SVG paradise no free ride says PM
April 29, 2005
SVG paradise no free ride says PM

Noting that the Grenadines make up 17 miles of land mass while mainland St. Vincent makes up just 13, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr. Ralph Gonsalves called the Grenadines a crucial contributor to the tourism industry which must not be looked upon as just “back water.”

He noted that over the past five years the Tobago Cays had contributed an average of $230 million per annum to this country’s economy, hence the reason it had became vital to set up a proper structure to protect and run the delicate islets. {{more}}

For the first time, Canouan had received a well thought-out and scientific plan with the hiring of Edge Stone Associates to properly beautify Canouan. Dr. Gonsalves said that it was important to work with the developers so that not only the resort, but also the homes of residents could see aesthetic improvement. He noted that over $300,000 was spent to help residents refurbish their homes leading to the luxurious Raffle’s Resorts; palm trees have been planted and a trail leading to Old Fort has been put in place along with recreational facilities at the site.

The Prime Minister also announced that the newly constructed police building would also house the administrative complex for customs, immigration, and the post office, along with several apartments. He noted that the building of the jetport was crucial to visitor arrivals and that finance had already been acquired.

For the first time, a full time dentist, doctor and a clinic had been established in Canouan. He re-enforced that this country must not be governed in an idocentric manner but must be done orderly. “We have some biscuit and cheese tourists who come in and don’t want to pay a small fee and who want to do as they please. You don’t want to pay? Go to the Yellow Stone Park for free and don’t bring your biscuit and cheese attitude after you pollute our country. You just go back to where you came from and leave the mess for us to clean up? We have to implement a fee for us to take care of our islands.”

He also charged that some people sit by their computers and attack the government for implementing this fee: “The persons who criticize the government are not bona fide tourists who want to visit and enjoy the beauty of St.Vincent and the Grenadines by paying a small fee. They have a cock-eyed notion of environmental development of an international standard.

But that calls for people to pay small fees, any other way is a false bill of goods that your being fed.

We need to have a National Marine Park Authority to regulate marine parks and each would have separate management structures that they would be linked to the overall goal of national development.

The Tobago Cays will be a park, just like the Botanic Gardens. But one is on land and the other is on sea. You have to pay for the Gardens and you have to pay for the Tobago Cays.

You can’t have development with disorder.”