Emmanuel Quashie: from Liberty Lodge to Mona’s Academic Heights

Source: Emmanuel Quashie: from Liberty Lodge to Mona’s Academic Heights

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Arnhim Eustace: Crying Wolf (again)

Debunking the #NDP Myths about Election Fraud…..

Firm Meditation

Eight questions in the quest for eight seats

Disclaimer: I’m about to accuse Arnhim Eustace and his closest followers of not having a single shred of evidence of election fraud or election error sufficient to call into question the results of the 2015 elections in SVG. It’s worth repeating that I am one of the individual candidates declared victorious in the elections, and that my party has been officially announced as the winner of the elections. So feel free to consider the source and accuse me of bias. But the same is true for Eustace. He was an active participant with a huge stake in the outcome. Feel free to accuse him too, as I am about to do.

Another General Elections in SVG, another Eustace claim of massive fraud. Another vote tallied in SVG, another declaration of victory by the defeated party. Another poll concluded in SVG, another demonization…

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Media Matters 2.0

I have come to the conclusion that the New Democratic Party “NDP”, is an NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation). The hiring of some 24 Lawyers to monitor a General Election tells me that you have no faith in our Democracy, but, more so that you are not an “Opposition Party” seeking to govern our Country. Most importantly, the monitoring of any “General Election” in a Democracy must be done not by any “Political Party” who are running in the Election. Also, there must exist strong evidence that such a monitoring is indeed necessary.

For example, the case in Burundi; The UN had to employ an Electoral Observation Mission in Burundi (MENUB) for the polls amidst July election that won Mr. Nkurunziza a controversial third term ensued by the Burundi President rigging the game, in which he change the Constitution to remove the “Term Limits”. The Opposition and civil society stated that this move was in violation of the constitution, and the Arusha peace agreement that ended the country’s deadly civil war just over 10 years ago. Also, Mr Nkurunziza (Burundi President) was seeking an “illegal third term”.

Thus, there must exist empirical evidence of some sort for reasons why the NDP think’s it necessary to hire 24 Lawyers to monitor our “General Elections”. Furthermore, the monitoring of any general elections in a democracy must be done by an “independent observer”. Often times, the task is rest upon the shoulders of the UN or even civil societies.

Throughout this entire campaign, the NDP have left us with more questions…view on [NDP Manifesto] and they’ve adopted the characteristics of an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization), rather than an Opposition Party seeking Government. It is time to hold the NDP Opposition Leader “Accountable” for his many “non-responsiveness”, some of the NDP Political Candidates for their vile statements towards Women and desperate attempts to inject “Racism” into our “political culture”. Also, for the spreading of “Falsehoods” and the publication of  a “Contradictory and Unworkable” Manifesto that left the People of St Vincent and the Grenadines with more questions instead of solutions.

The language of the NDP manifesto is not only “contradictory and unworkable”, but, also lacks “Transparency”….view on [Anonymous International Investors].

Moreover, “Good Governance” not only means people in political office must be held “accountable”, but, also civil societies, private sectors and we the people must all account for our actions. The NDP supporters must be held be accountable for their disruptive behaviour on July.20.2014 (E.G Lynch Funeral) and for the total disregard in respect to “the rule of Law” (violation of our Christian Tradition). We must all uphold the “Rule of Law”.

Also, the NDP Leader and his associates must be held “accountable” for the email sent to the relevant Human Rights body by Mr. Ramos, in regards to his erroneous claims about the ULP Government grave violation of Human Rights. On this matter, there have been little to no “response” from the NDP camp. However, Article (13) of the ICESCR (1966) which speaks of the right to Education has been fully respected via the ULP Government passing of the Education Revolution Act of 2005. Thus, making education at all levels not only “universal”, but, making it both “Equal and Equitable”. In other words, persons no longer just have “equal” access to Education, but, equitable access (they can afford to go to school). Moreover, it was just last year the NDP had a rally in Kingstown in which the ULP Government did not in any way circumscribe any of the NDP members fundamental Human Rights (article 20 of the UDHR, 1948).

