Fri 14th Nov 2008

Sustainable industries should be engine of SVG economy

The News Newspaper on 7th November 2008, carried an article from the NDP captioned 'Prosperity through Tourism Development'. The ULP has been unsuccessfully practising that policy for the past 7 years. It is mind boggling to find that the NDP leadership is adopting tourism like the ULP for the engine of the SVG economy. SVG Green Party is disagrees strongly with the NDP and the ULP in using tourism as the engine for SVG economy.

SVG Green Party has always strongly supported value-added, manufacturing and education industries as the engine for SVG economy with tourism playing a smaller, complementary role. By fully utilising our vast indigenous resources in a multi-sector, export-driven economy, we will create over 3,000 new sustainable jobs and generate over half a billion dollars in revenue. This will provide the needed change for the SVG economy.

SVG has had 17 years under the NDP trying to justify the use of tourism as the economic engine and then 7 years of the ULP putting all their eggs in to the same one basket - tourism. The consequence of this blindfolded ULP/NDP tourism policy, is that SVG is in economic meltdown. We now have a record trade deficit and a record balance of payments deficit, with unemployment at its highest ever. Small companies are going bust and hundreds of shops are closing down. The rural economy is almost dead.

For PM Gonsalves and the Leader of the Opposition, Arnhim Eustace to be holding on to tourism as the flagship of their economic strategy, shows that they are out of touch with the economic reality of the times. Clearly, both are oblivious to the alternatives to tourism that can build a strong and sustainable economy. It is a duty of government to end poverty, but both the NDP and ULP have failed SVG.

Tourism is wholly unsuitable because 80% of the money made goes to foreign companies. Tourism only offers seasonal, low paid, low skilled jobs, yet the cost of living is high. Tourism pollutes socially, environmentally and culturally. It impinges negatively on water and electricity and is a catalyst for crime in poor economies such as SVG. All of the countries of the Caribbean that have mass tourism as the engine of their economies are listed in the world's top fifteen most indebted countries.

All the countries of the world that have strong economies have vibrant value-added, manufacturing and education industries, with a heavy emphasis on exports. Jobs in these industries are highly paid in comparison to those in tourism. SVG can utilise its human capital more wisely and productively.

The people of SVG need opportunities to get jobs and make their families financial secure. For this, the only way forward is with a Green government. SVG Green Party has the economic competence to deliver sustainable value-added, manufacturing and education industries.

Our citizens have been victims of bad governments and now the people must have a positive change. A Green government understands that people want a better life and more money and only with a strong Green economy will people get opportunities to achieve their dreams of a better life and more money.

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