Full Disclosure
December 16, 2005
New Challenges ahead – 2006 and Beyond

The dust has settled after the December 7th General Elections, and the year is quickly coming to a close, but as a people we must be willing and ready to face the challenges which we will face in the New Year and beyond. In this regard, we must in no way allow it to be correctly said that in St. Vincent and the Grenadines “The harvest is plenteous but the laborers are few.” {{more}} Where then must we place our direction and focus?

As a Christian nation a season of prayer is a perfect point of departure, since in our type of democracy, in order for our system of administrative governance to function efficiently and effectively it requires that the hands which are set to the plough work in unison, despite the variations in political affiliation and connection. This is as real in the private sector as it is in the public sector.

Today, as a people looking beyond the few more days remaining in 2005 we see the fostering of greater economic and political ties within the entire region by the integration process which is propelled by the move towards a Caricom Single Market and Economy. We also see the integration process aquiring a more unique complexion with an improved south to south linkage and bond.

Our sporting personalities and cultural artistes have done well as ambassadors for our nation. Within our borders there are many positive revolutions taking place, which must be sustained in order to produce their intended objectives.

However, on the downside, we have seen a recent negative spiral in the gross domestic product of a few economies in the region, be it as a result of natural causes or the decline in major national income earners. Nonetheless, our focus must be upon improving the competitiveness of St. Vincent and the Grenadines be it in the tourism, agriculture, or the service sector. It is clear that we are living in changing times and a failure to first accept such a reality and to make the necessary changes can be detrimental to our people.

How then does a Vincentian fit into the scheme of things? Subsistence agriculture which includes our back yard gardening is quickly become a culture of the past. It still beats me that persons who have the means to plant still join long lines to purchase goods such as ochros, cucumbers, passion fruit and the like. There is a great need in this regard for those who are able to develop a firm sense of subsistence agriculture to do so.

An assessment of a typical Vincentian youth lifestyle still does not depict that there is a saving culture being developed. It will be quite interesting to see what our future would be like say twenty-five years from now if we continue along present patterns of spending. At that time today’s youth will be entering retirement age.

The investment in education by the government is progressive; however parents must enter into a partnership to champion the cause of universal education. A gentleman approached me and suggested that another focus of the education revolution should be the implementation of full evening classes for adults in certain areas of our island. The urge for learning is there, the appetites have been whetted, this is the direction in which we should be heading. But we must not stop there.

In our society there still needs to be a reduction in criminal related activities. Although comparatively St. Vincent and the Grenadines has a considerably good criminal record, it must be noted that in a dispensation where there is an apparent shift towards tourism development, each criminal act can be counted as one such act too many.

There is need in our society for the formation and support of youth clubs such as Dimonites and the Greggs Heritage Group among others, allowing the youth to express their God given talents from an early age.

We must not allow the very challenges which we face to become our conqueror. In building a nation we must begin by looking into ourselves and respond by personal development, so that collectively we can make our nation a better place.

Let us prepare to open our spirits to embrace the good to be derived if we all work together towards the goal of advancing this our blessed nation. I see a great day ahead for us as a people, but we must be eager for the work ahead! As the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians we must “Forget those things which are behind, and reach forth unto those things which are before, press towards the mark”.