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MP for Central Kingstown, St. Clair Leacock. (iWN file photo)
MP for Central Kingstown, St. Clair Leacock. (iWN file photo)
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The policy of the Unity Labour Party sees the government spending significantly less than is stated in the capital budget has led to a new subculture of crime as a consequence of “hopelessness, despair, disbelieve, distrust in what obtains”, says opposition lawmaker, St. Clair Leacock.

“Too many of our people, young men in particular, have come to the conclusion I am not going to go through what my brother and sister went through with their nine, 10 CXCs and can’t get a job for the last five, six, 10 years and have to be begging, scrunting (scrounging), prostituting, or turning to alternative lifestyles,” the Central Kingstown Member of Parliament told a town hall meeting held by his New Democratic Party in New York last weekend.

He said that these young men have concluded that they are “not going to allow my mother to suffer one more day with the indignity of not being able to wear a new dress or feed my younger brother.

“Or for some men, I can’t tolerate the fact that I have lost my woman to a van driver or somebody else who has greater access to cash and then be belittled the way I have to be living,” Leacock said.

He said such people say they have no problem with the NDP but can’t wait for the party to solve their problems “of hunger, of unhappiness, of a no future.

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“‘Leh me try a shortcut,’” he said, citing their reasoning.

“That shortcut includes, ‘Leh me eat ah food.’ That shortcut includes gi’ me now. I’ll pay the price,” he said, referring to a decision to engage in criminal activity.

“And I hear that. I hear that, sometimes in a frightening way, going through St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

He said he has heard young men said that if they are given $50, they would go and “buss a shot” or if they had money they would buy two bullets and commit this or that crime.

In advancing his thesis, Leacock said the 2004-2005 report of the Director of Audit said finance for capital projects was not always forthcoming.

“In other words, the government telling lies,” Leacock said.

He further quoted the report as saying that this means that adequate funds were not raised to finance and execute a number of projects included in the capital budget for the financial years.

“That is that they’re promising things that they can’t [deliver],” he said, adding that the report said that the government should consider reviewing the total estimates for capital expenditure since these large shortfalls in capital revenue have implications for the credibility of the capital budget.

“In other words, if you keep telling lies so, people would not be able to believe you. You are misleading and fooling the people. And, regrettably, a significant number of people who are getting right up to the cliff save and except for jumping off. We have to save them …”

Leacock, a vice-president of the NDP, said that in the 2008 report, the Director of Audit said he had not been able to obtain sufficient appropriate evidence to provide a basis for an audit opinion.

“‘Accordingly, I do not express an opinion on the financial statements’,” he quoted the report as saying.

“For an auditor to audit the statements, she has  — or he — to depend on the statement made by the accountant general. The auditor says that what had been prepared and submitted are not dependable upon which I can offer an opinion. That’s an irresponsible government that is functioning and misleading too significant a portion of our people that we have a well-run and well-managed country.”

Leacock said that he has repeatedly said that if SVG were a private firm, Gonsalves and company would have been fired a long time ago.

The Central Kingstown MP said he was appalled to have received an estimate in Parliament and had to wait until the International Monetary Fund visited a month or two after and asked why EC$112 million owed to Venezuela was left out of the Budget.

“The government had to come back and correct that error.

“The point I am making is that even our professionals are so paralysed that they are prepared to mislead the Parliament with inaccurate data. That’s serious. That’s the country in which we are operating? I am happy that we can be unapologetic about it,” Leacock said, adding that he had challenged Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves in Parliament and in his media and campaign appearances on the PetroCaribe issues.

He said he repeatedly stated that if the Unity Labour Party had lost the last elections, they could have been charged with misbehaviour in public office for unlawfully spending the nation’s money.

“He never was able to take me to court once. The first thing he did after the election was to come to the Parliament to correct it, retroactively. And I am speaking about expending over one hundred and something million dollars.”

Leacock said the ULP administration cannot put their hands in the air and say they are clean as regards the spending of the nation’s money.

He said that in 2010, the Director of Audit was of the opinion that the financial statement presented for audit did not in all material respects represent the financial position of the government of SVG as of Dec 31, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2010.

“So, six years after this had been pointed out, no correction in the way we are doing the nation’s business.”

And Leacock said that in 2011, the Director of Audit raised questions regarding special warrants.

He said that since 2015, no supplementary budgets have been brought to Parliament to account for monies spent in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 without the Parliament’s approval.

“So the government is in breach of the appropriate sections of the law that I do not want to detail, [burden] you with at this time.”

He said that the 2012 report, the most recent Director of Audit said the capital revenue for that year was an estimated EC$286 million to finance capital revenue of EC$184 million and to realise a surplus of EC$102 million.

“Now, if you have a house to build that costs you $184 million, you would go and raise $286?  You would raise what you need… But they are telling us it was estimated at 286, but they’re only going to spend 184 but taking the other 100 to help on the recurrent side.”

“He calls this Gonzinomics,” Leacock said, referring to the prime minister and added that the Director of Audit further stated that the initial capital budget was increased by another EC$3 million and the surplus was reduced to EC$98 million.”

She says, however, the financial statement shows that only EC$107 million was raised overall and the five sources of capital revenue were less than estimated.

Leacock said that the ULP has been closed to EC$2 billion short on what they said they would have raised to do capital projects.

“But you may want to forgive that to say that is only a judgement call, an estimate, but I am putting it to you tonight and to my dear ULP friends, that even on the recurrent side — that is what you’re supposed to put towards the hospitals, the schools, the police, social services, transfers to tourism and so on and so forth — government balancing the books by spending 10 per cent less than they put on paper.”

He said this amounts to a shortfall of over $500 million over the last 15 years that has not been spent.

