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Not in the manifesto?

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Tue, Jan 10. 2012

Editor: The report of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that was published after its officials visited Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in July 2011 and held consultations with government, contains some rather disturbing revelations that will have serious implications and dire consequences for our country and people.{{more}}

The Public Information Notice (PIN) No. 11/42, which was released by the IMF on November 23, 2011, reveals a number of policy initiatives and actions that were proposed by our government and shared with the IMF team during their consultations, as the means of confronting and tackling the economic difficulties and other challenges facing our country. These proposals include government’s resolve to:

1. introduce market based property taxes;

2. strengthen revenue administration;

3. contain public sector wage bill;

4. limit transfers to state owned enterprises; and

5. rationalize spending on goods and services.

These are serious austerity measures that have been proposed by government. And, if one is to judge from similar interventions in other countries like Dominica, Jamaica, Greece and Portugal, the result will be increased taxes, lay-offs of workers, spending cuts, reduced pensions, cost of living increases and many other unwelcomed consequences.

Vincentians, band yo’ belly; tighten yo’ belts!

But, why was this information not given to us by our government? Why did we have to get it from the IMF?

Why were these revelations not in the government’s party manifesto? That’s more than passing strange. The manifesto is the formal instrument, or document, in which a political party specifies all the plans and programmes that it will undertake when it gets into office (power).

Are we seeing a redefinition of Democracy and Transparency?

I, for one, have been looking to see where in the ULP manifesto it had been recorded that:

1. A ULP government would ever become involved in Cocoa, but more importantly, the government would grant exclusive rights for cocoa to a foreign company;

2. The banana farmers Credit system would be taken away, and the industry disbanded;

3. ULP high-ups would be granted very lucrative contracts with no properly defined job descriptions, or terms of service;

4. Selected ministers and/or party high-ups would have the absolute right to set up their own company or companies that will have primary access to certain ministries’ funds and government transfers to statutory bodies, e.g. the Tourism Authority.

These developments are indeed worrying. Deception and Corruption are rife. People wake up!

Lennox E. A. Daisley

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