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Commentary: How weak is St Vincent and the Grenadines economy? Ask Ralph!
Published on March 3, 2016 Email To Friend    Print Version

By D. Markie Spring

Yet, the majority is now convinced that Ralph Gonsalves does not understand the field of economics.

The author of a number of published works, D. Markie Spring was born in St Vincent and the Grenadines and now resides in Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands. He has an MBA from the University of Leicester, England, and a BA from Saint Mary's University, Canada
Each day we live, I've listened to Ralph moving his self-worth from a dollar to mega millions. The conclusion of this crafted lottery jackpot are to insinuate that he is the most brilliant, an outstanding economist and political scientist, and the 'God-sent', solely having the ability to run the affairs of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

Over time, his "Lumber-supporters" and "Paid-programmers" are echoing the same senseless sentiments without thinking and analyzing the status quo for themselves. However, Ralph's convoluted background does not match his performance over the 15 years he´s been in government.

During those years, SVG has been plagued by enormous economic setbacks. For over a decade now, SVG's economy has experienced negative growth although its prime minister had promised economic growth year after year, which has brought about extreme poverty and grievous unemployment, notwithstanding the escalating crime rates. Additionally, during Ralph's rule SVG's daunting economy was struck twice by the flash-floods and once by Hurricane Tomas, which the PM held onto as the passport for years of economic drawbacks.

Among other phenomena; the constant borrowing and taxes, yet, the scarcity of industries and other socio-economic development; Ralph's interview about LIAT in Grenada where he indicated that LIAT does not exist to make a profit; all the madness behind the scenes of the international airport in which the PM stated that the global economic meltdown (GEM) will have no economic bearing, has allowed me to infer that the PM is lacking economic knowhow.

Furthermore, the YES program, where person spends more than they earned; the geothermal landscape, which indicates that the country will own fewer shares than its external bidders; the distribution of lumber instead of stable long-term jobs -- hence, the "Love" campaign; the shutting down of agriculture industry, importing more than exporting; and the present economic condition of the state -- I am convinced that Ralph does not understand the field of finance and economics or its management.

Most disturbing, Ralph Gonsalves has, on many occasions, blamed the GEM and the floods for severely crippling SVG's efforts to grow its economy. Again this excuse surfaced once more on page 17 of the ULP's 'red' book; however, Ralph's claims are not entirely true.

First, let's agree that any type of disaster initially leaves an economic imprint on any economy -- sets in motion a complex chain of events, which often disrupt both the local and, in severe cases, the national economy. However, the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis argued that the recovery process yields economic growth and has termed the recovery period as the fiscal expansion.

The rebuilding and clean-up efforts generate temporary increases in retail sales items, such as batteries, canned foods and construction materials.

Furthermore, this rebuilding activity usually creates both increased sales tax receipts and additional employment. Hence, the bank describes this feature of a disaster as being ironic, as it spurs the pace of economic activity in the region where it occurred. Additionally, destroyed physical assets are replaced with assets incorporating highly advanced technology; thus, enhancing incomes.

Coupled with this, the bank reiterates, normally the net economic effects of the recovery period are wedded to a number of factors, which include strength of the economy prior to the disaster and the timing and extent of disaster monies from federal government and private organizations, like the Red Cross.

Hence, Ralph's claims could only be true if he dismantled the recovery process. Noticeably, there has been a huge rock on Byrea's bridge for many years, many homes are still unfixed and one of the bridges at Georgetown has to sink in the middle for construction to begin. Many more rebuilding efforts took place around election 2015; hence, leaving the economy to deteriorate further until that time.

Similarly, the PM hides his incompetence behind the GEM! On one hand he falsely indicated to the nation that the global economic setbacks sparked by widespread failures in financial regulations would never affect the construction of the airport. Contradicting, he returned later-on and adamantly blamed the GEM for his inability to grow the economy.

It is worthy to note that while PM Gonsalves was blaming the GEM, economists revealed that a number of economies around the world had positive growth, ranging from 0.1 percent to over 10 percent. Economists further explained that the key to these successes lay in the leaders' abilities and vision to gather their cabinets and design economic strategies and fight against protectionism; hence, developing further trade and investment agreements with key trade partners and lower trade costs and barriers.

In some nearby Caribbean countries the authorities opened their tourism sectors by offering vacation packages at reduced prices, which increased the airport traffic and tourist arrivals.

Other effective global responses to the crisis were: tax rebates and tax reforms to aid in sectors, such as housing; stimulus plans; and lower interest rate policy. In fact, some banks reduced their interest rates to entice investors while some leaders urged refinancing strategies.

Furthermore, I am also aware that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had, in September 2010, recommended that the financial crisis won't exit without a significant decrease in the unemployment rate, as millions of people worldwide lost their jobs in the process. Knowing this, SVG seems to be in a recessionary state.