I know the “naysayers” and the “Negative Ad Peddlers” are going to say that I am not applying “Critical Thinking” or that I am kissing up to the Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. However, if you’ve noticed, I present my FACTS and urge people to engage me in an erudite discussion on policies and issues, but, instead they resort to “personal attacks, name callings” and spreading falsehoods.

But, yet I am the one that is not employing “Critical Thinking”. Because I support the #ULP Government I am not “Thinking Critically”. I am not challenging conventional wisdom because I refuse to be trapped in “Traditional Political Imprisonment” – I support Herman Belmer to be the next Representative for the Northern Grenadines. Because I have witness first-hand the benefits of the “Education Revolution”, the fact that the Argyle International Airport will attract more Trade and Investments to our country – I am not “thinking critically”. Moreover, indigent poor under the NDP Government sat at 25.7%, but, at present it sits at 2.9% under the ULP Government. No! Emmanuel Quashie you are not being “Objective”………

14 National Scholarships, College Students with B+ and above continues to receive $500, YES Program continues and many more.

In 2013, the ULP Government responded with a “Housing Revolution” initiative that saw so many persons receive Houses that they’ve lost ensued by the December 2013 flooding and have since broaden the initiative to include members of society who are at a disadvantage either economically, physically and mentally.

On that note; we’ve seen a society that is more inclusive and a government whose policies promotes “Equity and Inclusiveness”. President Barack Obama said at the recent Panama Summit (2015) in addressing “Civil Societies” that; “We know that economies attract more Trade and Investments when citizens are free to start a new business without paying a bribe”. We’ve noticed this under the ULP Government lead by Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. For instance, “St Vincent and the Grenadines FDI (Foreign Direct investment) sat at $34 million USD in 2002, but, FDI sits at $115.4 Million USD as of 2012” (CARICOM; FDI 2002 -2013 Report, 2014).

St Vincent and the Grenadines as a SIDS (Small Island Developing States), comes with a range of “Vulnerabilities”. Our small size makes it difficult for us to have a “wider tax space” and consumer base, thus, we will need to depend on external markets envisage substantial economic growth. The Argyle International Airport is a vital infrastructure that will see increase in areas of Trade, Investments and Tourism. Moreover, we’ve seen Min. Foreign Affairs et al Camillo MIchael Gonsalves embarked on a mission that will see Vincentians with less travel restrictions (Visa Free to 26 Countries in the Schengen Zone).

Also, our vulnerabilities are exacerbated by “exogenous shocks” such as; “Financial shocks” and the 2008 Global Financial crisis negatively impacted countries economy around the globe. However, Small Island Developing States were amongst the economies that suffered the most from the global financial crisis. For instance, in countries like St Lucia and the Bahamas saw approximately 1000 in job cuts and Barbados cut over 3000 jobs. Meanwhile, there were no job cuts in St Vincent and the Grenadines, neither a decrease in spending on public assistance geared at helping the “most vulnerable” of the population to get that chance at a better life.

To add insult to injury, SIDS geographical location makes them vulnerable to “climate shocks” amid they are at the forefront of global warming. For instance, St Vincent and the Grenadines in the last 4 years had the following; a drought causing 11% damage to GDP (mainly to agriculture), Hurricane Tomas 13% damage to GDP, December 2013 Flood resulted in 10% damage to GDP and most recent flood estimated at 17% damage to GDP. Thus, such major hits to GDP ensued by “climate shocks” are not trivial concerns, but, the NDP has no “Climate Change” agenda. On the other hand, under the ULP Government, St Vincent and the Grenadines have adopted numerous Climate Change initiatives such as; a $10 million investment plan under the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience. In the Northern Grenadines, the installation of a seawater reverse osmosis plant in 2010 envisaged providing potable water to the residents of Bequia in times of “drought”.

 

The ULP Team is endowed with a Visionary Leader (International Airport, Education Revolution, etc.) and also Pragmatic Leaders (EU removed us from their Black List, Schengen Visa Free, etc.). Sometimes politics can seem very small, but, the choice you make on December 9th, it couldn’t be bigger.

