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By James H

A most hopeless period in abject poverty, more undignified national begging both now and in the future, faces St. Vincent and the Grenadines because of governmental economic incompetence, dictatorship and the failure to invest in our economic future.

History is always written by the victorious but the future is for us to shape. During the period of British rule, when “overt slavery” was the norm in the Caribbean, our ancestral slaves were enticed into submitting to a most hideous ideology, a false ideology at that. (Supremacy in form and in the European colonisation and profound dominance)

An ideology purporting that slaves as captive people, were “good for nothing” indeed that they could not help ourselves. That they were to be treated like untamed feral children, to be given all of the “basic” things that they need for preserving life, provided that is, they remained as “obedient slaves”, childlike and domesticated. Chattel and cattle like!

They were not competent enough to make anything for themselves, so the ideology went, as they were wholly incapable. That they were a collection of savage helpless individuals fit only for the supervised plantation. “Plantation fodder, Chattel” to be ruled over!

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This ideology still persists today and is indeed fully promoted by the “pseudo-socialists” who benefit from the outworkings of such an ideology. Only that it now takes the form of “social programmes”.

The fact that there are so many poor and destitute individuals in these islands of ours help in promoting the assumption, that we are only truly poor, because we are indeed hopeless and that it is “top down help” that we need. To be treated like irresponsible children and to be helped like children. Not self-help encouragement in an enterprise culture but in government social projects. Social housing, social support, social props!

To remedy our poverty, a ruse is vigorously promoted by those claiming themselves to be socialist. The ruse of the “pseudo-socialists” is to promise to correct our dire poor situation by “new jobs creation” in government and in government “social projects”.

In their so doing, we are to “own the government” they say but nothing could be more further from the truth in reality, than our owning the government.

Creating “none-jobs” in the government bureaucracy together with taking land and or money from those who have, and to give to the have not, (practically all), the mass for that fact, while our benevolent government would become our benevolent “PAPA”. (…. in loco parentis they allude!)

Indeed, there is no work required on our part. Our “Benevolent Socialist Papa” …. in loco parentis, will be looking out for us. One way or the other, papa will bring home the bacon, making our lives much more tolerable and even much, much the better.

However, ruined economise follow these shrouded crooks who aspire to be PAPA in government, these so-called socialist and “fakes” the world over, with established democracies being put in utter profound peril through their inevitable dictatorships.

Yet from time to time, individuals like them, ditching their pretended pseudo Marxist garb and calling themselves “socialist”, popup in impoverish nations like SVG every now and then, offering themselves as “saviours of the people” while all the while, hiding their real and true intent of a “power grab”, “dictatorship” and “Treasury looting” and sometimes setting themselves up as rulers for life.

Driven by an unquenchable thirst for power and wealth, once these nefarious rogues are successful in gaining political office, they often then set about securing their power base by destroying all known Civil and Civic institutions, some setting themselves up as “rulers for life”, to be followed only by their close family members.

Trending from farther/son. Husband/wife or brother/son-in-law. They often tell us that they and their family or crony are our “God given” rulers.

We see this standard ruse and well known subterfuge attempted in Brazil, Zimbabwe, in Libya with Muammar Gaddafi recently, in Cuba with Fidel Castro, in Venezuela with Hugo Chávez followed by Nicolás Maduro, and very subtlety in St. Vincent by Ralph Gonsalves. In SVG we are now being readied for an anointed succession!

The inevitable sad result that follows this political ruse and deception of the people, to accept rule by a governmental Papa and their anointed succession, is even more staggering poverty and yet more subjugation, but for the dictatorship, its great opulence in living and hidden sumptuous lavishness.

St Vincent fledgling democracy was put in peril from the day the ULP and its leader, family and cronies took up office. A freedom of information law was promised to the nation before their election to office, now 17 years later, however, this law is yet to be proclaimed although it was passed in Parliament about 15 years ago. Nor can feral children ever be trusted to exercise freedom of thoughts!

The now infamous “Freedom of Information Bill” has been shelved by the deceitful charlatans who then took up office, and is now wholly forgotten by the poor who are more concerned with empty bellies, paying bills, with finding something to eat rather than with Government accountability, sovereignty or the right to know what the government is doing.

