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Wednesday, April 13, 2011


The love affair with Rufus Bousquet is now over. Now that the Bruce Tucker story is fact, he is being ridiculed as a “wanted man” all over the countryside. Since the breaking news of his convictions and imprisonment in the US Federal Prison, many well-respected Choiseulians who revered him have now distanced themselves from him.

He made things doubly difficult when lied about his imprisonment. During an interview with Claudius Francis on the “Straight Up” programme, he publicly admitted that he was a convict; but he lied about his imprisonment term. He said the type of sentencing he received was community service; however his prison records tell a totally different story. They clearly show that he was an inmate at a US Federal Prison from 1980 to 1984. His prison registration number is 77316-012. He was finally released from the US Federal Prison on September 12, 1984. You can verify by simply clicking on the link below; it will take you to Rufus Bousquet's prison record:

People of Choiseul/Saltibus - who are generally honest and honourable - have every reason remove the trust they reposed in Rufus Bousquet, not just for his criminal record but equally his dismal representation record. They are now very vociferous about it, too! They complain that, despite the millions of dollars that Bousquet received from the Taiwanese, the current term being served by him is the worst that they can recall. They claim that life for them has never been so hard.

Liming with Lorne
At one of the “Lime-with-Lorne” town hall meetings, the consensus of the participants was that because of its misuse, the Taiwanese Funds have made Choiseul/Saltibus poorer. They suggested that those millions could have been put into productive use by investment in agriculture, handicraft development, fishing and sustainable youth development programmes.

It is well-known that the main industries - whether it is pottery, handicraft or farming - in Choiseul/Saltibus are primarily cottage-based.  Choiseulians were (and still are) generally employed in their own “cottages” but with the onset of the global economic crisis, passage of Hurricane Tomas and now the fuel crisis, those industries are reeling under stress and are perceived to be under the threat of extinction.

Choiseulians thought their MP, being the foreign minister, was ideally placed to help at least in find markets for their products; but – like everything else – he has failed in that regard. Instead, his economic solution is “ti canal employment” scheme where has dished out a few $400-contracts per supporter to cut grass in either UWP neighbourhoods or in areas where he believes he could hoodwink constituents to vote for him. But if you do the math, you will find out it works out to be less than a dollar a day and it is way below even the public assistance of $130/month given to the poor.

We can go further and compare the Tucker Ti Canal Scheme with the STEP programme. The average STEP worker earned about $800/month or approximately $30/day.

Is Fishing under threat?
From the analysis above, two issues are noteworthy: firstly, even if it was short-term, STEP was sustainable and impactful. Secondly, the Taiwanese allocation was far greater than the allocation for STEP; yet, the latter had a far greater social, environmental and economic impact. That is obviously is one pitfall we have to contend with when a framework for accountability and transparency does not exist.

One of the most vociferously disillusioned groups is the fishermen. Quite apart from their displacement from the pond, they are angry about government’s response to the spiraling cost of fuel.
The Choiseul Fisheries Pond

A village fisherman told me that on an average, he buys 60 gallons of fuel every time he goes out to sea. At $15.40/gal, the cost of his fuel is whopping $900.00 every day he goes to sea. If the average price for a pound of fish is $6.00, then to break even, the fisherman must catch a minimum of 150 pounds of fish. If the average tuna roughly weighs 6 pounds, then his average catch must be at least 25 tunas to realize his gas money. The fisherman claimed that he does not generally meet that target.

Cost-effective for fishermen to buy fuel in St. Vincent?
The cost of fuel is having “crushing effect” on the fishermen and they are now contemplating creative ways to lessen the impact. In that regard, some fishermen in the South are now giving active consideration to buying their fuel in St. Vincent where it is cheaper. They claimed that the cost of fuel in the land of their birth is cost-prohibitive and buying it in St. Vincent save them as much as $150 per day or $900 for the week.

Let us hope that the government intervenes with a sense of urgency and help our fisherman in order to avert this situation.

1 comment:

  1. It's overdue for government to do something to help the fishermen