#ULP2015 #4InaRow                                                                                                                          – Emmanuel Quashie

“Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm. Being a Leader is not about being perfect. It’s about weathering the storm and carrying on”

The Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves have steered St Vincent and the Grenadines in the right direction through the storm the 2008 Global Financial Crisis and post- Global Financial Crisis, for we’ve noticed many economies were still hurting and are still feeling the impacts of the 2008 global financial crisis.

Every Prime Minister inherits challenges, but, few have face so many. We’ve noticed, few years later after the Global Financial Crisis, Salary increases for Public Servants, More persons attending University abroad (especially those of the Indigent poor), Indigent poor decreased to 2.9%,  14 National Scholarships, College Students with B+ and above continues to receive $500, YES Program continues and many more.

Comparatively, St Vincent and the Grenadines debt to GDP sits at 67%, GDP per capita increased from $3,076.29 USD in 1999 to $10,000 USD in 2014, coupled with an average economic growth of approximately 2%. On the other hand, Jamaica Debt to GDP sits at approximately 132%, GDP per capita sits at $8,600 and economic growth at 0.5%. Not to mention, over 1000 individuals lost their job in St Lucia, Bahamas and over 3000 in Barbados.

Min. of Foreign Affairs et al Camillo MIchael Gonsalves led the fight to the United Nations General Assembly, in his capacity as St Vincent and the Grenadines Permanent Representative to the United Nations to bring attention to the impact of the Global Financial Crisis impact on Small Island Developing States (SIDS). At the time, when Great Powers were creating their “country clubs” to deal with the Global Financial Crisis amidst little attention was paid to how it impacted Small Island Developing States.

The #ULP Team is endowed with a Visionary Leader (International Airport, Education Revolution, etc.) and Pragmatic Leaders (EU removed us from their Black List, Schengen Visa Free, etc.).

People of St Vincent and the Grenadines you will have a choice to make in another few weeks or so, between two completely different parties. One with “No Vision” the “NO Damn Plan” (party) according to my Comrade and Friend Trish (Jett Mummy) – abbreviated as #NDP. While on the other hand, you have the Unity Labour Party abbreviated as #ULP, a Party with a Vision and a Pragmatic Leader. Moving Forward with the Unity Labour Party #4InARow.

MY ULP STORY:

As a young man growing up I have always had a passion in education and solely believe that it is the most important tool for personal growth and the advancement of any nation state, especially developing states. However, coming from a life of destitution, being born to a mentally mother, absent a father and growing up in a group home for Homeless and incorrigible boys, impacted my chance of advancing earlier in my life. In my earlier stages of my life, I resided at Liberty Lodge Boys’ Training Centre. After Liberty Lodge, I would find myself moving from house to house just to rest my head, sometimes shower and even to acquire a proper meal.

Despite my disadvantages, I remained resilient, positive and kept focus on my goal to obtain a higher education envisage becoming a contributing human being to society. Thus, I was able to access funding through the “Disadvantage Student Loan” created out of the Education Revolution. As a result, I was able to access Higher Education, upon which I attended the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. On October, 29 (2015), I graduated with “First Class Honours” in the area of International Relations. Today, I am currently pursuing an MSc in Government, specializing in International Relations at the University of the West Indies, Mona. In addition, I tutor level’s 1, 2 & 3 courses (in the areas of International Relations) at the Undergraduate in Department of Government.

Also, I am a recipient of a Graduate Assistance, which covers my tuition fee for the Master’s Program and I have be given a Grant from the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines valued in the amount of $25,000 which covers my Hall of Residence including other living expenses, to assist with my studies.

Digression; I derived my strength from my Mother and the people who have showed me their unwavering support throughout my life. My role models are Prime Minister Dr. ralph Gonsalves, President Barack Obama and Min. Camillo Gonsalves.

– Emmanuel Quashie

The Immigration Crisis (2015).

Four million people have fled Syria since the crisis there began in 2011, most to neighboring countries. The United Nations refugee agency has called for 130,000 Syrian refugees to be resettled by the end of 2016. However, the West is being lambasted for their lack of support in quelling the current immigration crisis.