Indeed, while the per capita income/per capita growth for the nations and average incomes plummets as was readily seen over the years in Brazil, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Venezuela and now in St. Vincent, the ruling Dictatorship and their lackeys often enjoy the high life.

In the case of St. Vincent our Machiavellian leader have resorted to begging the country’s way around the world for economic support to all and sundry, because of our now ruined economy.

The SVG government vigorously pushes the begging bowl and begs of any foolish world leader, who would listen to moan full stories, of a nation, that cannot help itself. (Reparation may come in handy too, after all just look at who we are!) But as the Venezuelan people starve, Nicolás Maduro refuse to do to beg for food parcels.

For sure when prudent national economic planning and good individual enterprises are replaced with undignified national begging the world over, economic disaster is likely to follow.

Indeed this small nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines cannot help itself because of the incompetence in leadership, government misrule and a dynastic family dictatorship. The same incompetence in government that now hampers Venezuela, this once prosperous nation, now being brought to its knees by the Nicolás Maduro dictatorship.

And as the hungry Venezuelans run for the closest border, hunt stray dogs and other pets for food, in these our impoverished small pieces of filthy rocks SVG, once known as the “Home of the Blessed”, its ruler readies himself to pass on his sceptre to his inheriting son, the anointed, in order to carry on their dynastic rule.

This all being done in the midst of our stinking poverty and without so much as a raised eyebrow from a population far too politically week and too dunce to notice anything amiss.

No doubt government here has become the biggest employer for sure, with the government bureaucracy being stuffed with the ruling party’s faithfuls, all engaged in large numbers of “none jobs,” while purchase taxes, even on such basics as salt and other commodities is now reaching eye watering levels. Imports into this Country too, attract excessively high taxes, so too is the material support sent by families abroad.

An enterprise culture is no longer encouraged. Crime has become rife indeed endemic with violent crimes, as to be expected, including Murder, being now off the scale. The “Court system” cannot be relied upon. We are told that we can go to as many Court system in the world that we may wish to choose but in the end, we will have to return to Papa! Support the regime’s dictatorship or you and your family will starve!

As with Cuba, Zimbabwe and Venezuela our ruling party through their poor economic planning have caused a tremendous reduction in what little prosperous “legal business” activities there once was in St. Vincent. We are yet to reach the near collapsed of legal enterprises altogether, as is now the case in Venezuela.

However, we cannot be too far behind Cuba, Zimbabwe or Venezuela, as it is only a matter of time before our “donor countries” like Taiwan “with their large pots of money”, The EU, Canada, Britain and the likes, gets completely fed up with our economic incompetence and persistent annual begging bowl presentation.

Where indeed would this continual and incessant undignified national begging take us in the next 18 to 20 years or so, when the children being born today, reach their working age?

Where oh’ where would the jobs in SVG be generated to accommodate these new entrance to the workforce here? All industries have been decimated. Husbandry all but lost because of prevailing lawlessness and some businesses have departed to other climes.

Remittances, food barrels and other support from family members abroad, are being relied upon more and more, for daily survival by many as the joblessness and crime takes their toll on the nation.

The way forward most surely, cannot be the way of the now ruling elite, to beg and beg our way around the world, in the hope of pity by the world’s nations at large! Begging the world for economic support cannot forever be substituted for proper prudent economic planning and a good enterprise culture.

According to Ivan O’Neal of the SVG Green Party, we need to do things much, much more differently, if we are to succeed in the years ahead.

For us to continue along this path to which the ruling elite has taken us, with higher and higher taxes, incessant begging abroad and rampant crony capitalism, cloaked in deceitful socialism, the result will only be in our experiencing even more extensive poverty.

Yet Ivan O’Neal of the SVG Green Party’s words of warning is, however, falling on profoundly deaf ears, because most Vincentians have not been educationally equipped, to evaluate their most perilous and precarious economic situation. A situation the regime relishes, despite its bogus claim, of an education revolution.

Other Vincentians appears to be suffering from an ailment known as “Stockholm Syndrome” flocking to music and dance get-togethers given by the elite, something one individual Vincentian recently termed as gross dysfunctional behaviour on the part of his fellow countryman.

