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By Jolly Green
People should be able to feed themselves and feed their families. The problem is that there are no jobs for folk.
Without employment they can starve or steal, that’s the only two choices, or is it? The government is happy to feed them, or so they say, but one thing the homeless, the hungry and the jobless can be assured of, is Labour love. Yes Labour loves you, so even if you have no job, no home and your hungry Labour loves you, so keep voting Labour.
In 2015 Ralph Gonsalves announced with some glee that there were 6000 persons on public assistance. He seemed to think that was a great achievement, more people being kept by the state than ever before.
Of course, this number being cared for is not just those that previously existed. Many of these were newly created poor and the numbers are growing year on year.
The numbers on welfare have increased to 8,200. The children of those on assistance as they grow up will very likely become part of the welfare state as well, breeding more and more for the state to feed. They will become institutionalized and be reliant on the States care.
Parents had no job, children have no job and eventually their children have no job, none of them want a job. This is what happens in most socialist state societies. It all started out like this in Venezuela, now everyone is starving and no food for anyone, free or paid for.
Besides those on public assistance there is another kind of welfare called public feeding. Public feeding just like public assistance is yet another sign of government failure.
In October last year I read with some interest Rhonda King blowing the ULP trumpet and bigging up the Party for what she describes as eradication of hunger.
Fri, Oct 27, 2017, Vincentian Newspaper: UN Envoy Rhonda King Remembers Many ‘Recent Blessings,’ Gives Thanks.
King also asked that thanks be given the Zero Hunger Trust Fund, “established by our government with full bipartisan support some time ago, but it continues to be lauded by the international community – in particular by the FAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization) as visionary and a superb example of public-private partnership worth of emulation.”
She said this is just one example of the Gonsalves government’s efforts to eradicate hunger and fight poverty in the country, urging that thanks be given for the projects already underway, through this initiative, in the schools and communities in rural mainland St. Vincent, for instance in North Windward, “ensuring that children don’t go to school hungry, and parents can develop skills to assist them to better care for their families.”
In addition, the ambassador urged that thanks be given to, among other things, the “Education Revolution” in the country and “the excellent Common Entrance, CXC and CAPE examination results this year.”
Let there be no doubt there are still people going hungry every day in Saint Vincent, the government and agencies feed some of them, but it is impossible to adequately feed all of them. They can eradicate some of the hunger but they should be also eradicating the root cause of hunger.
Besides what the government claim to be doing there are hundreds receiving food on other programs, without the good will of others they would starve.
What, happens to the school youth at weekends, and during school holiday periods, who feeds them? They go hungry and get themselves into trouble, adding to the crime rate.
SALVATION ARMY FEEDING PROGRAM
60 to 100 meals every day:
The Salvation Army provides daily meals to poor school students at a cost to the student of 50 cents to one dollar for a good meal. No student has ever turned away for lack of money, no money and you still get fed.
On a daily basis, about 60 children receive a hot, cooked lunch, prepared at the Army’s kitchen, located at its Melville Street headquarters in Kingstown.
10 to 20 daily:
They also give out food all day long to callers who do not have food or money, dry and canned foods to take home.
THE CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF KINGSTOWN ‘LOAVES AND FISHES’ SOUP KITCHEN
25 to 50 meals every day:
The “soup kitchen,” feeding free poor persons, irrespective of religion.
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION, NATIONAL RECONCILIATION, ECCLESIASTICAL AFFAIRS, AND INFORMATION
Around 2000 five days a week:
There is a school feeding program in SVG implemented by the Ministry of Education. It consists of food delivery to primary and preschools, which seeks to prevent malnutrition among vulnerable students from vulnerable families.
In the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis and a major hurricane and severe drought in 2010. Despite recent improvements in tourism, high unemployment and poverty persist.
Saint Vincent has a school feeding programme benefiting 60 percent of student population targeting pupils of low socio-economic background and those who are nutritionally vulnerable.
