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Green Party calls on ULP to protect, preserve SVG

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16.FEB.07

Editor: SVG Green Party is very concerned as the negative impact from mass tourism for SVG will significantly outweigh any benefit. The ULP has the wrong approach. Mass tourism does not make the economic cake bigger for every man and woman to benefit and participate directly.

Not having an international airport is a blessing to SVG society. Relying on mass tourism, in the present state of global insecurity and increased competition, will make the economy more vulnerable and volatile. This is common sense.

People from Jamaica and Trinidad are queuing up to come to SVG, and this fact alone shows that mass tourism is a stimulant to increase crime. SVG is seen as a refuge. Mass tourism is not an easy way out and will be very damaging for SVG in the long-term. {{more}}

The ULP policy of taking fertile agricultural land to build holiday homes for tourists will cause a shortage of agricultural land and will threaten food security. We cannot get to a situation where we have to rely upon food imports. To take agricultural land from poorer people for tourism projects, turns Vincentians into modern day slaves for tourists and second class citizens in their own country. This ULP policy is a slap in the face for Vincentians and shows the ULP’s disrespect for the Vincentian nation.

Studies have shown strong correlations between increases in tourist arrivals and crime. Where there are more bars and nightclubs catering for tourists, we see the rise of other ‘services’ such as prostitution and drugs. Sex tourism comes with mass tourism and keeps people in poverty. We see this in Cuba and the Dominican Republic. It exploits locals both economically and racially. The tourist trade also provides an infrastructure for drug trafficking and for laundering drug money. Crime can become a routine activity for marginalised youth. The ULP should not bring mass tourism to SVG.

The Australian government has warned fans attending the Cricket World Cup about high crime rates, warning them “In some parts of the Caribbean, violent crime, including armed robbery, kidnapping and murder is common”.

Pope John Paul II branded mass tourism the new form of exploitation. Mass tourism is seen as the new ‘colonial plantation’ on which locals get exploited for poor wages and seasonal jobs. Seasonal workers face job insecurity, usually with no guarantee of employment from one season to the next, poor housing and working conditions, and difficulties in getting training, employment-related medical benefits, and recognition of their experience.

V. S. Naipaul wrote: “Every poor country accepts tourism as an unavoidable degradation. None of these has gone so far as some of these West Indian islands which, in the name of tourism, have sold themselves into a new slavery”.

SVG Green Party knows that mass tourism will not provide long-term financial security, and the poor will be worst affected. SVG Green Party calls on the short-sighted ULP regime to protect and preserve SVG by cancelling mass tourism. It will destroy our country and brutalise our society.

Ivan O’Neal BSc(Hons), MSc, MBA, Leader and Co-founder of SVG Green Party

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