(Excerpts of the Hon. Terrance Ollivierre’s presentation at a virtual Meeting)
Any time a government chooses to blame the opposition for its failure to deliver on its promises to the citizens, it is a clear indication that it has outlived its usefulness. It is time for strong, clear, sober, leadership to transform the economy of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It is time to rally around the NDP. It is time to rally around Dr. Friday and his team.
Are you satisfied with the governance of the Unity Labour Party (ULP)? I am not! What we have seen for nineteen years under the ULP administration are: high cost of living, victimization, lack of accountability, lack of opportunities for youth development, a stagnant economy and a staggering unemployment rate. The IMF has stated that unemployment among young people stands at 46%, and it is especially high among secondary school graduates. It points to the failure of a ‘Revolution in Education’. An NDP government will embark on the re-engineering of the education system through quality, access and technological advancement for the development of the economy, which will create opportunities and jobs for our young people.
Never in the history of this country have the roads been in such deplorable condition. I find it bold face that now general elections are close, that this government is now rushing and feverishly fixing some dilapidated roads which we were forced to use over the years. How long and how often have you heard Dr. Friday complain about roads in his constituency, for example, the road at Bluff point? As a matter of fact, he highlighted some of the most dilapidated roads throughout the country in his budget presentation this year. This is a blatant insult to Vincentians. As you know, some of them will never be repaired before the general elections, no matter how hard they try.
Further, the Terminal at the Bequia Airport has turned into a rundown dilapidated building, the condition of which, I am sure that many persons who have to use it will be astonished. What are you saying to visitors and natives alike? Union Island Airport is also left to deteriorate. There are electrical problems, security problems, leaking roof, and most shameful of all are the placement of buckets of water in the washroom for cleaners to use. We cannot sink lower than that. We have hit rock bottom. Could you believe in this day and age people have to work under such conditions? That is the mess that the ULP has created.
Since 2003, I have been complaining about the Canouan wharf – sixteen years of constant lobbying. Year after year is the same thing, estimates after estimates, plan after plan, promises after promises to fix it but it remains the same. The people of Canouan are suffering. They are the ones who have to use it. The condition of the wharf is disgraceful. During the rainy season which we are happy for, we play hop scotch and in the dry season we have to cover up and look like Arabs in the desert from the dust. This situation cannot be a healthy one.
Similarly, the landing platform at the Mayreau wharf is another disaster waiting to happen. Several persons have narrowly escaped serious injuries there. Mayreau residents have already secured funding to help to fix the problem, but the Port Authority is not co-operating and everything has gone into limbo.
An NDP government will embark on port development on the islands. We will construct terminal buildings where persons waiting on the boats can shelter and get relief from the elements of the weather. These buildings will be built with recreational areas and transformed into economic hubs, with small shops, boutiques and craft shops, etc. will be available thus giving young people the opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial skills and setting up of small businesses, all geared towards job creation.
There are always problems with water in the Grenadines in the dry season. When residents construct their houses, they also build their water tanks. As far as I am aware, no government as such has ever been responsible for providing public water supplies to households in the Southern Grenadines. It is a clear indication the ULP has no intention to develop any water system in the Southern Grenadines and doesn’t see it as their responsibility. The NDP has always put the people of the Grenadines at the heart of any development and, as we have always done, we will implement any initiative towards job creation and a better way of life. Hence, an NDP will introduce desalination plants throughout the Grenadines.
According to the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, there are vulnerable regions, including small island states, that have populations that are at high risks and can suffer adverse consequences due to global warming, because of their dependencies on coastal livelihoods. Case in point: Salt Whistle Bay, Mayreau, one of our most precious jewels and gems, renowned and known worldwide for its exquisite beauty and tranquility. Years of complaints as to its destruction have gone on without attention until the situation became critical. The people of Mayreau were forced into action to save what is important to them.
The government said that they have created a ‘mess’ in the work that they have done. What they have concluded to be a ‘mess’, is what most likely have Salt Whistle Bay in tack today. The short-term measure should have already started and nearing completion and all relevant studies should have been near completion for implementation of a long-term solution, but sadly it is not so.
We must stop the neglect. The best way of doing so is to vote them out. We must ‘geh rid ah dem’. We must vote for the NDP, so we can make SVG work for all Vincentians.