In the Western world there is something called “behavior of customs” and Western countries based on customs and state practice have a proclivity to be lenient towards immigrants+/Refugees in perilous times. Thus, before the era of Tony Blair’s “open door policy” which was deemed somewhat an irresponsible immigration policy by some critics and before Enoch Powell’s disgraceful 1968 “rivers of blood” speech – my point is that;  the whole issue of immigration became muddled and mired by politics, but, Britain was known for its  tradition of helping refugees.

Traditionally, Britain have always lend a helping hand to immigrants/refugees during a time of great plight. For instance, one of the most conspicuous examples was the welcome extended to the Huguenots. In today’s west of religious indifferentism, it is possible to forget the magnitude of the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacres in August 1572, in which the government of France authorised the killing of perhaps 50,000 people. The state-sponsored acts of barbarous mass murder led to around 100,000 people coming to Britain, many of them bringing skills as varied as silk-weaving and banking. (Seven of the 24 founders of the Bank of England were Huguenots.)

Cynics will say that it is “gesture politics” to offer these mere hundreds of people a refuge in Britain, just as other cynics might even be blinkered and hard-hearted enough to say that, with our own immigration problems, we cannot find room for the unfortunates of other lands. In fact, back then many Brits were skeptical then about the British immigration policy being too generous and that it would somehow hurt the British economy – which of course the opposite happened. Today, the UK has the 5th largest economy and the 3rd largest economy in the EU (European Union) sitting at approximately $2.9 Trillion (GDP Official Exchange Rate). Hence, they have the capacity today to help more refugees than they did some over 70 years or so ago.

However, on the matter regarding the current immigration crisis there is no place for cynicism. In fact, cynics are wrong in every respect. Admittedly, it can be no more than just a gesture – but it is a gesture worth making, not only for the hundreds of Syrians who will be given a chance of a future. It is something worth doing for Britain’s sakes, to remind them of the decent British history of giving refuge to immigrants/refugees in times of need.

In addition, the United States boasts the world’s largest economy, sitting at approximately $17.42 Trillion (GDP – Official Exchange Rate). Like the United Kingdom the United States have in the past extended a generous hand towards helping refugees. For instance, when the Allied victory brought an end to Nazi terror in Europe and to the war in the Pacific it had liberated Jews suffering from illness and exhaustion. Consequently, Jews emerged from concentration camps and hiding places to discover a world which had no place for them.

Bereft of home and family and reluctant to return to their prewar homelands, these Jewish displaced persons (DPs) were joined in a matter of months by more than 150,000 other Jews fleeing fierce antisemitism in Poland, Hungary, Romania, and the Soviet Union. Most sought to begin a new life outside Europe. Palestine was the most favored destination of Jewish Holocaust survivors, followed by the United States (U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2015). Amidst, existing immigration policy in the U.S. that was severely restrictive, President Harry S. Truman favored a liberal immigration policy toward Displaced Persons (DPs). However, faced with inaction from congress, President Truman issued an executive order known as; “Truman Directive” on December 22nd, 1945. The “Truman Directive” required that existing immigration quotas be designated for displaced persons. While overall immigration into the United States did not increase, more DPs were admitted than before. About 22,950 DPs, of whom two-thirds were Jewish, entered the United States between December 22, 1945, and 1947 under provisions of the Truman Directive.

However, by 1952, 137,450 Jewish refugees (including close to 100,000 DPs) had settled in the United States. The amended 1948 law was a turning point in American immigration policy and established a precedent for later refugee crises.

Another reason why the West should really help….

I am no fan of the immutable Vladimir Putin foreign policy, but, both Putin and President Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey makes a valid point in regards to Western countries to be blamed for the current immigration crisis. I agree with both President’s to some extent. Both, leader made the point that; Western countries are to be blamed for today’s immigration crisis amidst their Middle East Foreign Policy and of course there is some truths to the said.

The current immigration crisis is a corollary of President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and even Prime Minister Tony Blair (UK) Middle East Foreign Policy. However, Vladimir Putin will not escape this one either because his foreign policy in the Middle East, in particular, Syria (Syrian crisis ensued by the Syrian Civil war 2011) is to be blame as well. Putin’s action of supporting Basher Al Assad amidst Russian Arms Company interest RosonboronExport who was selling weapons to the Syrian Government.

