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Opinion
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Commentary: Anarchy in SVG: The dire need for an ethical, competent and citizen-oriented authority
Published on May 10, 2017Email To Friend    Print Version

By D. Markie Spring

Too often, too many people are wondering! ’Does St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) have a government?’

This is not intended to be a political feud; rather, this journey stems from empathy and compassion for the people of SVG who are faced with horrid realities. Over the years I’ve taken the opportunity to visit SVG and scour its eco-political environment in an effort to have first-hand insight of the status quo – the findings are worrisome!

markiespring160.jpg
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
The streets are packed with beggars from all angles, ‘scrunting’ their way to a meal. These beggars are not only the huge number of unemployed citizens, but a significant number of those employed on the infamous YES program who are earning a mere $400 monthly. In the meantime, those who are at home and waiting on the two weeks road side clean-up jobs twice a year – once in August and the other in December, are begging to meet their daily livelihood for the next 48 weeks.

Additionally, the community’s blocks are absorbed by frustrated young and middle aged people – either consuming an astronomical amount of Sunset or smoking weed. In the absence of real employment, full-time drinking and smoking have become the daily norm in the Vincentian society.

A prime example of this dreaded societal scar, is the “L” wall at Langley Park – once a vibrant society have now become and impoverish community! Or take a drive through the other poverty stricken villages in SVG and you’ll note my findings.

While these people are living Hell on earth, those who are elected to extinguish the burning fire seem extinct. To prove me wrong, one should sit on the ‘front-line’ in Georgetown around 5:15 pm and observe the speed at which the area representative drives through; all windows up and how he refuses to stop and acknowledge his constituents. Listening to them, this will occur until the date for the next general election is announced, then he slows down, rolls down the windows and begs for support. Still these people have not grasped his amoral toward them.

Those who jumped for “Four-inna-row”, as my cousin would say, they are now experiencing “Four-inna-sorrow!”

Even, have you seen the roads? If one is familiar with the American ‘dodge ball’ – it does apply to the concept of driving in SVG. With so many potholes, some pool deep, drivers have to dodge their way through – always swinging left to right and at times easing their way to avoid damages to their vehicles.

This is a daily nuisance for commuters from all over SVG. Again, I’d like to be proven wrong! Drive into Georgetown and take a trip up to Dixon from Mt Bentinck mall or take a drive through New Chapmans from the bridge. And there are many other areas – drive into South Rivers and Park Hill, Diamond, Greiggs and Chapmans, one will see the absence of governance.

Do you want to experience the true meaning of anarchy? Take a trip above the Dry River, and notice the horrendous condition of the roads.

Don’t talk about the uncultivated lands. These shrub-like forests are still waiting on the 2,000 acres of bananas that was promised to the farmers during the trick, “Four-inna-row.” In fact, if you drive to ‘Engine’ – a once-cultivated area in Georgetown – you will notice a grass revolution taking place on the feeder roads – they are now covered with widespread wild vegetation.

This is confounded! The representative for the area enunciated that “banana is a thing of the past” and who is part of a government that ran a political campaign with a promise to plant 2,000 acres in their fourth term. In fact, the so called prime minister after he duped his followers, purported that weed was preferred over bananas. Once again, I asked myself, ‘How does one vote for a representative or a government with such contradicting stances on agriculture?’

It gets worse!

If you take a walk through Spring Village and O’Brien’s Valley in Georgetown, like I did, you’d ask, does this country have a governing body? The river has destroyed a few homes and disrupted some families. As a matter of fact, the last time the river roared it took with it a back yard gym from Spring Village. Where the government refused to act, a simple poor ordinary resident in Spring Village had undertaken the construction of a river defence wall to safeguard his property and it is working well!

These are the fine-prints of the infamous, “Four-inna-row.”

Just before the 2015 general elections, I warned “Four-inna-row” is disaster waiting to unfold!

