ST. VINCENT:- The ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) says it will work toward reducing unemployment in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to 6 per cent by 2020 if elected for a third term in office when Vincentians vote next Monday, Dec. 13.
The party, in its 2010 election manifesto, says its economic approach will focus on competitive economy, sustainable growth, job creation, and social justice, which, it says, are “proposals for a sound economy”.
The ULP has cited National Insurance Services statistics in saying that it has created 10,000 jobs since coming to office in 2001.
It has further said that it has doubled the size of the economy and reduced indigence from 25.7 per cent to 2.9 per cent and general poverty from 37.5 per cent to 30.2 per cent of the population.
The party said a combination of domestic private sector developments, foreign direct investment particularly in tourism, and public sector investments in an increasingly diversified and competitive economy, will produce even more jobs.
The ULP said it is committed to “its quest to build a modern, competitive and diverse postcolonial economy which is at once local, national, regional and global”, a mantra often quoted by party leader and Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves.
Such an economy, the party said, must be sustainable and focused on delivering wealth, jobs, and social justice.
The ULP listed nine features of its economic approach strategy including “the harmonious and effective workings of a mixed economy involving the private, cooperative and State sectors in a non-ideological and practical manner suitable to the circumstances of St .Vincent and the Grenadines”.
The party further said private sector and non-state cooperative enterprises will be at the centre of the economic system “although the economic role of the state ought not to be confined solely to business facilitation and regulation”.
The ULP further identified agriculture, fisheries, tourism, manufacturing, construction, information technology services, and international finance services as the economic pillars under a ULP administration.
“Managing the money with prudence and enterprise” will be the extent of the fiscal policy of a ULP administration.
The party says it has fashioned “a sensible fiscal policy for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, mixing prudence and enterprise in measures appropriate to the changing economic circumstances nationally and internationally but always with a bundle of core benchmarks and central elements”.
The party said that its administration has had to take issues with some of the judgments and prescriptions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), “only to have the IMF acknowledge that we were correct with our assessments and policies”.
It further said that in formulating its fiscal policy it works in concert with the Eastern Caribbean currency Union (ECCU).
“The ULP is managing the money well. Still, the challenges are awesome in this difficult international economic and financial situation,” the party said.
The party said that over the next five years it will provide “an appropriate balance between the conflicting objectives of injecting a fiscal stimulus and maintaining a sustainable debt path.
“Depending on the circumstances, prudence or enterprise will be emphasized while ensuring that they ride in tandem.”
The New Democratic Party led by economist Arnhim Eustace, the main challenger in next week’s polls, said it will release its manifesto on Thursday, Dec. 9.