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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (File photo: Lance Neverson/Facebook)
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (File photo: Lance Neverson/Facebook)
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Incumbent MP for Central Kingstown, St. Clair Leacock has suggested that the government should not have been surprised by the data in a leaked report showing that between 2008 and 2018, poverty in St. Vincent and the Grenadines had moved from 30.2% to 36.1% in the population.

According to the report, which was leaked to the main opposition New Democratic Party, which gave it to the media on Wednesday, during the same period, the indigence level had moved from 2.9% to 11.3% in the country of 110,000 people.

Leacock, speaking at a virtual public meeting on Thursday, noted that in addition to the poor and indigent poor, Gonsalves had previously spoken of a category of poor in SVG – the “genteel poor”.

“He came to the parliament waxing warm and you know how he spins and twists as the lie weighs down his shoulder and highlights his deceit in his eyes. And with draconian tongue, he says to us, ‘You know, honourable members and friends, there is a category of people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, they once used to able to cut their lawn, drive their cars, attend social events, enjoy a good and decent life.

“‘Today,  — and he’s boasting you know — ‘They can no longer do that. They can no longer cut their lawns, they can’t change the tyres on their cars, they have to drive on the donut, they are in tattered clothing’ — and some of the injections are my interpretation of what he’s saying,” Leacock told the event, which was broadcast on social media.

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“And he says, ‘Think about it, these sets of people who were yesterday middle class, they now constitute, in St. Vincent, the genteel poor.’

“So he recognised and acknowledged that people who were once middle class, their lives have so deteriorated that we are not just indigent poor and poor, but now the genteel poor.  That is, the middle class that has receded to be unable to look after themselves,” said Leacock, who is seeking re-election to a third term as MP for Central Kingstown.

“And, shamelessly, he proclaims, ‘You know, this is an unusual phenomenon you know. I think only St. Vincent has it. The University of the West Indies probably should come here and study this phenomenon.’

“But what they have to study, they don’t have to study the genteel poor. They have to study Ralph and they would understand why we have genteel poor, because we have an economy that is fundamentally a mirage.”

Leacock said this is why it is important to have in the NDP’s team, economist Dwight Fitzgerald Bramble, the party’s candidate for East Kingstown, incumbent MP for West Kingstown, Daniel Cummings, and engineer, and social scientist Godwin Friday, leader of the opposition and incumbent MP for the Northern Grenadines. 

“Because we have to fix it and we have to fix it with honesty, earnesty (sic) and sincerity. But most importantly, we must fix it with practical know- how,” Leacock said.

“I make no bones about it. The Unity Labour Party has been living a lie.

“I don’t even want to talk about what I am seeing and hearing now, the propaganda, the untruths, dishonesties, the misrepresentations, the character assassinations, the intimidation, the fear, and the despair.  I speak solely on evidential evidence. Just another reason they should go and go fast,” he said mentioning the 2014 audit report, the latest year for which one is available.

In that report, the Director of Audit noted that much of the money budgeted for capital projects was not spent.

Leacock said this strengthens the case for his proposed constituency development fund.

The 2018 Poverty Assessment Report should have been completed since March 2019 and the opposition had made a number of attempts since last year to get the government to release the data.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves told Community College students on Friday that the study is incomplete and the data leaked to the opposition was never sent to him.

4 replies on “PM’s talk of ‘genteel poor’ hinted at rising poverty — Leacock”

  1. Nathan 'Jolly' Green says:

    The study is incomplete because it requires the usual adjustments to make everything in it appear better than they are. Massaging of figures, taking out a little information here and there, then it will be complete it just needs some Labour loving censorship.

    Wake up people you all deserve better, if you give them another term everyone of you will become a malleable peasant, the class that is required by every communist state.

    Time to vote them out, for a better life and jobs for all.

  2. After 19 years at the helm, the ULP fiddled while Rome burned, they fumbled the football handed to them by the citizens of St. Vincent. Unemployment and Poverty are both trending in the wrong direction. Government employees are the lowest paid in the OECS! To simply ignore this and put this party back in power is folly. One could make a point about the things the NDP did wrong while they were in charge but after 19 years, I think it’s time to give them a chance at it.

    The ULP is campaigning with promises and smoke and mirrors. They are acting as though they are the party trying to get in rather than one trying to stay in power. My Vincy people, if you are unemployed, you have nothing to lose by rolling the dice here. ULP are now promising jobs. 19 years too late! They had 19 years to get you working.

    On election day, vote for you! Don’t let partisan politics and love boxes fool you. MAKE THE CHANGE.

  3. There is an ever-constant myth that is forever being pushed and exploited by envious totalitarian individuals, and it is this idea, that some persons wealth, came to them by them exploiting poorer persons and that the wealthy should all be stripped of whatever that they have. They Call this Democratic socialism. What is for sure the idea is neither democratic nor is it socialist nor fair.

    At the heart of Karl Marx’s Communist doctrine is the ideology that no person should be richer than another and the people who embrace Marx’s unworkable ideology often are envious individuals who seek wealth for themselves at the expense of others.

    Such people delight in wealth but only for themselves, they enjoy wealthy trappings but would keep all others exceedingly poor and thus trapped in poverty. We have experienced this in SVG since no one in SVG can call the Gonsalves family poor nor say that this family wallow in poverty.

    For his part, Ralph Gonsalves, eying the Castro’s achievements in Cuba saw a pathway to power for himself in SVG and exploited it. Can there ever be “genteel poor”? To be poor is to be poor!

    In imitating Fidel Castro, he offered Vincentians much prosperity, but not from hard work, but by the grabbing of another’s riches. The result was inevitable poverty for most, as the figures now show, and after his near on twenty years in office. But is the Gonsalves extended family themselves poor?

    Castro too have impoverished Cuba as has other initiators of his doctrine in Venezuela and those who have used it in America, Asia, Africa and India. As expressed before. These hypocrites love the trappings of wealth but only for themselves.

    In Genesis 3:19 New King James Version we read of God telling the man; “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” Such is the doctrine of God. The Work ethic!

    Prosperity therefore, comes through hard work on the part of each and not through dispossessing another person or persons of what belongs to them. It is therefore incumbent upon a government to create the environment for a work culture, work ethic and not one of welfare. The doctrine of God is perfectly clear! To change it makes the mass poor but the rulers very wealthy indeed.

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