Moreover, according to concerned citizens in Georgetown, one of the primary schools is in dire need of repairs. Again, if you believe that you are being misguided, go to the Georgetown Primary School and see how your students are occupying a portion of the community centre next door, the school’s library and the plywood building next to the Georgetown Secondary School, which housed the people affected by Hurricane Tomas a few years ago, as their new classrooms. In fact, while visiting SVG I observed one of the doors of a classroom on the second floor broken off.

With little attention to all these setbacks, do you agree with me that this country does not have a government?

The challenges existing in SVG are inexhaustible, but I went on further and asked if a government exists in SVG why is healthcare in such abysmal state?

Have you taken a look at tourism? One of the government’s obligations is to support this sector. Do you believe that if a government exists in SVG this sector would have lost so much weight? Just picture a child without a father!

Likewise, if SVG had a government, why are the residents of Canouan facing so many challenges to access their own beaches from the neo-colonialists?

If this country had a government, explain the idea behind the paucity of development – while taxes are rocketing and debts spiraling. While you at it, explain why so much money falling through the holes beneath the treasury. Can you imagine money developing their own feet and running away into unknown pockets?

In the meantime, the golden calf and his families and a few hand-picks are “living it up.”

If you see what I am seeing you’d ask the same question, who is running this place? Who is representing us?

Vincentians, be true to yourselves, does SVG feels like it has a government? Seriously, look around you!
 
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Comments:

Vinciman:

Markie’s introduction “...Does St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) have a government” is not to be taken literally or rhetorically as in Markie’s case but begs for a reply.

Does St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) have a government”? Well, not according to the opposition NDP party and some of its supporters like Markie Spring. Day in day out we read or hear from them, when referring to the government using such titles as ...this illegitimate government ,... this illegitimate ULP regime, and or ...this illegitimate Prime minister, in spite of the fact that the ULP government is a democratically elected government, recognized worldwide as the official government of St Vincent and the Grenadines, conducting the people’s business as usual in tandem with other regional and international governments, going on 17 years now.

Of course, those of us who know better will brush them and their illegitimate everything remarks off as nonsense, and simply brand them as a bunch of sore losers. Markie belongs to this bunch of sore losers.

Cutting to the chase, when referring to local governance and the role of this so-called “illegitimate SVG government” in the countries everyday affairs, Markie says, “This is not intended to be a political feud; rather, this journey stems from empathy and compassion for the people of SVG who are faced with horrid realities...the findings are worrisome...The streets are packed with beggars from all angles, ‘scrunting’ their way to a meal”. What a gross lie! Markie is a barefaced liar!

Anyone can go on "YouTube”, type in St Vincent and the Grenadines, and get an unbiased first hand glimpse of street life in SVG and know what Markie Spring says is not the truth!

Moreover, what “other poverty stricken villages in SVG...” is Markie speaking about really? Georgetown? Markie shut your claptrap! Here is one of many YouTube views of Georgetown.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_NZDXB8Neg

On the other hand, what Markie proposes to do here again, is lend support as usual to the often-repeated theme of his NDP that says, “SVG is a failed state”. Markie’s journey is nothing more than another “pull down journey” of his country, a politically motivated opposition journey while carrying the NDP banner that reads “...Vote NO...ULP”!

Markie Spring again, “shame on you”! NDP like yourself cannot face up to their losses, is still groping in the dark and will be for a long time, expecting to find some niche in how to defeat the ULP, how to win support for their everyday failing political base, how to win an election in SVG?

Hence, this will never happen when their support base lies with sycophants like yourself. And Markie, no one believes or agrees with you “...that this country does not have a government... and or “the golden calf and his families and a few hand-picks are living it up.”

Yes Markie, this country has a government and a good government too, (that is why they lasted so long) and we can all be celebrating and “living it up” with our 17-year-old good government, if you and your opposition will stop with their “trying to ruin we country” nonsense, and “tek allyo licks like a big man”!

Markie Spring, if we were to look at SVG through your opposition spectacles we would always be blinded to the truth, seriously!

Over the past 16 years of defeat after defeat at the polls for your NDP party, it never crosses your or their mind to visit the eye doctor the optometrist. To get a new pair of spectacles eh?

