Fri 28th Nov 2014

Is SVG competing with Haiti as the poorest nation?

It is well known that Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, but is SVG competing with Haiti to be the poorest nation. About 6 years ago, Gonsalves compared SVG to Haiti, and after 13 years of ULP regime economic incompetence, there are now many similarities between SVG and Haiti.

Food insecurity and hunger are chronic issues in Haiti. In SVG, thousands of households struggle to feed themselves and regularly do not know how they will find food the next day. Many children of the poor go to school on an empty belly. The issue of food insecurity is such a big problem in SVG, that Praedial larceny - the theft of agriculture produce - is a major concern.

Thousands of Haiti’s poor live in dilapidation and misery. Travelling throughout SVG, one can see many areas of dilapidation. Poor families have been forced to live in hardship and poverty, because the ULP regime has failed to create mass employment and stimulate significant economic growth.

The rubbish and dilapidated shacks near the Cenotaph at the Remembrance Day Parade, Kingstown, on 9th November 2014, illustrates that the ULP government barely functions. Focused on the airport for tourists, the government has grossly neglected the needs of the Vincentian poor.

In Haiti, thousands of households have no mains supply of electricity and drinking water. In SVG, the same is true, the poor having had their electricity and drinking water supply cut off because the prices are so high.

An analysis by the World Bank highlights the reasons for Haiti poverty being no or low incomes, poor access to credit, low educational levels, inequality of access to inputs — water, electricity, good land — and economic decline. They may as well had been talking about SVG!

A once glorious nation, our country has fallen to ruin under the incompetent ULP regime. Yes, officially, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, but seeing all the filth, squalor, poverty, hardship, unemployment, crime and begging in SVG, it is clear that SVG is a close second.

When the Leader of SVG Green Party, Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal, served with the British Royal Air Force in Singapore in 1963, Singapore was virtually a swamp, covered in filth and dilapidation.

Within 10 years of their 1965 Independence, Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, using high-quality education as the engine of the Singapore economy and having built a number of universities, attracted vast amounts of direct foreign investment and boosted employment.

In Singapore, the primary school curriculum is focused on mathematics and science. Singaporean students consistently rank in the top five in the world in the two major international assessments of mathematics and science knowledge.

Singapore has the highest number of millionaire households per capita and topped the charts for highest GDP per capita in 2010, at close to EC$152,636 (USD $56,532), according to a study in the Wealth Report 2012.

The incompetent ULP regime has chosen to compete with Haiti for the poorest nation title, devastating our economy and creating a high level of crime, poverty and unemployment. A Green Government will follow the innovative route of Singapore. We will focus on high-quality education and invest in universities and technical institutes. This will boost the economy, create mass employment and reduce crime and poverty.

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