Our Readers' Opinions
August 20, 2004

Emancipation – not just a word

Editor: This year is supposed to be 166 years since emancipation. However we seem to lack the knack for economic advances. And even with the strides that some sectors of the community have achieved, we have a long way to go. {{more}}
How can we explain the number of foreign business houses in Kingstown?
As soon as a room is vacant, especially on the ground floor, it is snapped up, and the next time you pass that area, there is a Syrian/Lebanese family operating there. How these people get access to these buildings is a puzzle.
This is the age of globalisation, and there are Vincentians in nearly every corner of the world. We must welcome foreigners. But what has happened to the local business class.
Can’t Vincentians sell T-shirts, jeans and other clothing, mattresses, artificial flowers, suitcases, and other commodities?
St. Vincent and the Grenadines and indeed the rest of the islands are part of the melting pot which is uniquely Caribbean. And the region is all the richer for it. But there is a lack of indigenous business acumen not only here but also throughout the Caribbean.
While the foreign business houses are growing, Vincentians hang out infront of the very stores, trying to eke out a living with small portions of locally grown produce like plumrose, in-season fruits, ground provisions, art and craft items. The Syrian/Lebanese have cordoned off a section of mainland St. Vincent and have transformed that area into something of a Middle Eastern community.
Emancipation Month activities continue to heighten our consciousness, but while awareness arouses the few, the number of patriotic Vincentian traders continues to decline.
If we claim to be truly emancipated, Vincentians have to step up to the business ladder and ensure that a plank of the economy has some genuine base.
Whatever our definition of Emancipation, we must continue to move up, and benefit from the struggles which our foreparents underwent.

Indigenous Man