Our Readers' Opinions
May 7, 2004

Local government good for Grenadines

EDITOR: It was refreshing to hear that the government has set up a committee to look into the re-establishment of local government in the state. I want here to put my two cents bit into the discussion that will consequently ensue. {{more}}
Firstly, I want to say that this type of government is largely suitable for the Grenadines for reasons obvious to all. A recent survey, carried out by this writer, shows that of all the multi-island states in the Caribbean we in the Grenadines are the only ones that do not have any form of autonomous government.
Barbuda, Tobago, Nevis and to some extent Carriacou and Petit Martinique all have some measure of autonomy outside of the central government on the mainland. It is not easy for persons on the mainland St. Vincent to fully appreciate the psyche of the people of the Grenadines. The history of our relationship, or lack thereof, with the mainland has led to a somewhat split identity. We are part of the state but sometimes, paradoxically, we do not want to be identified with the mainland.
It is from this backdrop that I feel that local government will help to give us greater pride in our identity as Vincentians and Grenadines people. Both identities are central to our sense of being in a plural state. However, I believe that we need more than just legislative autonomy. We need to have an executive branch as well. At this time all departments of government in the Grenadines report to their respective ministries on the mainland. I think that a public office post akin to that of a Permanent Secretary should be established to co-ordinate most, if not all, of the divisions of government that now operate in the islands. Every government employee below that post should report to that individual who in turn would report to the local and central governments. This post will call for someone who can multi-task across the various ministries of government. It will, I believe, lead to a more efficient functioning of government departments in the islands.
The aforementioned are just some of the preliminary ideas for what I believe will be a quantum leap forward in Grenadines mainland relationship. It is good to know that we are now being listened to.
Living in the Grenadines.
Godwin James