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Arnhim Eustace: We have precious little to celebrate

Arnhim Eustace: We have  precious little to celebrate

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Fri, Oct 22, 2010


The people of our beloved country St. Vincent and the Grenadines will celebrate our 31st Anniversary as an independent Nation on October 27, 2010.

Each year at this time, our people reflect on the state of our Nation. We ponder over what has transpired in the past year and make a determination as to whether we have made progress as a nation. We also examine the performance of those who have been given the responsibility to manage and govern this country. We make our own assessments of their performance to determine whether our country has progressed or not during the past year.{{more}}

This 31st anniversary of our independence is no different. I say categorically that as a Nation we are in a worse position. For two consecutive years now we have had negative growth in our economy and we are heading for a third year of similar performance.

Our people are deeply concerned about the crime situation in our country particularly the significant increase in theft i.e. crimes against property which can also be linked to our poor economic performance.

Our people are worried about the poor performance of our health services, the constant drug shortages and the absence of other basic amenities at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) and our District Health Clinics.

Our people recognize the rampant victimization of many public sector workers which continues unabated with negative implications for our country as a whole.

Our people are angered and embarrassed that in the month of our 31st Anniversary of independence that we have lost control of one of our symbols of Nation’s pride namely – the National Commercial Bank. They are even more angry now that they recognize the bank’s loans to the government and its statutory bodies have not been repaid. The fact that these loans were not being repaid resulted in the bank having little liquidity to provide loans to its clients, the government was, therefore, forced to approach the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to borrow a large sum of $100 million to reduce public sector debt in the bank.

Our people are angry that the tax-payers of this country and not the National Commercial Bank (NCB) will have to repay the $100 million. Our people are embarrassed that the government was, therefore, forced to sell the bank in order to get the loan of $100 million. Our people now recognize the bank failed because of mismanagement by the current administration.

Many of our people are worried about the question of public sector corruption in our country as can be seen in the reports of the Director of Audit, including the latest episode in the Ministry of Health.

Many in our country also regret the continuing and obvious spiritual and moral decline in our nation which is a particularly important problem that needs to be tackled by all of us Vincentians.

The fact is that we have precious little to celebrate at this our 31st year of our independence except the fact that we are alive.

I wish to advise our people not to panic, be positive, keep hope alive, put your trust in our God who is all powerful, all knowing and all seeing. He will address our problems with positive effort on our path. He will bring us to the promised land of prosperity, morality and grace. THANK YOU.