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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says that a minority of males tending towards criminality and women having too few children are two of the “internally-sourced” problems in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

He told a press conference that the birth rate is too low and needs to increase to about 2.1 children per woman aged 25 to 35 to sustain the population.

Gonsalves, however, said that women are not having enough children because of his government’s successes in education, greater opportunities for a woman and the whole thrust of modernity.

“… women, particularly between 25 and 35, we need them to have a few more children because the population, the birth rate, is falling,” the prime minister said.

He said the birth-rate is supposed to be an average of 2.1 children per woman to keep the population going.

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“I’m talking practical things. Otherwise, the civilisation will wither. We have to replenish the population and the population is stagnant.”

Gonsalves said that the Vincentian population is also getting older.

“And I’m very happy that is getting older, people living longer, but we have to have it being replenished,” said Gonsalves, who turns 78 in August.

“And they can’t be replenished by people from Mars, they have to be replenished by real flesh and blood women,” he said.

“Doesn’t matter how many different kinds of sub-divisions of genders people want to have, nobody has figured out a way other than women having children. That’s the reality,” he said.

“Of course, one of the things we have to make sure is that those who are teenagers that few of them should have children, trying to avoid that and those who are more mature and who getting on with their profession, but they have to — it’s a problem I know to balance your professional life with life of motherhood, but this is how the civilisation has to find a way of replenishing itself and advancing,” he said.

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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves speaking at a press conference in Kingstown on Monday, May 27, 2024.

The government is currently conducting a census, a decade after enumerators found that the population of SVG was 109,434, made up of 55,551 males and 53,637 females.

This compared to a population of 107,835 in 2001, 106,499 in 1991, and 97,845 in 1980.

The census said there was an average of 1,806 live births over the three years 2012 to 2014.

Over 60% of total registered births during this period were to women with no occupation.

This group included those who reported they were unemployed at the time the birth took place, as well as women considered to be out of the labour force (women in home duties, full-time students, etc.).

During the same period, births to teenage girls as a percentage of total births declined marginally from 17.8% in 2012 to 17.5% in 2014.

In each of the three years, more than half of the total registered births were to women aged 20-29.

A corresponding increase was noted for women aged 30-39, where the proportion of births to women in this age cohort increased by 2.5 percentage points, from 27.2% in 2012 to 29.7% in 2014.

Births to unmarried women — so-called “Illegitimate births” — accounted for the largest percentage of total births.

In 2012, 2013 and 2014, “illegitimate births” accounted for 84.7%, 82.9% and 84.4% of total births respectively, the census report said.

The prime minister discussed SVG’s birth rate as he spoke about how the country has changed since his Unity Labour Party came to office in March 2001.

“Anybody who in government could repair a building; anybody in government, once you have the hot mix, could fill a pothole,” he said.

“But it takes special people to do the education revolution, to do the housing, health and wellness revolution, to do the modern port, to do the Rabacca Bridge, to bring Sandals. It takes a special vision and the foundation of that, of course, is the education revolution, the training of the young people.”

The prime minister said people are now seeing “how the vision is rolling out.

“It’s not the first time that when you’re rolling out a vision that along the way some people would want to question, ‘Boy, are they doing it right? Are they sequencing it properly?’ Well, you see how it is being sequenced and you see how the thing rolling out,” Gonsalves said. 

“And we’re coming from a colonial, amended colonial economy and we’re changing the thing. The country, those who are here before we came to office and who remember it, will know the place is a vastly different place for the much better. We have challenges still. A lot of them are externally sourced,” the prime minister said.

6 replies on “Low birth rate, males tending to criminality among internal problems in SVG, PM says”

  1. The population of svg is negatively affected due to migration. Between 2001 and 2020 it will be interesting numbers as far as the amount of persons who took off because of econmic problems. The ULP started their tenure with a large scale victimsation program that was alin to a cleansing. Persons from all strata of life were affected. Starting from vinlec where St.. Clair leacock and Jennifer Eustace were victims. To the bottom rung of the aocietal ladder where a young man from chateaubelair who was a school watchman and his wife who was a part time time keeper were both sent home because they were perceived not to be ulp..

    The ULP firwd persons from every strata of the society. I recalled Arnhim Eustace and St. Clair Leacock had to travel to Barbados to highlight the ploght of vincentians who were fired by Ralph and the ULP..
    Many persons had to take their bellies and make boat as they flee the wrath of the ulp to greener pastures. So for Rlalph 20 plus years after to come and give the impression that the population is stagnant because of vincies not making more childresn is a big fat lie. Well thY maybe so but why? The bittom line os that persons were forced to flee the land of their birth simply because they couldnt make ends meet.

  2. The PM is speaking foolishness. As it atabdsnow the Vincentian population shows a marginal increase due to a lost of economic problems faced by the nation. Among them are as follows: High rate of crimes, Hyperinflation and , high employment, unaffordable housing opportunities and the list goes on.

    Most of the arable lands have already taken over for housing projects. What is left over are area which are subjected to hazards of many kinds due to high elevation .

    High immigration due to poor wages and lack of opportunities have a negative impact on the birth rate. A higher population is going to negatively affect the environment. The PM should heed Mitchell’s advice bat but don’t score.

  3. Mr PM it’s alleged that even some of your diplomats posted overseas don’t want to return to Vincy and most people here leave at every opportunity. They not bringing children into this land to endure the suffering they’re going through. Shows how comfortable and confident people are in your leadership.

  4. Take warning says:

    Way you and yo pickney dem na go do so ? how can poor people with extreme poverty manage ? Yo think people can survive on poor relief and road wok money?

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