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Disgraceful! Is this nation not embarrassed?

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Fri, Mar 9. 2012

Editor: The SEARCHLIGHT newspaper of 02/03 /2012 front page story captioned: LIME PULLS THE PLUG ON POLICE STATIONS, CLINICS: PHONE SERVICE CUT. The article, among other things, states:

“Up to press time Wednesday evening, a number of Government institutions and departments were still without telephone service, after being disconnected by service provider LIME earlier this week.{{more}} For about 24 hours, beginning Tuesday morning, calls could neither be placed from or received by the LIME fixed lines at the majority of the Police Stations, Health Centres, Schools, as well as a number of other Government Departments.”

It is reported that of the 19 District Police stations throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 15 were without telephone service. The 34 Rural Hospitals and Health Centres, were also disconnected (THE NEWS 02/03/2012).

The reason for the above is that Government has not paid its bills for a very long time.

The NEWS newspaper of 20/01/2012 front page story captioned:NO DEEP POCKETS! The article states: “The Central Water and Sewage Authority (CWSA) does not have deep pockets. General Manager Garth Saunders said that the CWSA would like to collect the money owed by Government which amounts to a little under EC$3M. Saunders said: ‘These amounts have been promised, but Government is always slow to pay… Unfortunately for us they feel that the CWSA has deep pockets… The CWSA would like certainly to have a transfer of funds from the Government.’ ”

The NEWS newspaper of 20/01/2012, page 3, captioned: GOVERNMENT AGENCY’S WATER SUPPLY CUT. The article states: “Yet another Government agency has had one of its basic services cut because of lack of payment to the supplier. At a media briefing, West Kingstown MP, Daniel Cummings asked: ‘Do you know that the Kingstown Board is out of water as of last evening because they are not paying their rates and the CWSA had to cut them off?’”

The VINCENTIAN newspaper 02/03/2012, page 13, captioned: CANADA TO OVERHALL REFUGEE SYSTEM: SVG IN THE MIX. The article states: “In an expose late last year, the Toronto Star under the caption ‘SVG- Is this Caribbean Idyll (of a picturesque scene) the worst place in the world to be a woman?’ …’the majority of Vincentians flocking to Canada, seeking refugee status, are women, who it appears are ‘fleeing domestic violence.’

“While Hungary, China, Namibia, Colombia and Mexico are among the top 10 countries from which refugee claims to Canada are made, ‘one of the world’s tiniest nations has started appearing on the list, a place many Canadians couldn’t find on the map; St. Vincent and the Grenadines.’

“The Star said that in 2010, 710 Vincentian sought asylum in Canada, up from 179 in 2001, and that over the past decade, it adds up to more than 4,500 refugee claimants or ‘4.3% of the tiny Caribbean archipelago’s population. ‘Proportionately, it’s as if the entire populations of Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador were to flee Canada’ the paper said.

“Last year (2010), this ‘Jewel of the Caribbean’ ranked 8th in the world for refuge claims to Canada, surpassing India (population 1.2 billion) and Pakistan (population187 million). The population of St. Vincent and the Grenadines an estimated 104 000’ it added.

“ ‘There is something very wrong in the relationship between men and women in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.’ The Star quoted Canadian Federal Court Justice Sean Harrington in a 2009 ruling. ‘Year after year woman after woman washes up on our shores seeking protection from abusive, violent husbands or boyfriends,’ he added.

“The Star charges: ‘It turns out the vacationer’s idyll, with its turquoise (semi-precious stone) and verdant (green, freshly covered) hills is one of the world’s worst places to be a woman. It said over the last decade, ‘more women have been murdered in St. Vincent and the Grenadines than any other country in the nine-member Organization of the Eastern Caribbean states,’ adding that in 2007, the island nation had the third-highest rate of reported rapes in the world, according to UN report.’

“There are no political, religious or social conditions in St. Vincent that justify any Vincentian applying for refugee status,’ St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Consul General to Toronto Steve Phillips, told the Star… ‘The fact Vincentians are making refugee claims is alarming and disgusting for us as a nation.’ He added, stating that those claiming domestic violence are running from financial difficulty, not fists.”

The VINCENTIAN newspaper of 02/03/2012, page 5, captioned: ANOTHER LAWYER’S HOME BURGLARIZED. The article states: “Weeks after the home of lawyer Kay Bacchus-Browne was burglarized, her colleague, attorney, Nicole Sylvester, reportedly encountered two masked men in her bedroom. ..The men reportedly made off with an undisclosed quantity of jewellery and tools. The VINCENTIAN understands that Sylvester has since been traumatized.

Bacchus- Browne was relieved of a 2-cubic ft. safe containing a quantity of cash, jewellery and important documents.”

Ironically, Sylvester’s home was burglarized at a time when the nearest police station, the Questelles Police Station, was out of telephone service. This writer was told that all efforts to reach the Police were by way of the Central Police station.

DEDUCTIONS

The following are a few of the many conclusions that one can arrive at, given the above scenario:

1. That the Country’s

economy is in dire straits

(calamitous, dreadful), in dire warning (ominous), in dire need, (urgent).

Ask any business man or homeowner knows how it feels to have one’s essential services being disconnected for lack of payment or inability to pay for such services. It is generally the most embarrassing experience one can ever have. In the case of business, it shows clearly that the business is not doing well and is likely to be on the verge of or is collapsing; and in the case of the domestic, that the family’s income is either non-existent or inadequate to meet its basic needs.

Too often we hear that some Government Department or Statutory Organization is out of electricity, water or telephone services. Clearly this has to be as a result of lack of money on the part of the Government. This argument is clearly borne out by the Counsul General to Toronto, Steve Phillips when he said: “Those claiming domestic violence are running from financial difficulty, not fists.” (Toronto Star)

2. That crime and criminal activities especially as it relates to domestic violence, rape, burglary and murder has gone out of control. To quote the Toronto Star:

(a) “SVG is the worst place in the world to be a woman, since the majority of Vincentians seeking refugee status are women fleeing domestic violence.”

(b) “In 2010, 710 Vincentians sought asylum in Canada up from only 179 in 2001. Over the past 10 yrs, 4 500 or 4.3% of the population had sought refugee status.” (This is Canada alone.)

(c) “In 2011, SVG ranked 8th in the world for refugee status in Canada, surpassing India with a population of 1.2 billion and Pakistan of 187 million.”

(d) That over the last decade, “more women have been murdered in SVG than in any other country in the nine-member Organization of the Eastern Caribbean states.

(e) “In 2007, “the island nation had the third-highest rate of reported rapes in the world, according to a UN report.”

The burglarizing of the homes of two very prominent Vincentian lawyers within three weeks of each other tells the tale. Ever since these two lawyers appeared as defense lawyers in recently highly sensitive cases, there have been constantly reported treats on their lives in the local newspapers.

The recent sight of burglar bars on the building of the Inland Revenue on the main street, “Back Street”, in the heart of Kingstown, clearly tells a story. When one looks at the Treasury Building on which the sign TREASURY DEPARTMENT is prominently displayed, one sees a broken glass door and an empty space within. This eyesore of a Government owned derelict building has been so for more than a year now. I first saw it in January 2011. One could not ask for a better expression of a “Broken Treasury”. Clearly, “things are bad”. It is disgraceful.

Matthew Thomas

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