December 22, 2006
Prime Minister knocks Eustace’s approach

Arnhim Eustace is motionless and lacks the vision to build a post colonial economy.

This was the evaluation of Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, when he wrapped up debate last Friday on the 2007 Budget in Parliament.{{more}}

“I want the people of this country to see with clarity where there is a vision and a consistent approach by this government and where what we get from the honourable leader of the opposition is an approach steeped in the stasis of project management,” Dr Gonsalves said.

He said that a modern, post colonial economy is built on the creation of quality jobs which makes education and training vitally important.

“You cannot separate the issue of the education revolution from the building of a post colonial economy and anybody who seeks to do that is in dream land,” he said.

Dr Gonsalves said that the transition to this modern economy cannot be by chance and should have clearly defined steps. It could not be built, he said, on the “drips and drops” picked up from the fringes of International Monetary Fund staff missions.

The prime minister also stressed the importance of direct foreign investments which are in St Vincent and the Grenadines’ interest.

It is on this note that he defended government’s decision to relocate and compensate the 12 farmers in the Buccament area to make way for the building of a multi-million upscale tourism resort there.

“They were involved in subsistence agriculture,” he said noting that this type of agriculture was an appendage to a colonial economy which was born after the 1838 abolition of slavery. Former slaves, he explained, occupied crown lands and engaged in this type of survival farming.

“We have to be in love and promote commercial agriculture,” he said.

Dr Gonsalves said that it is his vision to pull people out of poverty into a post colonial economy. He said that even though our new economy must be built on services, commercial agriculture still has a core element.