KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Senator Vynnette Frederick of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) said last week that some Vincentians women prostitute their daughters to provide for their financial needs.
“The mother who organises for her underage or of age daughter to have sex with the landlord in place of them having to pay rent, that is not fiction, that is something that takes place in this country,” Frederick said during the debate on human trafficking legislations in Parliament on Thursday.
“I want to test this legislation and test it in tandem with existing legislation to make the state react positively to enforce against women who make the decision to put their daughters in that position on the basis of having the position of trust as parents,” said Frederick, who is also a lawyer.
“This legislation, to my mind, will hold such parents to account,” she added.
“Gone are the days when you hold somebody’s salary over their heads in exchange for a little something on the side. So the boss who says that the job is open if certain things happen and the woman who makes the assumption that ‘what to do? I need a job’ [would be held to account and protected accordingly],” Frederick further said.
Government owes private sector $8.82 million
The government owes EC$8.82 million to the private sector and is examining ways to reduce that debt, which does not include monies owed to state-owned companies.
“Daily, the cash position of the government is examined to determine how much cash is available to reduce the stock of payables and to meet our other commitments. Expenditure control measures have also been tightened. They have been approved by the Minister of Finance to ensure that spending is contained within the available resources,” Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr. Ralph Gonsalves told Parliament on Thursday.
Gonsalves further said that the offices of the Director General of Finance and Planning and the Accountant General have been partnering “to maintain at a minimum, arrears to the private sector”.
Indoor sports facility still in the works
The National Lottery Authority (NLA) has already acquired the Anglican School Annex in Kingstown to construct the indoor sporting facility promised by the government during the campaign for last December’s general election.
Minister of Sports Frederick Stephenson told Parliament on Thursday that the NLA has been working with his Ministry and has hired an architect to design the facility.
“It is the commitment of the ULP government to construct this facility and once the designed are completed and approved, work will commence,” Stephenson said.
Royal C’bean second largest employer of Vincies
After the government, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line is the largest employer of Vincentians ordinarily resident here.
The 2,000 Vincentians working with the company are more than the 1,500 and 1,000 employed on the Grenadines islands of Canouan and Mustique respectively.
“In fact, though a complete analysis has not been done, the date indicate that the value provided by those 2,000 persons on one cruise line to St. Vincent is more than what the cruise ships currently provide to St. Vincent,” Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves told Parliament on Thursday.
“That’s a vital niche. A lot of people don’t talk about it and we have to try to maintain it,” Gonsalves added as he noted competition from India and El Salvador.
The government on Thursday amended the National Insurance Act to allow Vincentian sailors to contribute to the social security programme.