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Be proud of our achievements

Governor-General of St. Vincent and the Grenadines His Excellency Sir Frederick N. Ballantyne.
Governor-General of St. Vincent and the Grenadines His Excellency Sir Frederick N. Ballantyne.

My fellow Vincentians, it is again an honour and a privilege to address you on this the 35th anniversary of our country’s Independence.

We celebrate this anniversary at a time when the life of every citizen has been negatively impacted by the very difficult economic climate facing the entire world.

The expected turn around following the economic crisis of 2008, has been painfully slow, and the projection for the next two years is that most countries are likely to show insignificant growth, if any at all. This economic environment makes it very difficult for small states such as ours to survive and prosper.

I wish to highlight here some of the problems which have confronted us over the past few years.

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1.The high cost of oil which since independence has tripled.

  1. Our banana export, which was the backbone of our economy, has plummeted to almost zero.
  2. Tourism, which we had looked to replace income from bananas, has been very weak, influenced heavily by the world’s poor economic performance.
  3. The epidemic of Chikungunya, which is now ravishing our shores along with the looming threat of Ebola, would further impact negatively on world travel and tourism.

5.Added to the above, we have witnessed severe storms and floods, causing millions of dollars in damage.

We need to be cognizant of the fact that all these adverse events are not of our making and over which we have no control. The cumulative effect, however, means that our small economy is in a stranglehold, with increasing pressure being exerted on our standard of living and the quality of life of all our citizens.

Many businesses are on the brink of bankruptcy, and many persons are without work, and find it difficult to meet their basic needs.

The question then, which all of us must ask, is “Where do we go from here?”

The fundamental problem facing us is how can we overcome these negative forces. We all have different solutions to the problems facing us, and since we are stronger collectively rather than individually, I again make an appeal for all of us to join forces to forge solutions for the benefit of all.

I wish particularly to beg for more tolerance, especially to those who have opposing views and who under economic stress are “edgy” and easily resort to violence.

I ask that we make an extra effort to be more respectful to each other. If you truly respect yourself, it would be easy to respect others and forgive them some of their shortcomings.

I will not reiterate here the need to respect the environment, to help prevent a repeat of the disastrous floods, the beach erosion and the proliferation of mosquitoes.

We need more than ever to be kind and generous, especially to the poor and unemployed.

As a country we are too poor to waste any of our resources; each of us needs to commit ourselves to stamp out wastefulness in our daily lives.

In spite of the various challenges, we can still be proud of our significant achievements in the fields of health, education and poverty alleviation. We cannot allow any erosion of the gains made over the 35 years in these fields.

Above all, we need to work harder, not only to preserve our own job, but to improve the productivity of the country, while efforts need to be made to try to create employment for the many, many able-bodied men, women, boys and girls who are unemployed.

Like you, my fellow Vincentians, I love this country and all of its people. I have faith that if we work together, we will find a way to make the future better for all of us.

More than ever, we need the strong to help the weak, and the rich to help the poor. Let us in our daily lives strive to lift each other up, not only physically, but in spirit, and with God’s blessings we will not only survive but prosper.

My family and I wish you a happy, incident free Independence.

His Excellency Sir Frederick N. Ballantyne, G.C.M.G., MD, DSc

Governor-General of St. Vincent and the Grenadines

4 replies on “Governor General’s Independence Message 2014”

  1. My goodness, this is an overtly negative address from the GG
    The role of GG is mostly ceremonial and as such needs to be a beacon of inspiration. His is one of the few quasi political roles that could afford to spout positivity even in the face of inevitable damnation. Yet here he is, telling it as it is.
    What ever happened to the rainbow over the hill and every cloud has its silver lining speech?
    What ever happened to the “come on lads, we are almost over the hump” speech?
    If the GG has this outlook, then I guess that you are all well and properly scre!!*@.
    Happy independence everyone!

  2. Dear Sir Freddy

    We look to you to protect us from the ravages of political parties and abuse of our Constitution by them.

    Some say you are a toothless tiger, I am not sure if that is by choice or by Constitutional restraints.

    These are a few of the things that our Constitution promise us, just a few of the things that are being abused

    Social justice. Ask Leon Samuel ‘Bigger Biggs’ about social justice, he is the evidence that we have none. Ask the Port Police, the farmers, the irrigation workers, and the teachers, they will tell you we have no social justice.

    Freedom from tyranny. Ask Leon Samuel ‘Bigger Biggs’ about tyranny, he and the Port Police, the farmers, the irrigation workers, the teachers, are the evidence that we have are not free from tyranny..

    Equality before the law. There is clearly no equality before the law, when you witness the treatment that ULP members get against what NDP members are dealt, like the case of the Registrar, that is evidence that we have none.

    We pledged to safeguard the right of privacy, ask anyone who has been raided by our politically motivated police before dawn, like Douglas DeFreitus, that is the evidence that we have none.

    Economic rewards for labour. There are no such rewards in SVG, people have seen their wages cut in half by inflation, their dollar only buys half as much. The ULP government have failed to keep pace with inflation with peoples wages, that is the evidence that our rewards for labour do not exist.

    All this has happened under the rule Mr Gonsalves. We are still awaiting true independence,

    please Let My People Go.

  3. A very political speech meant to excuse the failings of the ruling regime. The sentence, “We need to be cognizant of the fact that all these adverse events [1-5 above] are not of our making and over which we have no control” says it all.

    And if true, the logical conclusion is that the government should resign and let the people rule themselves. The corollary is that when things go well (e.g., when unemployment goes down), the ruling government should take no credit.

    Also, where is the proof that, “we can still be proud of our significant achievements in the fields of health, education and poverty alleviation.” Absolute poverty — the proportion of people living one calorie from starvation — may be down in 2014 compared to 1979, but relative poverty — the gap between rich and poor — is higher than ever. Finally, our health care system is a mess and while a greater percentage of children are going to secondary school, the bulk of them are learning and achieving less than the smaller percentage attending 35 years ago.

    The GG should read some of Her Majesty’s speeches and use these as a guide to composing his own.

  4. Well yes Governor, yo not easy at all. They always say that Mr Eustace i a doom and gloom man, but that speech of yours put anything he said to shame. Watch yoself now Mr Governor, they might say that you are a fear munger. The only thing I would disagree with you on is that you believe that a lot of the issues are not of our own making and you are wrong.

    I don’t ever like to boast about myself, but I as a little black boy could have done a much better job of governing SVG than what happen under the Gonsalves Regime. But God is love, the bell must ring.


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