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A public conversation I wish to have with the leadership of the PSU



by Tyrone Jack
PSU member.

Re: your comment -“….“represent one further Step in the Creation of a failed State”!

Brothers and Sisters, the credibility of the leadership of the Public Service Union (PSU) sank to an all time low with its public statement carried in the newspaper dated 28th January, 2011 under the Caption “Amendment Bills an affront to our system of Justice”, says PSU, suggesting, that the amendment will compromise the Justice System and democratic institutions; a position that most right-thinking public servant do not agree with.{{more}} Cools Vanloo again exposed his hand when he he claimed that this action of the government “represent one further Step in the Creation of a failed State”. How astounding!

What exactly does it mean to be a failed state?

Brothers and Sisters, this may be described as a state where the Government that is incapable of meeting the most elementary functions of governance. A failed state is most readily identified by the existence of rampant corruption and criminality in the state apparatus, massive human rights violations, rigged elections, predatory elites with protracted monopoly on power, an absence of the rule of law, severe ethnic divisions and sectarianism, deep economic crises and a significant refugee problem caused by political persecution, among other factors. Somalia is the classic failed state; it no longer has in existence institutions or governance structures that perform basic functions or public services such as security, education, health, transportation etc.

Let us question the assertion of Cools Vanloo and & co. Will it hold muster?

Q.1: Have the governmental machinery and political institutions taken measures over the past ten years which have made it more corrupt, to the a point where they have become ineffective in performing basic governmental functions? Absolutely not!

Transparency International rates St. Vincent and the Grenadines as one of the most sanitized nations. In 2009, it ranked SVG, 31 of 180 nations for the indicator on corruption, this perception compares favorably with what existed during the life of the previous regime, where for example, Freedom House did mention that US authorities had accused “high-level government officials [of being] involved in narcotics-related corruption,” in 1995. The British Government refused to give debt relief on 12 million dollars with one of the criteria being the state of corruption.

One remembers chartered accountant Gordon Moreau of Dominica taking the stand during the Ottley Hall inquiry, testifying that having looked at several pertinent documents of the project and seeking assistance from local and regional experts to examine certain financial aspects of the project, they made the conclusion that although the quest by anyone to create investment and jobs could cause them to make unwise decisions, the principles of control and of prudence in the Ottley Hall case, in their opinion, were violated beyond the limits of pardonable error.

Didn’t this disappearing 200 million dollars cause a massive jump in our external debt, and move us toward an economically failed state? While you are at it, Mr. Vanloo, I believe you are an Economist, so think of the rate of interest that public servants were ask to pay on this loan. How would it have affected our overall loan interest payments today?

Q. 2: Is Cools Vanloo saying that public and governmental institutions and processes are now manipulated and distorted for the singular purpose of maximizing the survivability of a Ralph Gonsalves dynasty?

Q.3: Is he saying that “Ralph” has taken steps to populate judicial institutions with political hacks who decide matters through corrupt practices and pursuant to political instructions?

Q.4: Is the constitution of SVG being ignored by ruling elite?

Q.5: Where is the evidence that elections are rigged and stolen in broad daylight?

Q.6: Is Mr. Vanloo claiming that corruption is so rampant in every aspect of public life, and that all lucrative government contracts and transactions are given to businessmen with ties to the regime, that the tendering system is ignored and business transaction of any worth in the country are given to cronies of the ULP leadership for under the table cuts.

Q. 7: Brothers and sisters, did the latest Country poverty assessment conducted by Kairi Consultant show that SVG had sunk deeper into poverty? Did it show the gap between the rich and the poor widening? Please Cools, explain the movement of the Gini Coefficient from 5.6 to 4.02!

Q8: Has Saint Vincent and the Grenadines become rooted at the bottom of the region’s economic ladder?

Q. 9: Did this country (as it did between 1998 and 2001) see its debt to GDP jump by over 20 % points with nothing tangible to show for the significant increase? Do we now have the highest Debt to GDP ratio in the region?

Q.10: Did Primary Health Care become inaccessible to the public, because most professionals migrated?

q.11: This is a bonus question, Cools Vanloo. Are you saying that SVG is now listed on more International Black Lists than in 2001?

These in the minds of right thinking Vincentians would be indicators of a failing State.

Brothers and Sisters, permit me to provide Mr. Vanloo & co in the leadership of our union with additional relevant best practice and good Governance information as a public good.

The international body known as “eStandards Forum” promotes a sound, transparent, and equitable global economy. It collects and disseminates, as public good, information on countries’ compliance with global best practice standards.

On the indicator Political environment Government & Civil liberties it rates the trend in SVG as positive. On the Economy in the area of infrastructure, and the Energy Sector, and Business Environment – openness to Foreign Investment our trends were described as stable. When one looked at Human Capital, we are stable with life expectancy increasing to 73.9 years and rising and infant mortality rate being 14.7/ 1000, and decreasing, adult literacy rate 88.1 and rising. In its 2010 report, Freedom House has designated St. Vincent and the Grenadines as “free” and has assigned it a rating of two out of seven for political rights and one out of seven for civil rights. (The lower the rating the higher the degree of political and civil liberties). Freedom of expression and the press are observed. In SVG, the press is independent. The television stations are privately owned. The government does not monitor e-mail correspondences or chat rooms nor does it block web sites. Freedom House ranks St. Vincent and the Grenadines 21 of 196 in last years Freedom of the Press survey. With the additional rating from Transparency International of being one of the most sanitized nations, I ask, where then, is the evidence of further “steps in the Creation of a Failed State”!?, Mr. President?

This challenge is yours, Mr. Vanloo. You can exculpate yourself. Just answer any of the questions above truthfully with credible evidence in the affirmative.…You can’t! Can you? …You, therefore, owe the membership of the PSU and the Nation an apology and you ought to resign from the distinguished office of President, of the PSU.

Finally, Mr. President, so that you are no longer misguided, I believe that most right thinking PSU members accept the explanation on the amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code as was so capably espoused by Hon. Saboto Ceasar and Dr. Gonsalves during the debate in the Parliament, by PR Campbell on the Law and you TV program, and by the DPP Collin Williams on several radio stations. We see through the many specious arguments, prudently we therefore distance our self from your madness.

Tyrone Jack is Pharmacist and a member of the Public Service Union for over 25 years( tel. # 4562293 or 4543217