The Unity Labour Party Manifesto 2015
Table of Contents
Rabacca Crossing Under the NDP
In 2001, the NDP left our country in an awful mess. A summary reminder is necessary and desirable. The material conditions of life were terrible: Poverty stood at 37.5 percent of the population; indigence or “dirt poor” poverty was 25.7 percent of the population; under-nourishment was high at 22 percent of the population; the unemployment rate was over 21 percent of the population and had increased by nearly 2 percentage points above the 1991 figure; wages and salaries, and per capita income, were the lowest in the Eastern Caribbean; a significant number of homes, in excess of 30 percent, were without pipe-borne water or electricity; some one-half of the homes were without water closets and had access only to pit toilets; garbage collection was practically non-existent outside of the city of Kingstown and its immediate environs; housing, particularly for the poor and indigent, was highly inadequate; little or no effort, and hardly any resources, were put to disaster preparedness and management; and the delivery of health services was generally poor.
In the field of education, opportunities were limited, and performance unacceptably poor at the Common Entrance, CXC, and “A” Level exams. Less than 20 percent of the 3 – 5 year olds were in early childhood education; only 39 percent of the 12-year olds were at secondary schools; only a tiny proportion of eligible students had access to post-secondary and tertiary education or training; literally only four teachers in the entire primary school system were university graduates, and less than 60 percent of these primary school teachers were professionally-trained as teachers.
The overall governance of the country was bad: Official corruption was rampant, including the rip-off at the Ottley Hall Project; money-laundering was tolerated; the off-shore finance sector was largely unregulated and the oversight of it did not meet minimum international standards. Black lists, with deleterious effects, were imposed on St. Vincent and the Grenadines relating to its offshore finance sector, its fisheries regime, and maritime administration. The state-owned National Commercial Bank was in shambles and it had lost vital corresponding banking arrangements with the USA. The Building and Loan Association and Credit Unions were poorly regulated, to the detriment of their membership. In the state administration, conditions of neglect, inefficiency, waste, and below-par professionalism were the order of the day. The machinery and facilities to protect and promote citizen security were run-down and highly inadequate for the tasks at hand. And, Parliament met with the infrequency of the Supreme Soviet under Leonid Brezhnev.
Moreover, there was no credible bundle of relevant policies and programmes offered by the then-NDP government to take St. Vincent and the Grenadines from backwardness to progress, from extreme hardship to upliftment. Economic policy was directionless; foreign and domestic investment was on a go-slow; and a wrong-headed fiscal austerity was unbalancing the country. Nothing was on offer for airport development and regional air transport; the roads were in an abject state of woeful neglect, and the people north of the Dry River were in isolation. The spirit of the people was at a low ebb; sports and culture were in the doldrums. The huge potential of the Vincentian component of our Caribbean civilisation was nowhere close to being realised.
We must never ever allow ourselves to return to this constellation of horrors or more.
WE IN THE ULP CLEANED UP THE AWFUL MESS WHICH THE NDP LEFT US IN 2001 AND WE PLACED SVG ON A GENUINE DEVELOPMENTAL PATH IN THE INTEREST OF ALL THE PEOPLE. WE MUST NOW CONSOLIDATE OUR EFFORTS AND MAKE OUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS EVER MORE SUSTAINABLE!