Well, what are you waiting for? Set up an appointment then, it's long overdue! “Get your eyes checked”!

Observer:

I try to make sense of Markie's essay, but its really hard to comprehend the column in its entirety. Ah wonder if Markie ever make a contribution towards the advancement of SVG? Remember, this man claimed he loved his fellow Vincentian, but that has not translated into anything positive.

All Markie does is identify the problem, but failed to come up with meaningful solution. Markie, I'll use this analogy, first the doctor has to look at the injury, the next phase is to come up with a solution, then apply whatever medication to get the job done.

See where I'm coming from, Sir? Markie, the government is addressing those concerns. That's why we've elected Dr Ralph Gonsalves, to get the job done. Could you please identify a country where there aren't any baggers, no unemployment, and no poverty?

Even in your adapted homeland, you have baggers, high unemployment and poverty. Prove me wrong? Why don't you touch on the positives? That's why I will continue to slam you and Ben for your folly. You guys are so bias. Fail to report facts. Sometimes I tried to stay silence, but when I see bias reporting I have to say something.

This piece is solely political.

GT:

Mr Spring you are on the list. We know where you live and know where you work/ed?

C. ben-David:

Mr. Spring, you only invite legitimate attack when you make all these vague, politically motivated drive-by assertions about our beloved homeland, your implicit assertion being that things are far worse today than they were 20, 30, 40, and 50 years ago.

Except for a lot of pot heads all over the place, the other social problems -- public intoxication and begging -- have always been with us, at least as long as an old man like me can remember.

The roads have also always been in disrepair in one part of the country or the other, the current situation being exacerbated by the larger number of heavy vehicles on the road night and day which, in turn, is an unfortunate by-product of a more developed economy.

Some of the other social problems (that you fail to mention) such as the higher crime and murder rates are, ironically, a product of the fact that there is much more wealth in our society today than 40-50 years ago so there is more to steal and kill people over. This also linked to the fact that young people are able to acquire a dwelling of their own at an early age, another feature of a developing society, and hence beyond the control of older and more responsible family members. The proof of this is in the census reports which show a steady decrease in household size over the past five decades.

The huge cash inflow from the ganja trade has also brought with it many more guns that can be purchased by growers and dealers which again has increased our murder rate.

That SVG is a much richer country from an overall GDP perspective, a per capita perspective, and a per capita GDP perspective is incontestable. What can be challenged, of course, is how much this has to do with particular policies enacted by particular governments.

The most visible sign that we are richer today than ever in our history is clearly visible on the streets of Kingstown and every town and village in the country: the number of obese people is testament that a hungry belly is an nearly absent feature of our society. Over-nutrition rather than malnutrition is our number one health problem. Conversely, 40-50 years ago, Kwashiorkor (distended bellies in small children cause by malnutrition) was chronic in our homeland; thank God, today it is nearly unheard of.

You will continue to receive the slings and arrows that this piece has rightly earned so long as you continue to write crap like this.

C. ben-David:

Mr. Spring, I forgot to mention that unemployment and underemployment, chronic problems for which there is no ready solution, are no higher today than they were 40 years ago, the main difference being that there are far more in number and proportion of unemployed young secondary school and college graduates than decades ago, only because there are so many more students who have such an education than 40-50 years ago when only a tiny percentage of teenagers even attended secondary school.

We are a tiny country with few natural resources of any value to the outside world yet we have still managed to attain lower middle-income status, the achievement of which should make us all proud!

fairbalance:

I am wondering if this article is politically motivated or does the writer looking at the negatives only in the Country and fail to write about the positive achievements of our beloved country. I am of the belief that Mr.Spring is working on his political future for SVG. But I wish him well, but however he won't get a seat in parliament so long as Camillo and Sabota and the young ULP smart ones are around. I don't want to get into any tit for that about his article but needless to say that I cannot agree with him. My village of Park Hill has good roads. People who live in country side and have their lands and don't want to cultivate it is just lazy. There is market out there for their products. Once you produce it we will market it. Just like if you build it they will come.


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