Many a dim-witted Vincentian could be overheard to repeat the deceitful mantra of the regime of “the airport”, “the airport,” “the airport,” in the hope that somehow the newly completed airport will deliver for them a “mountain of gold.” These individuals cannot recognise the fact that this country offers precious little by way of tourist attractions to a would-be tourist.

As a destination to the would be tourists, the mainland is more akin to a festering slum, beaches sprawling with filth, a townscape with dilapidated buildings, stinking uncovered drains teeming with large rats.

If Ivan O’Neal of the SVG Green Party is correct, and there is every indication that he is, this bankruptcy in thoughts and in our government’s poor economic planning ability, can only lead to most terrible unspeakable poverty for us in the near future, as we have failed to protect our democracy, failed to build proper learning institutions, failed to educate properly, failed to provide viable industries, failed to be industrious and are failing to work for a prosperous future, our pursuing national begging as the desired option.

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

The opinions presented in this content belong to the author and may not necessarily reflect the perspectives or editorial stance of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

20 replies on “Prudent economic planning versus undignified national begging”

  1. I could not have said it better. I concur with your thesis. I often find myself thinking about writing one of these fifteen paragraph academic style essays to make my point. But judging by the amount of intellectual capital published here. I relent, thinking that such an undertaking would be futile. You, Vincentian people, should realize one thing; You are in charge of your own life. It is your most valuable possession. Look around and ask yourself: What can I do for of my country? But then, you should have a means of measure. If you can measure it then you can influence it. It, being the quality of your life.

    1. If you can’t measure because you don’t have the means to do so. Then use C. ben papers as a reference. He usually say the real thing.

      1. C. ben-David says:

        Most posters on Internet sites like this are too lazy or busy to do the heavy lifting of looking meticulously for data to support their assertions which is why this essay by James H. is so wrong about so many things.

        The research informing my Argyle International Airport essays took at least tens times as long as it took to do the actually writing, an investment of time and energy well beyond the means or ability of posters on the site nearly all of whom simply write the first thing that comes into their head regardless of whether it has any factual basis or not.

        This is not meant as a criticism. It only reflects the fact that this is not an academic forum but rather a recreational site for people to freely express their opinions, even if they are dead wrong.

        As for me, I am too old now to give up my scholarly addiction of supporting what I write with actually evidence, something that was ingrained in me as a university student and professor.

    2. C. ben-David says:

      This is the furthest thing from an “academic style essay,” an intelllectual effort that requires careful research and analysis, not off the top of one’s head rhetoric which is contradicted by easily accessed data.

      For example, there is a wealth of data that shows we are not in, “A most hopeless period in abject poverty” because our poorest 20 percent of the population is far better off economically than their equivalent brothers and sisters 20, 40, or 60 years ago. Our poor are better fed, better clothed, and better housed than at any time in our history. Many are to buy what would have been considered luxuries, say, 30 years ago: piped water, electricity, a small refrigerator, a stove, and a TV. Many are so well fed that they are acutely obese.

      Perhaps the clearest sign of our increased wealth is declining household size. Our census data for the past five decades clearly shows this. So does a wealth of anecdotal evidence that any of our older heads like me can quickly reveal.

      When I was growing up there were many small board houses containing 8, 12, 16 or more people spanning three or four generations who where constrained to live together in a crowded dwelling with no water, no electricity, no refrigeration or a stove, and no flush toilet because of their grinding poverty. Today, there relatively few households with more than 10 people.

      Little of this can be attributable to the policies of any given government. Instead, improved global social and economic conditions, family planning (which has dramatically reduced our poverty-enhancing birth rate), the migration of our excess population, remittances, the now dead “banana revolution, increased tourism in the Grenadines, and other factors were far more important.

      Still, the current regime has built more than its share of no- and low-income houses for the lower classes.

      But previous regimes did what they could to raise the life chances of the poor as well.

      It is intellectually unconscionable to assert that we are living in an era of “terrible unspeakable poverty,” as the author claims.

      Shame on you, James H. for your poor scholarship.

      (To be continued.)