But, let’s not get mired in Putin’s action at this point and look at why Western Countries Middle East Foreign policy is to bare some of the blame. For example, Former Vice President Dick Cheney was interviewed by BBC in 1994 and in a nutshell he made the point that; “it would not be wise for America to invade Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power.”

“Because what you’ll have is an American occupation and removing Saddam will result in Iraq falling to pieces”. Currently, some 21 years later – in 2015 Iraq have fallen to pieces ensued by “Operation Iraqi Freedom” (2003 Iraq invasion). Yes, the United States invaded Iraq in 2003 to take out the same Leader that Vice President Dick Cheney said 9 years earlier not to remove. Albeit, Prime Minister Tony Blair was not the main actor in the 2003 Iraq war, nonetheless he played a vital role in it.

As a result, today desperate men and women, with little children in tow, are fleeing war-ravaged Syria or Iraq in overcrowded and often deadly voyages by land or sea. People are fleeing constant bombardment of their homes from Drones, Aircrafts dropping bombs and of course ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) killing spree rampage. Most importantly, ISIL is in control of some territories in Iraq and Syria in which they imposed it’s understanding of morality and disobedience is met with harsh punishments (Beheadings, rape, etc.)

Finally, some critics make the point that; the Arab Nations are enjoying immunity from excoriation for not helping meanwhile the Western countries are being excoriated by the Media on a daily basis. In my opinion, as I pointed earlier it is one base on “traditionally practices” of Western states and by extension economic power. The GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) is a group of the wealthiest Arab nation states (6 member states). They include; The United Arab Emirates, The kingdom of Bahrain, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, The Sultanate of Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.

Moreover, collectively they boast an economy of approximately $1.7 Trillion which of course still lags behind Britain ($2.9 Trillion) the United States ($17.42 Trillion). So in other words, if the Arab states are to truly help they will have to do it collectively meanwhile the United States and the UK (also whom must bare some the responsibility for this immigration mess) can embark on a mission of “immigration generosity” as single sovereign state.

Nonetheless, the Arab states (especially the oil rich ones) can indeed do more to help in the current immigration crisis (especially the Muslim refugees). For instance, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia economy sits at $752. 5 Billion (GDP – Official Exchange Rate). On the other hand, the United Arab Emirates sits at $401.6 billion (GDP – Official Exchange Rate). Admittedly, I agree that Arab countries can indeed hand out a helping hand to quell the current immigration crisis.

Current & concise update on the immigration crisis (as of September 4th, 2015);

Germany is taking in up to 800,000 refugees, Britain pledged to take 4000 more Syrians and has pledged some $100 Million in Humanitarian aid. Moreover, Scotland’s first minister Nichola Sturgeon said Scotland should accept 1,000 refugee as a “first step”, The US has admitted approximately 1,500 Syrian refugees since the beginning of the civil war.

However, President Barack Obama pledged $1billion in loans to King Abdullah of Jordan, where more than 650,000 refugees live in massive and often strained tent cities. In 2013, he similarly promised $74m in aid to Lebanon, where more than a million people have fled. Finally, the prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia have rejected any quota system for accepting migrants.

– Emmanuel Quashie

Debunking Mr. Ramos’ Human Rights Claims

Keywords: UDHR; Universal declaration on Human Rights, ICCPR; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ICESCR; International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  

 Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible. – UN office of High Commission of Human Rights (1996)

Together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), make up the International Bill of Human Rights. In accordance with the Universal Declaration, the Covenants recognize that “… the ideal of free human beings enjoying civil and political freedom and freedom from fear and want can be achieved only if conditions are created whereby “everyone” may enjoy his civil and political rights, as well as his economic, social and cultural rights.”

A Brevity of main Human Rights;

The ICESCR (1966); Article (1) speaks of self-determination. Including the right to determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. Moreover, Article (3) speaks of equal rights of men and women to the enjoyment of all rights in the said treaty, but, Article (4) states that; Limitations may be placed on these rights only if compatible with the nature of these rights and solely for the purpose of promoting the general welfare in a democratic society. In addition, Articles (6, 7 & 8) speaks of the right to the Work and Article (11) speaks of right to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing. Everyone has the right to be free from hunger which can also be found in Article (55) (a) of UN Charter and Article (25) of the UDHR 91948). Also, Article (13) speaks of everyone has the right to education.

