LAYING THE FOUNDATION
You cannot have significant change without good leadership. True leadership must lead to changes that translates into social betterment, so we must first get our house in order! The SVG Party believe we are the only party to instil realistic, transparent, measurable and much needed change.
Inward Investment – The only way (there is no other way) to progress St Vincent and the Grenadines is to inwardly invest in ourselves. We need a competent, healthy, employed workforce. We must also become more resilient to natural forces of nature, and to global warming. Also we must become more self-sufficient, if we are to survive as a nation.
Specifically, for the people, and the economic and social development of the country, the SVG Party will inwardly invest to the tune of at least $100 million dollars per year. This money will not cost nor come from the country. We have already identified avenues where we can secure these additional sources of revenue.
We must ensure that the actions we take do not succumb to internal or external influences because we have not taken all required and necessary actions. We beleive we must start at the top and make sure those responsible for the countries decisions are held accountable. Therefore, transparency, accountability, confidence and trust must be the priorities for us to succeed. In our first 100 days we have set out below the actions we will commence.
OUR FIRST 100 DAYS:
Legal and Judicial – Until we are on a transparency footing we cannot have or legal entities investigating themselves. So, we will bring in a team of legal representatives from respected overseas practices to fully investigate outstanding irregularities and to investigate the awarding of all government contracts with, the sole purpose to explore all issues surrounding land disputes, current and historical legal disputes, historical complaints, complaints against those in authority and, to investigate all alleged legal irregularities from/by the judicial services. The intention is for a clean slate by turning a light on the truth.
Law and Order – We are sorry to say whilst, we believe there are many dedicated officers we also believe there are many in the police service who have been corrupted. Until we resolve the issue we will bring in the army to patrol the country until every police member has been interviewed and reapplied for their position. We cannot have a situation of the police investigating themselves so all investigations and reemployment offers will be the responsibility of the Ombudsman.
Accountability – The Ombudsman department will be a brand new department. The Ombudsman will be independent officer(s) of Parliament with responsibility to investigate the actions of public authorities including State Government Departments, Prisons, Hospitals, Educational facilities and Local Government. Where issues are identified the Ombudsman will seek to put them right. All findings will be made public and the Ombudsman will report directly to the Prime Minister and to the Opposition Party Leader to ensure continued transparency throughout.
New Laws and Legislation – We must protect our citizens, boost the economy and make ourselves accountable to those we serve.
There is a great need to make our country safe especially, for women, children, tourists and all law a-bidding citizens. We must also ensure we address the reasons behind crimes, reduce the levels of crime and make sure those affected are confident to not only report crime but also have trust and faith in the reporting of crime and the judicial process and services. The SVG Party will take all necessary steps to introduce new laws and legislation to combat criminal activity.
New laws for firearms and ammunition will be introduced with minimum sentences for those caught in position of either. We will retract laws to make all firearms illegal except for members of the police and army.
We will amend the latest legislation and decriminalise possession of marijuana. We will ensure those wanting to grow marijuana can grown it legally once registered (not just for medicinal purposes.) previous convictions for possession ( up to 9 ounces) will be quashed.
New laws will be introduced for those driving uninsured, or without a licence. Legislation will be implemented to regulate public transport safety. Curtsy and awareness courses will be compulsory for all public transport drivers. We will bring in additional legislation for person to sue drivers and companies for being injured or killed by negligence whilst using public transport. We will also bring in legislation that controls music levels in vans during school times.
New protection and harassment laws and legislation will be implemented for those who harass or have been convicted of offences against women, with offenders having to complete domestic abuse courses before being allowed back in the home environment. The SVG Party is a protector of women and children.
New laws will be introduced to track those convicted of offences against children. Compulsory training in child protection will be required for all those that have access to our children and our youth. New laws and legislation to ensure children are fully protected will be actioned.
A charge of manslaughter will be given to those knowing infecting another with the HIV virus. At the same time we will introduce legislation for anyone to be able to sue health services for negligence. Communities will be made aware of those returning that have been expelled by other countries (for serious offences) who are moving into their areas.
Investing in the Nations Health and Well-being – It all begins with education in schools and also to the wider public. We need to educate our youth and change their eating habits. We should work towards a health-conscious and nutritionally balanced nation. We need to look at our past eating habits and incorporate them for the 21st century. Food security is a must and by utilising our abundant seasonal, fruits and vegetables, we can begin to reduce the 400 million dollars worth of foods we import each year. By doing this we will also be creating additional jobs. We have a great heritage and we perform well but we must realise some of the specific health issues effecting our citizens mainly from imported foods.