      1. Strictly speaking Academic(noun) and academic style(adjective), have different meanings. Ok, the man did use a lot of personal pronouns but, I understand the point that he is making. He feels passionate about the subject. He exercised his right and took a side. He cited, paraphrased and made references too. I see no reason to challenge. You do.

  2. My dear r, you are just as capable of writing and communicating your thoughts to the rest of us. Together we make up one community, so com on, please, please, please just do it!

    1. James H, Thanks for the vote of confidence. However, I don’t feel that I am the right person to pose the question the way you did for the simple fact that I don’t actually live in the West Indies. I simply react to news coming from the West Indes which is sometimes quite shocking. I am a documentary filmmaker and if the BBC would commision it, I would happily come to the West Indies for a year and, shoot a twelve part documentary film about SVG, the beautiful Caribbean archipelago. I commend you for your courage in voicing your concerns about the political status quo and life in SVG. Thanks, man you make a difference.

  3. It is so true that “History is always written by the victorious but the future is for us to shape.”
    I will like to know; how are we going to “shape a future” when the most competent of our intellectuals still disguises by way of an ideology as being “wholly incapable,” displaying the same characteristic as “a collection of savage helpless individuals fit only for” the creation of well documented reviews, yet hidden is the true identity of the author?

    The truth is, people are looking for leaders with exhibited empowerment, the said qualities which enabled the ULP Party to have claimed power for the past 17 years.
    Even if the alleged contents within this article are true, unfortunately, who is this brilliant writer James H? Can we really trust someone who is not ready to declare his her true identity even after taking us (the readers) on such a journey of conviction?

    The point is today; “many are competent enough to make for themselves” but ‘wholly incapable’ of carrying the torch to liberalism leadership, the main cause of us still being in the position we are today where “very subtlety in SVG we are now being readied for an anointed succession!”

  4. Why must you forever be exhibiting your gross character flaws, my flawed “sage, from Mount Saint Andrew”? Are you so psychologically damaged, because of past personal rejections, that all you can now do is huff and puff in opposition, while smoking bad weed?

    Why must you continue to act like a demented drunk in an empty bar, forever throwing punches at the thin air? Get a grip of yourself, or go and see a psychologist!

    Be ever thankful to God that you were able to escape the grinding poverty of these small islands!

    1. You are free to your opinion, and disparaging suppositions.
      Thanks for reminding me that “History is always written by the ‘VICTORIUS’ but the future is for ‘US’ to shape.”
      Yes; thanking God is the beginning to unpretentiousness.

    2. C. ben-David says:

      Why can’t you take the well deserved licks I am raining on you like a big man instead of resorting to nasty insults?

  5. C. Ben-David says:

    Unfortunately, your essay is based on the false but patriotic premise that SVG, especially the mainland, has lots of potential for economic development which is not being actualized because of bad governance. If this were true, then a change of government, of which we have had many, would have soon turned things around, something that has never happened.

    Begging, borrowing, and handouts to various constituencies are, again unfortunately, the only way we can keep our collective heads above water, something every government we have ever had has understood and acted on.

    This has been our history and legacy since the end of the wicked slavery-based sugar production era, the richest period we have ever seen.

    There are dozens of countries like SVG around the world with few human or material resources that could lift them to prosperity. And there are hundreds of regions around the world, many of them in rich countries like America, which have high levels of chronic poverty and unemployment, not because of bad government policies but because of a lack local resources that could lift the population from poverty to wealth.

    Denying these differences between countries and regions may produce interesting commentary but suffers from the replacement of the elementary facts on the ground with airy-fairly rhetoric in the process.


  6. C. ben-David says:

    We could never become another Singapore. Singapore was developed based on the rare economic vision of a single leader who transformed a poor ex-colony into a global financial powerhouse. He had an advantage that we lack, a forward looking people willing to make the necessary short-term sacrifices to achieve a long-term economic goal. We, on the other hand, have been lead by people concerned only with maintaining political power for themselves, aided in this effort by an electorate concerned mainly with now-for-now gains.

    To be sure, there are many countries like Singapore with fewer resources than we have but which are much better off socially and economically. Why this is so is well known.