The million dollar question is what was SVG doing during this recessionary period? The answers lie in the status quo! We did nothing, but adapted austerity measures and waited on developed economies to correct the situation.

To further bolster the two phenomena above, the ever-increasing taxes in SVG is alarming. SVG, being a small and vulnerable economy cannot solely survive on taxes. The truth is, industries, employment and taxes are wedded to each other -- without one there is no marriage. For one to pay taxes, there must be employment and for employment to exist, there must be industries.

What is happening in SVG is that the few employed are paying taxes for the huge number of people who cannot get a job; hence, the constant increases in taxes on one set of people -- the employed few.

I urge the PM to stop looking at us as opposition and internet crazies, and the other degrading names with which he has christened us and let us help in moving the country forward. In many of the PM's infamous speeches he often highlights that together we will build our country. The question is, does this 'togetherness' mean he and his family or is it the PM and the other followers? I ask because the PM's actions often refute his words.

These economic setbacks cannot solely be pointing toward the global economic crisis and the unexpected disasters -- there has to be some form of incompetence and lack of vision and leadership that is playing a huge role in SVG's economic collapse.

In my opinion, Gonsalves' only strategy and economic ability is to tax the daylight out of citizens and beg his way to economic prosperity -- we´ve seen the results.
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Mark Spring has just awoken from his temporary rest. You've given us a mouthful. Perhaps you didn't take the time to listen to Mr Eustace during his presentation on Monday, at French House Kingstown. Eustace went on record saying that the manufacturing sector had indeed recorded growth in 2015. I was mostly surprised to hear this coming from Arnhim's mouth. Remember, every sector is down and not functioning. Those are the sentiments coming from mostly NDP supporters'. The fact is things are not 100 percent, but in spite of the many challenges SVG has managed to keep its head above waters.

Things are bad, yet the Vincentian government is one of few that hasn't been on any IMF program. Things are bad, yet the government haven't laid off a single soul employed by the state.

Mark, please elaborate on how the government can raise revenue? You see, its always easy to utter nice words, but when the "rubber" meets the road is a difference ball game all together. I would love to see a couple of factories put down in the country. But where do we to start?

Agriculture is down yet we exported more Arrowroot in 2015. Hoping to double that in 2016. Agriculture is dead yet we have about one thousand heads of Cattles to export to Grenada in 2016.

Still on agriculture. The Ministry of Agriculture is also exploring the possibility of exporting Bananas to Tortola and the USA. Does this sounds like a sleeping regime?

I rest my case.

C. ben-David:

Observer is correct though he cleverly uses very selective evidence. Spring, on the other hand, uses no evidence at all to support his usual pile of poorly written rhetoric.

SVG has been a have-not country since the demise of plantation agriculture, which began early in the post-slavery era. Imports have exceeded exports in value for at least 100 years. No government has ever been able to substantially enhance our economic well being. This regime is no different than the rest.

Our party politics system as always been about staying in power using economic means, not growing the economy using existing resources, human and otherwise, which are quite limited.

Peter Binose:

Observer, observe this. Every single thing this government does ends up in tragedy. They cannot do anything right, everything is underfunded not just with money but with intelligence of Ministers which lacks to such a degree that they are little more tha. moronic morons.

The problem is that the states figure have been massaged and altered so as to mislead outside reporting agencies and to fool the Vincentian people. It's called the Maurice Bishop syndrome. To top it all we have a prime minister that showers us not with wealth and well being but an enormous starburst of lies. He cannot help himself he is such a liar that one must discount much of what he says until evidence comes from another source.

I feel sure he works on the principal of don't bother with the truth, just tell them what they want to hear.

Markie Spring unlike you Observer is a real person, a successful man with publications to his credit. He is a decent man who does not need to support the lies and a liar. He uses his own name and does not hide behind a persona.

Everything that Markie has written above is correct that is why you have taken the time to try and poo poo what he wrote and ridicule the man. But that will not work because all the Vincentian readers including those in the Diaspora know Markie Spring, they know he is an honest and trusted man and that they can trust his word.

Seeing as he is not a self confessed liar he cannot be considered as a thief, using Gonsalves analogy "show me a liar and I will show you a thief".

So Observer you being a liar according to your leader are also a thief. So why would anyone entertain anything that you bring here as facts and quotations of others. Like your leader as a liar you simply cannot be trusted with the truth.

D. Markie Spring :

Peter Binose you cannot waste time with "Observer" and others. The truth is in the Status Quo. What I ve written is not a made up sotry but facts flashing lights in the faces of Vincentians.

