An Interesting 2020 Ahead for Vincentians
January 3, 2020
An Interesting 2020 Ahead for Vincentians

As we welcome the New Year, many Vincentians, like others around the world, are reflecting on the year past and hoping for good things during the earth’s next orbit of the sun.

On the national scene, Vincentians know that we are in for quite a ride this year as the main political parties intensify their political campaigns, trying to outdo each other, sometimes going to farcical lengths in their efforts to win our votes.

The 2020 Budget of Income and Expenditure, to be presented later this month, may well be the last Budget presentation before the next general elections, constitutionally due no later than March 2121, but likely to be held this year. Pre-election Budgets traditionally contain a number of sweeteners, with Governments using the power of incumbency to try to avoid unpopular measures so as not to risk losing votes and in order to attract new supporters if possible.

It will be interesting to see how the Government will do this, while balancing demands to continue and extend its social programmes and keeping the economy afloat in tight circumstances, made even tighter by the halting of the PetroCaribe program because of US sanctions on Venezuela.

Several national projects are scheduled to begin this year, including the new Kingstown Port and the government hotels at Mt Wynne and Diamond. A positive report from the geothermal project will help, as will the ramping up of construction at private sector projects in the East St George area.

In 2015, the Government hitched its political fortunes on the completion of the Argyle International Airport, but with that out of the way, what will be the approach taken this time around? Maximum advantage will no doubt be made of the country’s enhanced global profile now that we have taken up our seat on the United Nations Security Council.

The Opposition will have to first finalize its slate of candidates and find a way to inject excitement, policy focus and direction into its campaign. Campaigning on the need for change is not enough, just as appealing to the electorate to stay with what they know will not be enough for the Government. It all comes down to bread and butter issues — putting our young people to work. The party that wins will be the one that can convince the people that with them, the future will be brighter.

Happy New Year to Everyone!