    What is also well known is that none of our politicians would ever emulate these successful countries if only because the short term pain and suffering to do so would extent well beyond a single one-term election cycle which would mean that any government bold enough to enact the right policies like much lower taxes, strictly enforcing all laws, severely punishing minor offences (including caning people who litter or spit on the street, as Singapore does), jailing people for not paying their taxes, encouraging the immigration of wealthy investors via a citizenship by investment programme or other incentives, shutting down most of our hole-in-the-wall rum shops, executing drug dealers (as in Singapore), totally reforming the educational system (including the mass firing of incompetent teachers), and many other harsh reforms which would have long term benefit, would see that government fall after one term in office.

    Most of the countries that have been able to do so have had totalitarian-like regimes able to enforce unpopular but necessary reforms.

    This will never happen here without a right-wing revolution and the introduction of a dictatorial government willing to enact the needed changes which would never happen because our right wing is so tiny.

  7. Your metaphor of “raining blows on my head” my “psychologically damaged” wannabe, only goes to demonstrate your very sad craving for the limelight C. ben-David.

    You appear to be engaging yourself with all of us in some imagined fight of yours for recognition of your person, while the peoples of our small islands struggle for food. What a sad specimen of humanity you as an individual have become!

    One is apt to enquire whether Mrs. S, had a little mishap with you [C. ben-David] by her dropping you on your tiny head, while you were an infant, our selfish and wholly self absorbed squinty eye wannabe!

    Please do us all a little favour, the next time you approach your bathroom mirror, why not remove your thick glasses before taking your pills and have a deep hard look into those dead eyes of yours, that are so ever craving for recognition of some sort or other, in order to bring meaning to your confused state of being, ever since you were rejected by “party office holders” and all your political hopes dashed! Your confusion must be very great indeed. You unable to be what you thought you were anticipating, all these long years!

    Your constant sniping at everything and everyone while ignoring the hardship of the Vincentian people is just plainly gross. My suggestion again is that you go and seek some help from a psychiatrist, who may be able to prescribe better pills for you to overcome your confused troubles. meanwhile, we have a future to build!

    We just cannot agree with you that all we hold for the future is only begging and borrowing simply because we do not have Copper or Tin mines, Gold or Bauxite deposits or some other natural earth deposit. The world’s future is in “Information Technologies and innovations” We are a people just like all others and can succeed too, once organised and equipped!.

  8. My most sincere and humble apology dear Elma Gabriel, the post was never intended to offend any such as yourself but was addressed to this wannabe detractor and psychologically damaged individual, calling themselves C. ben-David, and who for good measure, thinks that because we are native born Vincentians, we are entirely dunce!

    Such individuals have swallowed the lie, that we as Vincentians, are good for nothing. That we are just rascals, scratching the parched dirt for a living, and because they have fallen on good fortunes, we are to be scorned.

    Let us just hope that the years ahead of us, surprise such a cretin as this one, who goes by the name of C. ben-David whose identity, through past experience, I happen to know. .

    1. C. Ben-David says:

      As a bona fide upper middle-income country, according to the United Nations, please tell us how many of our people are struggling for food, as you claim?

      From my perspective, our main food problem today is that too many people, especially women, are consuming too many calories from the wrong kinds of unhealthy processed foods, especially fried foods, like the KFC killer, deep fried chicken.

      As for your constant insults, they are the sign of a small-minded person unable to answer my learned slings and arrows with equally barbed intellectual replies. Ad hominem attacks are a sure sign of a mental midget, if not worse.

      As I said above, people like you are simply unable or unwilling to do the meticulous research needed to back up their generalizations about poverty, unemployment, borrowing, begging, economic development, or whatever other topic they are addressing which is to be expected from participants in a social media site like this a country so divided along political lines.

      I accept that I am an outlier on this site because I was trained to objectively back up my assertions with verifiable data. Sorry, but I can’t change my ways at this late stage in my life.

      But I reject any assertion, unless proven, that I am writing what I write for some kind of nefarious, vengeful, politically biased, or psychotic reason.

      It is hard to imagine that someone who is so mentally deranged, as you claim I am, could continue to write in a coherent, logical, and factually grounded fashion day after day.