Under the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights; Article (3) speaks of everyone having the right to life, Article (4) No one shall be held in slavery or servitude and Article (5) states that; No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Moreover, Article (6 & 7) speaks of the rights to recognition before Law and equal before Law respectively. Article (13) speaks of the Right to freedom of Movement and Article (17) speaks of the right own property. In addition, Article (19) speaks of the rights to Freedom of Expression and Article (20) speaks of the rights to peaceful assembly and association (Protest, March etc.). In the ICCPR, Article (25) speaks of the right to vote.

For more information on Human Rights;

http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/  UDHR (19480

http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/ccpr.aspx  ICCPR (1966)

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CESCR.aspx ICESCR (1966)

http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/ UN Charter (195)

Also, important to note;

In accordance with international law Human Rights laws such as in the ICESCR (1966) are NOT justiciable because it was a resolution adapted in the General Assembly and not in the UN Security Council. Hence, the said rights mentioned are not binding on States and can’t be recognize in a court of Law. However, if ANY of the rights outline in the treaty becomes “customary international law, state practice and or gain

“opinion juris” they can become “justiciable”. Moreover, if states implement them in their local policies and constitution making them apart of their law of the lands then they can become justiciable.

The Unity Labor Party “ULP” Human Rights Track Record & Mr. Ramos Erroneous Claims;

From the very inception I knew that Mr. Ramos was up to no good and was never to be trusted. However, Mr. Ramos recent actions in regards to his slanderous email that he sent to the U.S. state Department, U.S. Embassy (Barbados) and Amnesty International only prove my concerns. Furthermore, Mr. Ramos have highlighted that he is indeed ignorant to International Law and International Human Rights Laws. It is clear, from his erroneous claims (in the email), that Mr. Ramos has absolutely no clue what International Human Rights+/ Humanitarian Laws are about. In addition, Mr. Ramos claimed St Vincent and the Grenadines is a “Police State”, but, yet he was free to come and go and even engage with people – only a Blinded idiot (Yes Blinded one too) will swallow this poisonous pill he is trying to sell people. A “police state” is a state in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic, and political life of the people, especially by means of a secret police force.

In a nutshell, a police state will see grave violations of fundamental Human Rights. For instance, states like Myanmar (Burma) was once deemed as a police state and perhaps somewhat in some sense is still deemed as such. Indeed, a much better example will be the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”, in short; North Korea. St Vincent and the Grenadines don’t have a large enough police force armed with Guns, much less to have a “secret police force” for any government to curb people’s fundamental Human Rights. Mr. Ramos claims about St Vincent and the Grenadines being a “police state” is factually untrue.

Also, Mr. Ramos claimed that Vincentians are in fear of speaking out. Now, if this was the case we would not have seen groups like; War Room 1 & 2 and many people of the opposition party constantly lambasting the Government on a daily basis. In addition, there are even people who work in the Public Sector that excoriate the Government on a regular in Public spaces and even on Social Media, but, yet still no one has been thrown in prison and there are no evidence of “arbitrary arrest”. Hence, Article (19) of the UDHR (1948) speaks of the right to Freedom of Expression which evidently ALL Vincentians enjoys under the ULP Government.

In addition, to the many “untruths”, constant name calling and utter disrespect of the Prime Minister no one has seen their social, economic and political life ripped from them. Moreover, No ONE is in prison for their grotesque behavior and total disrespect of our Christian Tradition at the E.G Lynch Funeral which by our laws they can face Jail time.

In St Vincent and the Grenadines no one is forced to vote or not to vote for any political party. For instance, there are no “Garrisons” in St Vincent and the Grenadines liken to “Tivoli Gardens” Kingston, Jamaica. Thus, since the ULP Government have been in power people have been exercising their rights to Vote covered in Article (25) of the ICCPR (1966).

