Time to Put Saint Vincent and the Grenadines First
Submitted by Nathan Green
The Vincentian people are sick and tired of being put in second, third, or fourth place by Ralph Gonsalves and the Unity Labour Party.
In first place is Cuba, in second place Venezuela, it is a tossup who occupies the third and fourth place, but it certainly is not SVG, perhaps his family and dynasty occupy those places. But it is the ignorant and the paid Vincentian collaborators who have allowed this to happen.
The Cubans were paid enormous amounts of money to build Argyle International Airport [AIA]. But unlike a commercial contractor, no formal agreement existed. That was a significant loss to SVG because AIA was a three to a four-year project, which took the Cubans nine years to complete. Had that of been a commercial contractor with a commercial contract, the overrun time would have been penalised under the terms of the contract for overrun time. If those penalties existed, I doubt if there would have been overrun.
But the same thing happened to the new specialist hospital at Kingstown. Cubans built it, and again there was a 5-year overrun. Today they are involved in running it, whilst our nurses must find work abroad.
Remember, time is money, when there is an overrun on a project, it means that the lateness of completion causes a loss of revenue and loss of use of the facility. In the case of the clinic, perhaps loss of Vincentian life because the Kingstown hospital does not have the same facilities that Georgetown has.
Employing Cubans via the Cuban government is tantamount to slavery, accompanied by money laundering and trafficking. Those Cubans who worked in SVG, and who are currently working in SVG were not and are not paid directly. SVG pays the Cuban government, who then pay the Cubans about 20% of those payments, keeping the 80%. They did not even pay them their little part of the money in Saint Vincent; they paid them in Cuba. That, of course, meant they had no opportunity of spending their wages in Saint Vincent.
There was no job at all that a Vincentian in SVG or from the diaspora could not have done that a Cuban did. The difference being all those multi-millions paid to the Cubans, instead of being spent by the workers in Cuba or snatched by the Cuban government, would have been spent in SVG. The damage this did to our economy is unbelievable.
Last year a complaint by ‘Prisoners Defenders’ sent on May 10, 2019, to the United Nations a formal complaint with all the evidence and 110 testimonies, two United Nations Special Rapporteurships, the Special Rapporteurship on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences, and the Office of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, are taxative when condemning the facts, and have indicated in an extensive report that “the reported working conditions could rise to forced labour, according to the forced labour indicators established by the International Labor Organization. Forced labour constitutes a contemporary form of slavery.”
Also, they indicate how Cuba’s legislation punishes with eight years in prison for doctors if they decide to change jobs or not returning to Cuba, and how they are prevented from seeing family members, or how contracts are withheld, or how more than 75% is confiscated from the doctor’s income, which “does not allow them to live with dignity“, or how Cuba makes them work more than “64 hours per week“ (160% of the maximum authorised by the ILO), how they have restricted and monitored their freedom of movement and the right to privacy or communications with nationals or foreigners, or how professionals reported receiving regular threats from Cuban state officials in destination countries and how Cuban medical women have suffered sexual harassment, among many other violations that the U.N. reports as happening by both received information submitted and “first-hand information”.
The complaint to which this procedure responds was drafted and filed by ‘Prisoners Defenders’, a European organisation whose leaders are European, and this complaint initiative was funded entirely by the person of its President, Javier Larrondo. ‘Prisoners Defenders’ detaches in this complaint any motivation except respect for human rights.
Cuba has NOT responded (consulted the publication on 06/01/2019 at 14:33 Madrid time), assuming with its lack of response what in the international legal system is called the “tacit acceptance of the accusations”, or “qui siluit quun loqui et decuit et protuit, consentire videtur ”, that is, if he who can and should speak does not do so, it must be concluded that he consents.
The United Nations Report, which says that the Cuban government are acting illegally.
