St. Vincent and the Grenadines celebrating 38th anniversary of independence

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Oct 27, CMC – St. Vincent and the Grenadines is celebrating its 38th anniversary of political independence from Britain with the traditional military parade and differing views on the progress the island has made from the government and the opposition.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves in his Independence Message urged citizens to continue to focus on the inter-woven socio-economic fabric of unity, peace, justice, and prosperity in the quest of the further upliftment of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

SVG FlagHe said the nation is founded on the belief in the supremacy of God and the freedom and dignity of man and woman and that the ideals, and principles, enshrined and elaborated in the Constitution “are the bedrock fundamentals which unite us as a people in a specific landscape and seascape… and through the prism of which we have been shaped over time.

“They are the enduring basics which engender our social solidarity, for good, not ill,” Gonsalves said, noting that “our people’s unity and solidarity are made manifest, formally and practically, in citizenship which is the bond that holds us together, now and forever.

‘Citizenship is the highest office in the land, higher than that of Governor-General or Prime Minister. This fundamental truth thus restrains us from joining any bandwagon, however tempting its lure of easy money, which urges us to sell our citizenship and our passport.

“Our citizenship is not for sale; it is not a commodity for trade or commerce. And our passport is the outward sign of the inward grace of citizenship; that, too, is not for sale,”’ Gonsalves said, a reference to the decision by some Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries to engage in the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) that provides citizenship to foreign investors for making substantial investments in the socio-economic development of the particular country.

Gonsalves was also critical of what he termed the “this unsavory under-belly of a small number of hardened criminals’ which he said threatened the security of citizens.

“Accordingly, this monstrous criminality must be fought unequivocally on all fronts; the perpetrators of such criminality must be stopped. Our civilisation will never allow a handful of gun-men and their opportunistic allies to hold sway.

“We shall be relentless in pursuing them. Our Parliament, Cabinet, Law Courts, Police Force, and all other security and law-enforcement agencies, at home and abroad, in communion with a supportive people as a whole, will defeat these vile threats to our citizen security.”

In his message, Opposition Leader Godwin Friday said independence provided an opportunity to “take stock of where we are and consider where we are going”.

He said in recent times, citizens have endured economic hardship, social problems such as increasing violent crime, political strife and moral decline.

“Our people now live in constant fear of violent crime. Despite these serious threats to the existence of peaceful society, no action is taken by those in power to reassure the public. Official platitudes have replaced substance.

“Our decaying physical infrastructure — roads, bridges, schools, public buildings, health facilities, police stations and coast guard facilities– are in plain view for all to judge. Our economy is underperforming. Ill-informed and misguided policies have eroded our economic base and impeded our productive and competitive abilities.”

Friday said that other effects of poor economic policies and management are also in plain view of citizens including high and ever-increasing taxes, the lowest wages in the OECS; massive unemployment and unconscionably high government debt to the domestic private sector.

He said these “ills” have forced business closures and made local building contractors afraid to do business with the government.

“Accountability for the use of public funds is woefully lacking and moral responsibility to account is denied in the highest levels of our government.

“A correction is clearly necessary. Just as our Caribbean neighbours in Dominica and elsewhere are gallantly rebuilding after natural disasters, we too must rebuild from our own man-made crisis,” he said, adding “we must not fail”.

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The Montserrat Reporter - August 18, 2017

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KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Oct 27, CMC – St. Vincent and the Grenadines is celebrating its 38th anniversary of political independence from Britain with the traditional military parade and differing views on the progress the island has made from the government and the opposition.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves in his Independence Message urged citizens to continue to focus on the inter-woven socio-economic fabric of unity, peace, justice, and prosperity in the quest of the further upliftment of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

SVG FlagHe said the nation is founded on the belief in the supremacy of God and the freedom and dignity of man and woman and that the ideals, and principles, enshrined and elaborated in the Constitution “are the bedrock fundamentals which unite us as a people in a specific landscape and seascape… and through the prism of which we have been shaped over time.

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“They are the enduring basics which engender our social solidarity, for good, not ill,” Gonsalves said, noting that “our people’s unity and solidarity are made manifest, formally and practically, in citizenship which is the bond that holds us together, now and forever.

‘Citizenship is the highest office in the land, higher than that of Governor-General or Prime Minister. This fundamental truth thus restrains us from joining any bandwagon, however tempting its lure of easy money, which urges us to sell our citizenship and our passport.

“Our citizenship is not for sale; it is not a commodity for trade or commerce. And our passport is the outward sign of the inward grace of citizenship; that, too, is not for sale,”’ Gonsalves said, a reference to the decision by some Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries to engage in the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) that provides citizenship to foreign investors for making substantial investments in the socio-economic development of the particular country.

Gonsalves was also critical of what he termed the “this unsavory under-belly of a small number of hardened criminals’ which he said threatened the security of citizens.

“Accordingly, this monstrous criminality must be fought unequivocally on all fronts; the perpetrators of such criminality must be stopped. Our civilisation will never allow a handful of gun-men and their opportunistic allies to hold sway.

“We shall be relentless in pursuing them. Our Parliament, Cabinet, Law Courts, Police Force, and all other security and law-enforcement agencies, at home and abroad, in communion with a supportive people as a whole, will defeat these vile threats to our citizen security.”

In his message, Opposition Leader Godwin Friday said independence provided an opportunity to “take stock of where we are and consider where we are going”.

He said in recent times, citizens have endured economic hardship, social problems such as increasing violent crime, political strife and moral decline.

“Our people now live in constant fear of violent crime. Despite these serious threats to the existence of peaceful society, no action is taken by those in power to reassure the public. Official platitudes have replaced substance.

“Our decaying physical infrastructure — roads, bridges, schools, public buildings, health facilities, police stations and coast guard facilities– are in plain view for all to judge. Our economy is underperforming. Ill-informed and misguided policies have eroded our economic base and impeded our productive and competitive abilities.”

Friday said that other effects of poor economic policies and management are also in plain view of citizens including high and ever-increasing taxes, the lowest wages in the OECS; massive unemployment and unconscionably high government debt to the domestic private sector.

He said these “ills” have forced business closures and made local building contractors afraid to do business with the government.

“Accountability for the use of public funds is woefully lacking and moral responsibility to account is denied in the highest levels of our government.

“A correction is clearly necessary. Just as our Caribbean neighbours in Dominica and elsewhere are gallantly rebuilding after natural disasters, we too must rebuild from our own man-made crisis,” he said, adding “we must not fail”.