based on knowledge and technology.