Leacock said he has taken the time to go through the statistics because he is “of the view that the crime and violence that we are witnessing in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is not coincidental or incidental or by chance”.

11 replies on “ULP budgets have bred subculture of despair, crime — Leacock”

  1. Leacock has made no logical or empirical case whatsover for linking government budgetary and spending irregularies with hypothetical criminal activity. Indeed, his argument is illogical in the extreme.

    Of course, this would not matter to the dunces he addressed in Brooklyn or the dunces that the Prime Minister addresses at home on similar topics.

  2. Highlighting the very bad economic management of the ULP is the best way to expose the cause of, or contributing factors of most of the problems in SVG. There are two sides of this argument. One side says the dire economic situation of the people of SVG is a major cause of our surging crime and lawlessness and the other side believes that the dire economic problems of the people have nothing to do with some people turing to crime. Obviously those that think economics have nothing to do with crime are ULP supporters and those that want our economic situation to get better to lower the crime rate are NDP supporters. As in most things, the NDP is more accurate in my opinion. Leacock is right when he says people in desperate situations often do desperate things.

    1. Nonsense. No one — not even the Prime Minister — has claimed or would ever claim that economics has nothing to do with crime. You set up a straw man argument with your assertion of black and white that has no relation to reality.

      Read the piece on Japan from Kenton Chance: it clearly shows that a people’s beliefs and values which they learn growing up also affect criminal behaviour, indeed may overcome economic considerations in poor societies that have strong anti-crime and pro-solidarity values, something we do not have. This does not mean that there is no economically rooted crime in Japan, only that such behaviour is more than balanced by an anti-crime ideology.

  3. the wrong person is the leader for the opposition.. This man right here should take up the rains…he is much more in tune with the plight of vincentians. not to mention admirably charismatic. if he ever takes the NDP leadership id vote for them.

    1. It’s good to note from your comments of late that you have stopped consuming large quantities of alcohol. LOL. You sound coherent and nuanced in your comment here. Unlike the lunatic and prosecutor(devil), a permanent fixture here (probably financial contributor to)on, telling us how dunce and backward we are as a people and how knowledgeable they are about everything in the known cosmos. Always trying to school us in their doomsday doctrine. Correct me if I’m wrong, we[most vincentians] are good people and we are willing fight for and die for that which we truly feel.
      I’m glad that you’ve come around.

      1. r,

        The “lunatic and prosecutor(devil)”, like you, is not a financial contributor to iWN. Contributions, however, are welcome but would have no impact on editorial policy.

    2. As a big ULP supporter your comment attempts to sow the seeds of discontent amongst the NDP Leadership. However I do not believe Mr. Leacock is as arrogant and narcissist as you believe, so I doubt you will be able to create the division that you and your boss have lately attempted and so much hope for..

  4. SVG MUST MOVE ON . . .

    St. Clair Leacock (MP, Central Kingstown) is well versed in global economic, business and statistical analysis. His findings seem substantively credible. Of course, his political analyses flow from his extensive business and, latterly, political endeavours in our beloved SVG.
    Leacock most capably taught me Management Studies at the UWI level several years ago.
    The Home of the Blessed, HAIROUN, needs dramatic business, economic and financial rescue in order to survive much further as a fully sovereign and independent State into this challenging 21st Century.
    No matter the ideological slings and arrows, the communistic conspiracies and collusions – – –
    Long live a Free and Independent St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
    Always patriotically
    Toward a True and Genuine Nationalism
    Steve Huggins
    CPA (UWi)/CIS

  5. Urlan Alexander says:

    The evidence is clear as crystal that the ULP and Ralph is bad news. Living in SVG is enough proof for me that there is a logical connection between the crimes, violence and the economy. To say that the government failure to implement its capital programs due to lack of funding is not a significant factor for the crimes we are experiencing in SVG is myopic, Then again it is said that when pigs busy feeding from the trough they do not see too well.

  6. What is it with these so-called socialist, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, former President of Brazil was sent to prison, with the reverberations of “the carwash scandal” still on going. The crimes in high office often goes unnoticed until it is too late and after the culprits have also departed!

    Just remember that in 2014 Brazil started the “Car Wash investigation Operation”, resulted in 9 suits against Lula da Silva. This was the biggest corruption scandal ever, according to some, so what is it with these so-called socialist:

    What that corruption investigation unearthed, throws much light on the workings of these type of politicians that call themselves Socialist, but impoverish the people while looting the state of its assets.

    The impeachment of Dilma Rousse the so-called socialist president of Brazil who followed Lula da Silva into office, tells us much about these individuals who promise so much but deliver so little. State assets get looted while corruption goes unchecked under their watch. Yet crimes are crimes be they in high office or in the street or on one’s smallholdings!

    For some time now we have been witnessing the sufferings of the Venezuelan people, as they rush to the nearest border out of their hell that was created by their so-called socialist President Nicolas Maduro. Venezuela is now one of the most crime riddled place on this planet thanks to their President.

    Nicolas Maduro regime is now engaging in the curbing of internet access and is also clamping down even more so on the free flow of information available to Venezuelans, while billions of state dollars goes walking. So much for the Socialist mantra!

    “Monday 29th October In Miami the former managing director and vice chairman of a Swiss bank was sentenced to ten years in prison, after previously pleading guilty for his role in a billion-dollar international scheme to launder funds embezzled from Venezuelan state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela SA.”

    So as this former Swiss bank executive gets sentenced to prison for this billion-dollar Venezuelan money laundering scheme, let us hope that we as Vincentians wake up from our terrifying spate of sleepwalking and Socialist nightmare.

    Indeed, you are perfectly correct Urlan Alexander, “there is a logical connection between the crimes, violence and the economy.” We and the Venezuelans are sure proof to that fact!

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