Under Article (11) of the ICESCR (1966) along with Article 55 (a) of the UN charter we’ve notice that the Government (ULP) have establish the “Housing revolution” and have assisted many people through numerous social programs.

In addition, Article (13) of the ICESCR (1966) which speaks of the right to Education; being fully respected via the ULP Government passing the Education Revolution Act of 2005 making primary and secondary education universal. Moreover, it was just last year the NDP had a rally in Kingstown in which the ULP Government did not in any way infringe on any of the NDP members fundamental Human Rights (article 20 of the UDHR, 1948).

In a nutshell, we have not witnessed any Fundamental Human Rights being violated by the ULP Government at any time in accordance with international Laws and International Humanitarian Laws. However, I understand that people of differing “political party” may not always see “eye to eye” with each other on every issue. Moreover, you will have differing perspective on issues and the governance of the country. But, we can also find commonalities even on the most contentious of issues only if we allow rational thinking to Prevail and resist the poisonous venom of “ignorance”. On that note, I urge my fellow Vincentians be it Red, Yellow or Green to refrain from slandering your country envisage political expediency.

The Leader of the Opposition Party; the Hon Mr. Arnhim Eustace once said “Everyone has the Right to Speak even if they talk foolishness”. Owing to Eustace, Mr. Ramos embark on his mission to speak untruths and foolishness about the ULP Government.

– Emmanuel Quashie

ASK Ralph……?

Good Governance – Let have an Honest Conversation 

St Vincent and the Grenadines is a Sovereign State (independence 1979) and a relatively small island located in the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean with a population of “102,918 “(CIA, World Fact Book, July, 2014). In addition, St Vincent and the Grenadines GDP sits at $736 million (Official Exchange Rate) on the other hand, GDP Purchasing Power Parity sits at $1.184 billion.  What does this mean? Economy has always been employed as a “measuring stick” to determine a country’s strength, progress and how well they are doing. To stress the point, economy have been used since the Roman and British times to determine “Superpower” and today it is still employed as such. For instance, we hear the constant debate about China’s rise to “Global Superpower” status in regard to its “economic power” match up to the United States.

Now, St Vincent and the Grenadines is no “Superpower”, but, we’ve noticed much progress since the inception of the Unity Labor Party (ULP) Government. For instance, St Vincent and the Grenadines GDP per Capita currently sits at $10,500 an increase from $3,076.29 in 1999. What this simply means is that, the average person’s income today is Three (3x) times the amount it was prior to the ULP taking office in 2001.

Often times, any discussions regarding the state of a country’s economy almost always results in a debate about the country’s poverty/indigent poor levels and how the “average person” hasn’t felt it in his/her pockets.

 

Digression; According to The World Bank; extreme poverty is defined as average daily consumption of $1.25 (USD) or less and means living on the edge of subsistence. Today, extreme poverty remains a thorn that refuses to capitulate to the behest of solutions made by loquacious politicians, NGOs and other “actors” of the like to completely eradicate it once for all. Albeit, we have witnessed some accomplishments made thus far to eradicate poverty once and for all. For instance, the MDG 2015 (Millennium Development Goals) have reported that; “the global poverty rate sits at $1.25 (USD) a day fell in 2010 to less than half the 1990 rate. Also, 700 million fewer people lived in conditions of extreme poverty in 2010 than in 1990. However, at the global level 1.2 billion people are still living in extreme poverty (UNMDG2015, 2014).

In St Vincent and the Grenadines, poverty eradication remains a top priority for the ULP government.  According to reports made by Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) in collaboration with World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2012 stated that; 30.2% of the population in St Vincent and the Grenadines was poor, a decrease from 37.5% in 1996. The reports also found a marked decrease in the proportion of indigent poor which fell from 25.7% in 1996 to 2.9% in 2008.

