In a recent article published by the media company Breadfruit News, the NDP regime promised to rebuild the Ottley Hall Marina and Shipyard.
This announcement by the party leader Dr. Godwin Friday is yet another example of day-dreaming and financial recklessness, and why the NDP cannot be trusted with SVG’s public finances.
For those old enough to remember, Ottley Hall was a failed development project that began under an NDP administration. The idea was to establish a marina, shipyard and other facilities at Ottley Hall. It turned out to be a financial fiasco and an illustration of the NDP’s financial incompetence and lack of due diligence.
Ottley Hall saddled with debt according to Court judgment
According to a summary of the background of the events provided by Justice Gertel Thom, in her written judgment of 23rd June 2011, money was fraudulently siphoned off and the Ottley Hall funds ran out. The project was not complete, was a financial disaster, and the NDP Government was saddled with a crippling and unsustainable debt of several million dollars. A court judgment was obtained in England against the NDP Government as guarantor, in respect of the unpaid capital and interest and costs.
SVG Green Party calls on Friday to publish the cost-benefit analysis to show that pumping millions of taxpayers’ money into the failed Ottley Hall Marina and Shipyard will lead to a sustainable income. Before wasting millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money, it is only prudent to do a cost-benefit analysis, and we asked Friday to publish the financial figures that show the: benefits of a going ahead with this project; costs associated with going ahead with this project; measurable financial metrics such as revenue earned or costs saved as a result of the decision to pursue this project; analysis to evaluate all the potential costs and revenues that might be generated from the project; assessment to show whether the project is financially feasible; opportunity cost of going ahead with this project, i.e. what are the alternative benefits that could have been realised when choosing to do something else with this money.
The people of SVG cannot begin to trust Friday with the SVG public finances, unless he publishes a cost-benefit analysis about this project, with the above information. Let the public see this information and prove that this is not just another rubbish idea.
In terms of funding this Ottley Hall dream, The Breadfruit News article goes on to report that Friday says, “We will find the money.” This is another illustration of day-dreaming. What is Friday planning to do – dig up the sand at Indian Bay and find some secret treasure? Someone needs to tell Friday that ‘finding money’ only happens in children’s books. The book Treasure Island by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson is fiction, not real life.
The fact that Friday plans to go back to this failed project shows that the NDP lacks ideas and the innovation needed to create a strong and sustainable economy in SVG. SVG needs to move forward, and it is clear that we cannot do this under Friday and ludicrous, pie-in-the-sky ideas.
Let us not return to the dark days of a wasteful NDP regime recklessly throwing away millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money on useless projects. Ottley Hall illustrates the financial incompetence of the NDP regime. It is foolish for Friday to try to restart the Ottley Hall project, and he should resign, as it is questionable whether he is serious about sustainable development in SVG.
Green Party promises education
For economic success and prosperity for our people, we must follow the Singapore model of development and elect a Green Government.
Since 2005, SVG Green Party has stressed the importance of having a university in SVG and educating our people. We have always said that the best way to build a strong economy is to have a highly-educated population, as this will attract foreign investment.
At a meeting with CARICOM leaders in April 2015, the then President of the USA Barack Obama repeated SVG Green Party’s university message to the CARICOM leaders. Using Singapore as an example, Obama told the CARICOM leaders that if they had a highly-educated workforce, they will attract a lot of foreign investment.
SVG Green Party Leader, Mr Ivan O’Neal, BSc (Hons.), MSc, MBA, worked in Singapore for a number of years and learnt from his time there that a science and technology university, high-quality education and adopting the Singapore development model is the way to create jobs and prosperity for our people.