"Observer" asked, where else can we generate revenue. Well it shows that he/ she too does not undrstand. In an effort to be independent of taxes we have to diversify our revenue sources. The only sources that Ralph and "Observer" know are taxes and borrowing. But I am aware that industries produce enormous revenues to the government.

Currently, the only source Ralph has available to him is taxes and while he is being supported by another incompetent follower our country is sinking and there is no way these taxes can alliviate us.

It is the incompetence of Ralph and Oberver and the like that are cuasing much pain in our country.


peter enjoying calling our PM a liar. There's one thing am aware of. Mr Eustace is the most truthful politician you can find anywhere in SVG.

The man always speaks the truth.

Sometime in January Mr Eustace went down to gave support to those persons who were excising their democratic rights, under our present Constitution.

The right to peaceful protest. While there a reporter approached the Honourable Arnhim Eustace, and asked him a question.

Reporter: "Sir, any of these protesters are members of the NDP".

Eustace responded by saying: "No. They are not members of our party".

Reporter: "Thank you very much Sir"

A few weeks later, while addressing the crowed at a victory rally in Layou, Eustace had took the time to reached out to those (protesters'), thanking them for their continued support against what he described as [fraudulent].

I want Peter to doubt this one. Former speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr Monty Maule, had some strong words for the NDP. "Saying here is not the right place for this forum, should have gone in the House to debate the Budget".

What I had mentioned, came from the same forum. Those were Monty's opening remarks. The growth in the manufacturing sector, those remarks were made during Mr Arnhim presentation. peter, I want you to call Nice radio, and kindly request a replay of Eustace's presentation at French House. And tell me If am lying.

And please let me know if you were successful in your attempt, ok. You see, most of the time you guys do not listen to what the PM has to say. So you frame your own opinion and put it out as facts.

I'm not a supporter of the NDP, but I do listen to some of their programs so I could have a balanced view. Peter, doubt this one too. We had (22) private Jets in Canouna on the same day, recently. This was disclosed by the PM this morning during an interview on Star FM where he'd touched on a few matters briefly, including the ongoing impasse.

D. Markie Spring :

Another obverstation is that the "Observer" seemed to be talking "Party Politics"

"Observer" for your info, I do not have a party. what is important to me are the issues confronting the nation. I dont care about NDP and sure dont about your ULP. Discuss the issues at hand it will make you a better "Observer"

YOu want a back and forth about Party then find another. Learn and debate the problems i your country

C. ben-David:

"It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing

(William Shakespeare's Macbeth).


My friend, Peter, you and Spring are birds of a feather who flock together, making all sorts of vague assertions lacking empirical, statistical, descriptive, case-study or any other verifiable evidence. You both may be spot on in your generalizations but fail to give us reliable supporting proof which thereby makes the generalizations worse than useless because they can then be easily debunked by your foes with one or two facts (as Observer did above).

You both know that I am among the current regime's strongest critics but such criticism must be grounded in hard facts to be believable!

Peter, you have indeed often given us a lot of facts to back up your generalizations; but more often than not, you have not. This may be because you have no evidence to present or are afraid to present the evidence you have because you fear that you or others might be victimized as a result.

My view, as expressed above, is that it would be far more useful to the cause we all share -- replacement of the current ULP regime in SVG -- to keep quiet unless you have facts to back up what you say. Otherwise you come across as "an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

As for Spring, he has hardly ever presented any evidence to support his assertions as superficially credible as they may sound.

He is also guilty of very crude and awkward prose which tells me that he could hardly be a successful published author of peer-reviewed works in recognized journals, magazines, periodicals, respected newspapers (not local rags like own own in SVG) or other scholarly or intellectual outlets.

All of us -- myself included -- have to up our game if we hope to contribute to the well being of our beloved homeland by presenting the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in a manner that would be credible and verifiable if evaluated by truly objective external observers -- i.e., non-nationals who have no stake in either maintaining or overturning the present system of governance.

Anything less does a disservice to our people and country.

Number 9:


Wow – help me here. Based on excerpts in this piece, I’m assuming you stumbled on (or were you directed by someone to view this site?) the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis website and saw Kevin Kliesen’s piece “The Economics of Natural Disasters”. If so, tell me which of my assumption is correct: (1) you did not read the entire article; (2) You read the entire article but did not understand it; (3) you understood the article but deliberately tried to fit a “square peg in a round hole”. As a critic of the current economic situation in SVG, at a minimum you should be able to compare like economies and effectively document your case. However, after reading the “economic” related articles you’ve penned on this site, I sincerely question your understanding of this subject.


That's clear Ben, present the truth. Must have a balance view. I take my leave, Mr Speaker!

D Markie Spring:

C Ben David if you were smart enough you d tell your audience what is not factual and give us the evidence that they are not.