In 2015, all primary schools had a school feeding programme that provides daily meals to students whose parents cannot afford to supply them with such meals.
In addition to meals, some children from the vulnerable background are provided with school books and school uniforms by the Ministry of Social Development to ease the burden off poor parents.
October 10 2018: Camillo Gonsalves held a press conference at Kingstown. A meeting to update the press on the Zero Hunger Trust Fund.
Condensing the figures here for the readers; The Zero Hunger Trust Fund is being used to give food vouchers to 322 elderly persons and to provide school meals to 1,500 students.
A Golden Years Nutrition Support Programme assists elderly persons who require some “nutrition security”. That scheme or programme began in 2016 with boxes of groceries being given quarterly to 300 people in SVG, value of the box around EC$200 and included basic dry goods and cleaning items, with fruits and vegetable being added later. Now they have abandoned that box scheme and the $200 box of grocery is replaced by a $300 voucher redeemable at a number of local supermarkets.
The number of recipients has increased 300 to 322 vouchers were given out every 3 months [which is equivalent to 59cents a day] with a total cost for all the Golden Year recipients of $375,000 a year, about a EC$1000 a week. But the latest is that those Golden Years recipients are now getting a voucher about every five months which slashes all that stated almost in half. Just over 1,500 children have the advantage of the school feeding programme paid for by the fund.
In the following schools every child is being fed free: Rose Hall Government, Barrouallie Anglican, Clare Valley Gov’t, Calliaqua Anglican, Lauders Primary, Fancy Government, Chateaubelair Methodist, Barrouallie Government, Gomea Methodist, Fair Hall Primary, Sandy Bay Government, Mayreau Government.
They also get all their books paid for by the Zero Hunger Trust Fund and a cash donation of EC$350 to buy uniforms and bags. They get free vision testing and free eyeglasses.
According to Camillo Gonsalves The Zero Hunger Trust Fund have recruited and trained and paid for teachers to improve basic literacy and numeracy at those schools as well. Isn’t that a further confirmation of the failure of the so called Education Revolution?
The fund is currently training a number of young persons in work skills: 17 in computer repairs, 15 in graphic design, and 13 in cosmetology . Having trained so far 177 people in food preparation, bartending, culinary arts, auto mechanics, computer repairs, graphic design, electrical wiring, plumbing, basic refrigeration.”
The fund endeavors to place them with employers and pays the first six months of their salary. With the hope that after they have been working the employer will consider taking them on as full-time paid workers.
For the majority even after the paid training they still have no job, employers can only take on so many fulltime workers. Even the ULP destroyed economy is working against employment.
With hundreds leaving school every year the job seekers pile is becoming a job seekers mountain.
It’s all too little too late. More people need to be job trained; more people need to have full time work. More employers need to be created and more investment in industry needs to be attracted.
All the above tells a story of failure and gross incompetence in creating jobs and income for the Citizens of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, eighteen years of ULP government under the control of Dr Ralph E Gonsalves and little or nothing to show for it.
The ULP has failed to propagate new industry and killed off the thriving agriculture we had. Their hope had been to venture into mass tourism, but even that with poor facilities offered in SVG has proved a gross failure to date.
It’s time to stop listening to the ULP government excuses, storms, rain, landslides, damaged bridges, and floods. Everyone else in the Caribbean have disasters, many worse than SVG’s. Other eastern Caribbean countries are not in the dire position that SVG is. SVG is the poorest country in the Eastern Caribbean.
The poor have got poorer and are now considered peasants, the middle class are in trouble and the rich getting richer are either members of the government or allied to the government or run away to better pastures.
According to the mysterious C.ben-Davids numerous essays on the subject and some of his researched and proven figures, we will never have a mass tourism industry, and I am inclined to agree with him a 100%.
It’s time for the people to be truthful with themselves and recognize we are a failed state, with a failed government.
Where to from here?
Positive suggestions please without unnecessary negativity.