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Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves (File photo).

NEW YORK, USA – Vincentians here were on Saturday told that their compatriots at home face many of the same problems they face in the United States.

And Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves identified five issues to which the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) will pay particular attention as the country grapples with the effects of the global economic crisis.

Gonsalves, speaking at a town hall meeting in Brooklyn, said that his Unity Labour Party government has to ensure that there is financial stability.

He mentioned the banking, insurance and credit unions systems, and the Building and Loans Society, saying, “We have to make sure that the financial system is in order.

“You in the United States, you understand that well. Because that is why you are having the problems you are having in this country,” he added.

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Gonsalves’ government will also pay attention to fiscal rebalancing and fiscal consolidation in the central government accounts.

“We have to be prudent at the same time as being enterprising and we have to make wise choices and wise decisions,” said Gonsalves, who is also minister of finance.

His government, Gonsalves further said, had to do things that focus on economic growth, adding that the government cannot focus on fiscal rebalancing and fiscal reconsolidation and not tackle economic growth.

“That’s what some people want to do in America,” he commented and said that U.S. President Barack Obama disagrees with this view hence the stimulus package and the jobs bill.

He further noted that the head of the U.S. Federal Reserves is trying to ensure that less debt is reflected on the balance sheet of financial institutions that have invested in U.S. government bonds.

“We have to go for economic growth,’ Gonsalves further said of his government five points of focus.

“We have to go for building the infrastructure. That is why you see these things, which are happening with the airport, the schools [that] we are building, the housing programme and so on and so forth. The infrastructure must be built,” he said.

Gonsalves said that his government would also address social development issues such as education, health, and poverty reduction.

“So, the issues, which you are dealing with here [in the United States], we have to grapple with them at home. But we have to grapple with them at home, where the situation is even more serious. That’s the point. And we have to get our population to understand that.”

He said that sometimes, because of the things his government is still doing, Vincentians at home might feel that situation is not as difficult as it really is.

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