Thus, the statistical reports as it relates to poverty/indigent, highlights that St Vincent and the Grenadines is not immune to the disease known as “poverty”. Also to point out, that in the reports there are no explicit labelling as “extreme poverty”, but, the indigent poor in St Vincent and the Grenadines were/and are living on the “edge of subsistence” (Characteristics of “extreme Poverty). Moreover, a survey done by Kairi Consultant Limited in 2007/2008, estimated that the “indigent poor” representing in dollars ($) to be EC$2446 ($905.92 USD) per adult per annum or EC$6.70 ($2.74 USD) per adult per day. Also, the dollar ($) figures establishes the minimum amount required to maintain good bodily health and affordability of basic food just for survival. Hence, during the NDP Government the indigent poor in St Vincent & the Grenadines who were living on the “edge of subsistence” sat at 25.7% (1996). Now, under the ULP Government the indigent poor sits at 2.9% as of 2008 – such a huge decrease is a “Big F**k*** Deal” in the words of the United States Vice President Joe Biden.

Nonetheless, poverty remains a social issue in St Vincent and the Grenadines like every other country in the World. For example, in the United States of America; 16% of the population live in poverty, including almost 20% of children (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012). Let’s take a more relative example, St Lucia poverty rate sits at 45% coupled with the highest rate of indigent poor (St Lucia Project, 2013).

Thus, the ULP government has realized this and took several approaches to eradicate poverty and reduce indigent poor since they came into office. For instance, the “Housing Revolution”, Education Revolution act (2005) and the Basic Needs Trust Fund Programme (BNTF); just to name a few. The “Housing Resolution” is a programme that has brought untold benefits to the lives of many Vincentians who are the beneficiaries. First there was the 100% mortgage programme at the then National Commercial Bank, a programme that the leader of the Opposition, Arnhim Eustace, said was not workable. However, a number of civil servants, including teachers, police officers and nurses, took advantage of this development, and now have their own homes.

Over the years, the ULP administration has implemented the “middle income housing” policy, the “low income housing” policy, and not to be undone, the “no income housing” policy. For instance, the “No Income” housing project was designed to address the shelter needs of those Vincentians whose monthly income were $700.00 EC or less ($259.25USD) per month and are unable to access credit from financial institutions to construct or renovate their homes. However, the program was made possible by a $9 million grant from the government of Venezuela (Ministry of Housing, SVG, 2014). In addition, many people today have received keys to their new homes and especially those who have lost their homes ensued by recent events of “Climate Shocks”.

On the other hand, the “Education Revolution” was aimed at “eliminating poverty, improving living standards, helping young men and women find employment, fighting drug trafficking and abuse” (Dr Ralph Gonsalves, 2007). For instance, the 2005 universal access to secondary education in St Vincent and the Grenadines were the corollary of the “education revolution act of 2005. In addition, under the “Education Revolution” we’ve noticed a lot of students were able to attend top universities abroad amidst they were able to access funding through the “Disadvantage Student Loan program”. So in other words, prior to the said program persons could not have accessed student loans unless you had some form of “collateral” (Land, assets, House, Business etc.). Today, many people can now access student loans envisage obtaining a higher education and pursuing their dreams with their “Wings unclipped”. Especially, those of the population that don’t have the means (collateral) to be approved for funding. Today many “lower income” earners have been lifted out of poverty/indigence ensued by the ability to access funding to attained a higher education and many have been able to put their children through University ensued by the “Disadvantage Student Loan”.

Furthermore, the Basic Need Trust Fund Programme (BNTF) is a Caribbean Development Bank flagship programme aim at reducing poverty across the Caribbean, but, has operated in St Vincent and the Grenadines since 1979. However, on June, 3, 2013 the ULP Government in collaboration with Caribbean Development Bank launched a $4.7 million US dollar Project for poverty alleviation in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

In closing, today poverty (extreme, indigent) remains a “thorn” to both developed and developing countries and there are no easy fix/solutions to see its complete eradication. However, the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines (ULP) and by extension the benevolence of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves have created policies and measures that are more proactive and pragmatic in eradicating poverty in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Hence, the policies and measures put in place thus far have been successful in reducing the level of poverty/indigent from 1996 to 2008 (25.7% to 2.9%).

Important to note; Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves have even received an award of recognition from the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 for his work in several areas, but, especially in the area of helping the poor. Thus, the ULP government remains highly committed to eradicating poverty/indigent in its totality once and for all.

#ULP2015                                                                                                                                                – Emmanuel Quashie