The same thing you are accusing me of, you have demonstrated same.

You sound like the guy who had the problem with Eustace during the Garifuna honaray citizenship campaign.

You sound like you have personal problem.

Tell us what's not statistically true about my message!

D Markie Spring:

"Observer" you need a comprehension lesson and I can't hold your hand. Its one thing to read, another to understand. If you don't know how else to collect revenues then you worse than your boss. Read the article again and come back to me let me mark you.

Peter Binose:

David you really must stop trying to be too clever for your boots. You have written more unsubstantiated crap about the airport interwoven with dubious politics than anyone who comes here so for you to call the kettle black makes you appear the idiot not me.

Your very silly piece about Bequia airport which I notice a well know Bequian answered and put you in your place. What he wrote made a lot more sense than the silly mish mash of attacking Mitchell dressed in the airport cloak that you wrote.

I have always withheld what I feel on what you write because it is your opinion and I respect your opinion and everyone else’s opinion, except of course the ghost writers sent to nasty up what everyone writes.

I have noticed that besides this piece, in the past you have attacked everything that Markie Spring writes; if you had your way you would be the only person who writes on this media.

Why do you spend your time attacking him instead of writing your own opinions or proving what he wrote is incorrect, if you are such a clever dick why not do that? You must stop trying to teach writers how to do things, as I once told you before a long time ago, you are not a journalistic policemen so stop trying to be one.

When you read what Markie wrote it is a great piece and regardless of what you say is factual. If you think it isn’t well say where it is not and prove it’s wrong. Or accept it’s his opinion and stop being spiteful.

David you are no great writer, and for you to offer up insults about Markie Springs writing talents without knowing anything at all about his writings and publications, his past and present, or his status in society is shameful. You come here as a ghost writer who expects everyone to clap and cheer whilst you write a whole bunch of crap under an assumed name.

If you feel inferior that is your problem, but I suspect that you are man who has a tendency to be jealous.

David if you cannot behave yourself go and sit in the corner with Vincyman and Observer and put on the dunces hats.

D Markie Spring:

C Ben David you finally got the attention you ve looking for happy now?

D Markie Spring:

Well said peter binose.

You have put it well no need going over that again. The thing is one.number 9 came here in defence of nasty acts of his master. There is a reason I referenced my finding so that everyone can read for.themselves and know its not my opinion.

Number in.his attempt to fend his master could only tell.his that I did.not understand but he failed to tell us what he understood of the piece. We have seen the calibre of people who follow Ralph and his wrong doings.

The bank clearly indicated that any disaster leaves an imprint on any economy, but it is the recovery period that stimulate an economy thus is basic so when number 9 don't understand this he too.must go read and understand.

Peter binose u should.not waste your time with neither number 9, observer or c bend up David

Paul Summers Jr :

Crikey what a lot of nasty fellows. Here you have an informative letter which from what I can see is pretty well written and informative and a whole bunch of turds want to attack the writer.

I know the work of Binose he frequently writes in Cayman and other islands publications.


Peter you really slammed C.ben.David boy. You guys are the best. You continue to bashed Gonsalves administration, and would ignore the folly of the NDP. As soon as one critique Arnhim and his NDP party, it angers you guys.

Eustace is a [pristine] leader. When It comes to the economy, Eustace is a savior. You see, these two mouthpiece who frequent CNN would maintain their innocents, saying they have no ties to the NDP. But the truth is, they are well connected to the party. Because most of what they wrote are views that are express by the NDP. Prove me wrong?

Once they continue to trash the governing party, I would not endorsed anything they've written, period! You guys are too bias. Offer constructive criticism.

Peter Binose:

Observer you really are a peddler of crap. The reason that Gonsalves and the ULP are criticized is because the criticisms are true. The only way anyone can stop criticizing would be to tell lies just like you do Observer.

We nor should anyone else accept wrong as right, but you do Observer. You support and rehash every wrongful action to try and make it appear right.

Why does Eustace not get the same commentaries as Gonsalves? Because he is not in the position of control, he is not in a position to be able to inflict good or bad on the people.

Gonsalves and the ULP are in some kind of crisis on a weekly basis. Unless that is brought to the attention of the readers nastiness will prevail and people like you Observer will continue worshiping the massa and his dynastical family.

You Sir are a sick individual with no love of the people, no real patriotism for SVG, all your patriotism is based in a man namely Ralph E. Gonsalves. Well I suppose you would change sides if someone paid you more, but no one else would employ you even as a latrine cleaner.

All criticism that contains the truth is constructive even if its not nice to hear, even if it exposes evil emminating from the government and its leaders.

Nothing for instance can be more evil than the ULP party stealing government building materials and bribing the electorate with those materials to ensure they vote ULP.


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