Life in SVG this year has been tougher than normal. Aside from the longstanding issues of high levels of poverty, crime, unemployment and the very weak economy, we have had to deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19) since March.
This had been much harder to cope with for the many thousands of households that are in serious poverty, and struggle to get by under normal circumstances. The World Health Organisation advises us to wash our hands properly with soap and water on a regular basis, to reduce our chances of catching and transmitting the virus. This is difficult to do for poor families living without a mains water supply.
And as we draw nearer to the end of yet another year, we note that Vincentians’ health has been neglected by the ULP regime for yet another year. If we extend this, we can say that for over 10 years, the general health of Vincentians, especially the poor, has been getting worse because of the under-investment by the ULP regime in the health services and hospitals in SVG.
For over a decade, only about $136 a year per person has been spent on health services. This is a disgrace. Gonsalves’ poor leadership has caused SVG to operate virtually as a failed state and the incompetent financial management has mashed up SVG. The reliance on begging and borrowing has pushed the SVG economy into a dark hole and made Vincentians’ health suffer.
Modern countries with modern economies invest heavily in health and social support. Forward-thinking leaders, those with vision, realise that a healthy nation is a productive nation. A person cannot reach their full potential and be at their most productive if they have bad health.
A stable income is needed for good health, so that people can buy the food their households need. All around the country, we have seen teams of people cutting grass by the road. These people will have a bit of money in their pockets for Christmas, but it is not enough to provide for them only at Christmas time. Our people must eat all year round.
SVG needs a change and a stronger economy, so that people can be employed all year round. People cannot be healthy all year round if they are employed only at Christmas time. It is terrible how the ULP regime mistreats the people of SVG.
Too many Vincentians are dying young of preventable illnesses, some of which are a result of living in extreme poverty. Let us hope that the New Year brings the change that our country desperately needs. The health of our people and the nation needs this boost.
Merry Christmas and may God bless us all.
by Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal BSc (hons), MSc, MBA | Leader of SVG Green Party