We have an almost hidden epidemic with AIDS which isn’t getting the attention it deserves. We have a huge diabetes problem that also need attention and our people need additional and consistent education. Our health services also need a total overhaul and continual training of nursing staff is a must. Let us promote and export our attributes to the world and make St Vincent and the Grenadines a nation of healthy individuals and the health jewel in the Caribbean crown.
The Economy – We can only boost the economy by having people in work. We especially need our youth to be in employment. So we will create opportunities for this to happen. Wether it be opening of factories, training for specific employment or retraining, we need to grow the economy by employment. We must ensure our workforce is work-ready and employable. With a healthy, trained and educated workforce, the economy and the country will grow.
With our inward investment programs we will boost the economy by investing heavily in infrastructure and transport projects, Agriculture and seeking new routes to market. Opportunities in the Green and Blue industries and economies, We need to encourage the smaller businesses and helping start-up businesses to commence. We will create a brand new department specifically focused on Marketing and Sales. If you have a business or create a business the SVG Party will promote YOU!
Tourism – With adverse weather conditions, health epidemics or negative influences and impacts from outside, we can no longer be reliant on tourism. Therefore, we need to invest and expand opportunities in agriculture, homegrown products and produce. We should be taking full advantage of solar, water and wind energies and utilising our other islands for all renewable energy sources. Also we need to boost tourism opportunities and begin to cater for the new breed of traveller by encouraging and investing in continual green related activities and take advantage and protect our blue economy by utilising our 200 miles of surrounding waters.
The need for New Trading Partners – Taiwan takes about EC$2 billion annually from SVG’s High Seas Fish Licence. It also uses our national flag on its fishing vessels in international waters. Taiwan has failed to seriously invest in SVG or create strong sustainable industries. Taiwan has not built one factory in SVG. Taiwan is technology-advanced, but has not provided SVG with any technology transfer. Taiwan has not set up any trade deals to help SVG export to Taiwan. Taiwan has not imported one dollar of goods from SVG companies, in over 38 years. Taiwan’s presence in SVG is holding back our economy. The economy of SVG is weak and the people are suffering. Taiwan does not pay any tax in SVG. Taiwan is not adding any value, and is bleeding the country dry. Seven countries have cut ties with Taiwan in the past three years. It is time we also cut ties with Taiwan.
Is China a better option? We say NO! – China uses economic incentive to control the policy of other nations. This is not new to China. Beijing’s investment policy for years of Infrastructure and investment projects are often used as leverage – particularly with poorer nations. And always in places where it serves China’s purposes.
The EU see CELAC as the best vehicle for the future although they cannot match the pace and content Beijing is now offering the countries of the Caribbean. The Caribbean will not be a major importer of China’s goods. China’s support needs to be better directed towards the region’s development needs, and less to Chinese companies and the promotion of Chinese values. Chinese financial largesse does not come without its price as China insists on using its own contractors and labourers, bringing few employment benefits to the recipient nation.
Given the strings attached to the Chinese financing, the benefit that the region seeks to derive from Chinese construction projects is therefore very questionable. Moreover, given the relative negotiating strength of the parties, it is evident that the Caribbean nations lack the means to leverage better contractual terms with the Chinese, the inevitable result being that construction contracts are always skewed in favour of the Chinese contractors.
The UK, Europe and Other Caribbean Islands – The SVG Party will be looking to expand and open ‘trade’ with the UK, Europe and Caribbean Islands closer to home. No longer will we be slaves, defined or dictated to by those who simply show us the colour of their money but have little consideration of our plight. Therefore, the SVG Party will create a new Ministry of Land, Survey, Health, Environment and Food Production. Whose remit will be to look after the health of our nation, expand agricultural markets to create a better food, health and conscious profitable environment for all Vincentians.
The Diaspora and Garifuna – Last but by no means least, Our friends and family in the diaspora. We need your help. We can only succeed if everyone becomes actively involved. Please use your influence, contacts and support us in helping to make change. This is a pivotal and historical moment in the history of St Vincent and the Grenadines. 40 years of independence sounds great but where has it got us other than spiralling debt and a country almost going backwards in economic growth and development. We can do better. We deserve better and together, we can make it better.
Conclusion – In canvassing the population certain concerns and issues revealed themselves. Chief among them was the lack of employment and employment opportunities. This ensured that the levels of poverty and the numbers of poor are also high. Together th main causes of crime, therefore, are unemployment and its attendant poverty. We believe the current Government’s glaring lack of integrity, absence of accountability and known citizen victimisation is a contributing factor to the rise in crimes. Because the people are forced to be unproductive and consequently hungry, they have become politically apathetic. They have no expectation that their situation would improve if either the current administration or the official opposition secure victory at the impending elections. St Vincent and the Grenadines demands and deserves so much more. It needs complete transparency in all aspects of government and this includes our Ambassadors who represent the country overseas. We should never forget a government should work for the people and not for self-serving individuals
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