Our Readers' Opinions
October 8, 2004
Independence and social progress

EDITOR: SVG is now into its 25th anniversary of independence, which it regained in 1979. There is much to contemplate about this anniversary. In addition to celebrating, this

25th anniversary should be a time for critical reflections throughout the nation. {{more}}

The 25th anniversary of independence has met the nation still trying to meet the challenges of production and providing for the basic needs of its citizens, especially the poor and most vulnerable. Fundamentally, this is the real meaning of national independence. One is therefore forced to wonder why the society is not further along the road toward greater social progress.

It is not that citizens have not talked about poverty and social development since 1979. There are those Vincentians who have been talking constantly about putting in place measures that could reduce and eventually eradicate poverty. Nevertheless, 25 years after independence, poverty is rampant in the land.

SVG’s national political leadership on both sides of the political spectrum will have to dig deep to find more courage, wisdom and commitment to transform our nation in order to meet the difficult challenges we face. Moreover, the private sector leadership will have to also acquire a new ethos that is friendlier to social development and social peace. Civil society leadership must also strengthen itself to begin to prepare local communities for a new day

in which everyone makes a

productive contribution to national development, thus strengthening independence.

Though the Government has established several mechanisms to promote production, much more emphasis must be placed on production if the country is to meet the basic needs of its people. This means national leadership must create the appropriate environment for productivity to improve and increase. It also means that those people who are responsible for producing, which includes farmers; workers in the private, public and informal sectors; and owners of businesses, must be mobilized, motivated, organized, inspired and justly rewarded within the context of a democratic national development strategy.

The State has a major role in facilitating the functioning of private enterprise. In addition, the State should invest in public enterprises that are efficient and well managed, thus creating common wealth. This common wealth or proceeds from production could then be used to speed up social progress. By combining a new private enterprise approach based on a human development ethos, with that of the State’s investments in public property, which focus on social progress, we could create a society that is at peace with itself. The objective of this is to fulfill the basic and essential needs of every Vincentian. Then Vincentians would have more profound reasons to rejoice, celebrate, and defend our national independence.

Therefore, the challenge facing national independence points toward the need for national leadership to motivate and inspire the entire

population to work towards more social progress.

Maxwell Haywood