KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Chairman of the New Democratic Party (NDP) Dr. Linton Lewis has blamed the Unity labour Party administration for the crime situation in this country, saying that government policies have made Vincentians poorer.
Lewis, speaking at an NDP rally in Overland Tuesday night, said that the Dr. Ralph Gonsalves government has not allocated enough of the country’s resources to agriculture and tourism.
“They say agriculture is important. They say we have an agricultural economy but … agriculture only come seventh in the amount of money that we allocate. Tourism is eight,” Lewis said.
“… but a lot of money is spent on national security, … on a police station in Georgetown and … on a prison at Belle Isle that is empty at this time — wastage [by] the government of this country,” he said.
Lewis further said that while there is nothing wrong with spending money in these areas, the government should prioritise.
He further said the government is responsible for the “black sigatoka problem” and claimed that 1,600 and 405 acres of fruit have been affected by the disease, as reported by the government
Lewis further blamed the ULP administration for “the demise of the banana industry”, the closure of the Owia Fisheries Complex, and “the problems in arrowroot”.
“The government is responsible for problems that you are facing and the government is responsible for the increase in poverty in this area,” he said in the North Windward constituency.
“… They don’t want you to be dependent,” he said as he noted that the government has increase the Public Assistance from EC$13 million to $28 million and reduce spending on agriculture by $10 million.
“They want you to beg,” he said, and told the rally that the NDP “will find jobs for you”.
“We will make you independent. We will restore the pride and dignity of every single Vincentian in this country. That is our aim and that is our motto and that is what we will do when we win the next general election in this country,” Lewis said.
He noted that there have been almost 20 murders here this year and that the country recorded its highest murder tally under the ULP government, which came to office in 2001.
“… The most [murders in one year], under the New Democratic Party, was 20 in 2000. But in 2007, under the Unity Labour Party, 37 persons were killed …” he said.
Lewis further said that since the ULP came to office the country has recorded more than 1,000 burglaries each year.
He added that there have been more reports of predial larceny since the government commissioned 20 rural constables.
“Crime is going up everyday and the government [is] talking about [being] tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime …
“They are responsible for crime and they are responsible for everything bad that is happening in this country at this point in time,” Lewis said.