      As for you, perhaps Vinciman is correct that you are Peter Binose by-some-other-name which would clearly explain everything you write.

  9. James H and C. Ben-David: Neither of you have to substantiate your intelligence to anyone or to each other. I do read your opinions on the various topics which can be very informative but monotonous at times. Our goal as elders should be making positive contributions in shaping the future of our young leaders. It is very possible to debate without attacking the dignity of others. “The reality is that the only way change comes is when you lead by example.” Peace!

  10. Well, well our wannabe intellectual, writing of SVG, in trying to prove your bogus point, you are here relying on that wholly unreliably outside and truly discredited agency for statistical supporting evidence, in your puerile objective. Quote: “As a bona fide upper middle-income country, according to the United Nations….” Ha, ha, ha, ha! SVG a “bona fide upper middle-income country”? What a joke!

    Tell this twaddle if you must, to the thousands of households here that are yet struggling daily to find something to eat, the volumes of children who regularly skip School for want of clothes and food or the large number of unemployed sitting around with a feeling of despair, having no money, no bank account and no hope. Come now, have we not eliminated hunger in SVG? Surely we have!

    Truly, we see how little you actually know! What of those who form those long undulating lines outside the Western Union Offices or even those persons anticipating the food barrels at Customs? Tell them that they presently live in “a bona fide upper middle-income country, according to the United Nations….” And watch them laugh at you too!

    Indeed and indeed, what for sure do you know of our life here my aberrant freak? I am yet to discover whether your existing delusion state is congenital. I understand that you were never born here, spend some initial time in the country before escaping abroad, later gracing us with an occasional visit, whereupon you would take to a high and mighty aloft position, with some vain and futile hope of being inducted into Government. How ridiculously hilarious!

    As you continue to blow your own trumpet, telling us of how wonderfully intellectually superior you are to us native born Vincentians, your delusions of grandeur is quite telling and displays your dysfunctional state of mind. Ever emanating this false impression of your own grandiose importance that gets more and more pronounced each time you find time to type. The great foreign educated research scientist, whom we must admire for his skill, profuse wisdom and all-embracing eloquence. What tripe!

    Just listen to you grandiose drivel “my learned slings and arrows with equally barbed intellectual replies.” Go take your pills my dear! We could do without your “.. learned slings and arrows with equally barbed intellectual replies.” Go peddle your claptrap baloney somewhere else! We could do without them!

    The country and our people’s problems, are not intellectual nor are they abstract in nature, they are profoundly real and fundamental, as our relatives abroad knows full well, and who care to grace us with their much appreciated Pound Stirling, their American and Canadian Dollars, together with those well needed Aluminium, Cardboard and Plastic Barrels, stuffed with goods of clothes and food.

    So if you think that “our main food problem today is that too many people, especially women, are consuming too many calories from the wrong kinds of unhealthy processed foods, especially fried foods, like the KFC killer, deep fried chicken.”

    And that “poverty, unemployment, borrowing, begging” is wholly in our crying wolf, because we are indeed relatively rich, and that the country boast of being “a bona fide upper middle-income country,………..”, we could rightly understand your sentiment C. ben-David, after all, you are just another dysfunctional yet sick individual, who knows nothing of us, who further suffers from a personality disorder, a debilitating “delusion of grandeur”, and who cannot tell either their arm from their elbow!

    Remember to bring your pills when next time you visit us!

  11. Once again Elma Gabriel sincere and profoundest of apology! There is never any intended intension on my part, in putting fort or substantiating any supposed idea of intelligence on one’s behalf, for the very simple reason, that one could never be so arrogant, so as to presume oneself to be intelligent. Moreover, there is an even greater apology, if at any of the time, you find any portion of my expressed opinion, as being monotonously expressed.

    Further, I could not either ever be considered, in any shape or form, to be an elder however, I would nevertheless agree with you that as concerned individuals, who would love to see the country and its peoples progress out of squalor, poverty and deprivation and thereby advance into a bright future, where young leaders administer the nation with profound wisdom, our objective should indeed be in “making positive contributions.”

    Indeed in quoting Nelson Mandela, quote:“There are so many men and women who hold no distinctive positions but whose contribution towards the development of society has been enormous”.

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