Contemporary slavery, also known as modern slavery or neo-slavery, refers to institutional slavery that continues to occur in present-day society. Estimates of the number of slaves today range from around 21 million to 46 million, depending on the method used to form the estimate and the definition of slavery being used. The estimated number of slaves is debated, as there is no universally agreed definition of modern slavery; those in slavery are often difficult to identify, and adequate statistics are often not available. The International Labour Organization [ILO] estimates that, by their definitions, over 40 million people are in some form of slavery today. 24.9 million people are in forced labor, of whom 16 million people are exploited in the private sector such as domestic work, construction or agriculture; 4.8 million persons in forced sexual exploitation, and 4 million persons in forced labor imposed by state authorities. 15.4 million people are in forced marriage.
The United States about a year ago called on all nations to stop using Cuba’s medical missions, which send doctors around the world, saying that Cuba refused to pay the medical staff what they earned and held them against their will.
Cuba’s international medical missions are a form of human trafficking and modern slavery, U.S. State Department officials told a news conference in New York.
The Cubans have a health service that generates significant export earnings by sending more than 50,000 health workers to more than 60 countries. Those workers are under guard, passports removed, paid only part of what they earn whilst the Cuban government keeps the majority. They are in very real terms modern day slaves, of a slave master State.
In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro last year called the Cuban doctors “slave labour”, and Cuba in retaliation recalled its 8,300 medical workers stationed there.
Ms Ramona Matos, a Cuban doctor, seeking asylum in the U.S., confirmed it was slavery when she said she worked with medical missions in Bolivia and Brazil where Cuban security agents took away the doctors’ passports and other identification leaving them undocumented. They had no identity cards or papers; if anything happened to them, nobody would know who they were.
Nearly all the doctors’ earnings [only 20%of the real] were sent back to Cuba where they were frozen in accounts that they could not access until they completed their missions, she said. All of this, of course, designed to try and stop them from running away.
There is no doubt under the Cuban system, doctors and nurses were being trafficked, they are victims exploited and used by the Cuban government as slaves. They are still subjected to this treatment in Saint Vincent; we have a multitude of Cubans working here in SVG, all slaves of the Cuban government, trafficked to Saint Vincent to satisfy the political beliefs and wishes of Ralph Gonsalves, his way of helping the Cuban communist party and government.
The U.S. State Department has been carefully analysing where Cuban missions are practising, which is in at least 66 countries. One of those countries is Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, where the prime minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves is a Cuba system believer and is said by some to have been awarded a Cuban Communist Party honorary membership.
The U.S. government has publicised its criticisms of the Cuban medical missions so those host countries such as SVG “can’t say they weren’t aware that this was human trafficking.
An OAS report that Carlos Trujillo U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States, said Nations where the Cuban medical missions are working need to end the practice. “Across the Americas, there are multiple countries that continue to have these programs,” he said.
Ambassador Trujillo said, “What we’re asking here is for a lot of the countries … who are continuing to traffic and conduct this type of activities with Cuban doctors in their countries to please stop.” But that has had no effect on Ralph Gonsalves of SVG, he loves the system and cannot wait to be made a hero by the Cubans.
SVG blatantly continues to receive trafficked Cubans and is fully aware of how the Cuban government keep their wages and pay them small wages in Cuba. We have a lot of trafficked Cuban slaves doing the work owed to Vincentians. Nearly 50% of Vincentian people without jobs, 45% of our youth unemployed, and we are giving those jobs to Cuban slaves because our prime minister says so?
Our people are enslaved in mind in SVG, no jobs, no work, and a below poverty payments to live on. They seem to be viewed as a nuisance; the leaders may even think they would be better off without them.
Several ex-Cuban doctors who were part of Cuba’s work abroad program, who fled and are now in the U.S., have filed a federal lawsuit in Florida against the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). This international agency brokered Cuba’s arrangement with Brazil. The doctors said PAHO, a division of the World Health Organization, was enabling the trafficking of medical professionals.
It is time that the U.S. thought about sanctioning the people in SVG responsible for employing the Cuban slaves, the trafficked, the Cuban victims of the Cuban government. It is time for paying reparations to the Cuban slaves, but first, they must be emancipated, and the slave masters punished.
Then perhaps under a new Vincentian government under a genuinely responsible government, we can make SVG number one and get our people back to work.