Our Readers' Opinions
October 14, 2016
Matthew Thomas’ proposal for Mt Wynne/Peter’s Hope far superior to Government’s

Editor: I wish to condemn in the strongest possible terms the recent sale, by the Ralph Gonsalves-led regime, of lands at Mt Wynne and call for its immediate reversal.

I am also appealing to all right-thinking Vincentians to join me in doing same.

This sale is not in the interest of the vast majority of the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). In fact, it will deny us an opportunity to pursue other ventures in which our inventiveness, creativity, innovative abilities, as well as black entrepreneurship, will undoubtedly flourish.{{more}}

One possible venture, as proposed by Matthew Thomas, is miles superior to that of, purportedly, some Canadian developers. I cringe whenever I hear Matthew’s proposal being described derisively as an “amusement park”, “circus” and “coney island”. I am aware that many of those who are guilty of this stupidity have either not read Matthew’s proposal, are dishonest, or lack the understanding and appreciation of his proposed venture. I shall not attempt to go into the details of his proposal, which was published in July 2013 in all of the local newspapers, since I am of the view that it should be republished, in fairness to Mr Thomas and the Vincentian public.

To me, it is most interesting that former Prime Minister, Sir James Mitchell has found it nescesary to comment on the Mt Wynne/Peter’s Hope sale. No doubt to rain on Arnhim Eustace’s parade, as he is wont to do whenever Mr Eustace has Prime Minister Gonsalves on the ropes. Every time Sir James does it, I wonder if this was part of the Grand Anse Beach arrangement! Quite frankly, I find most offensive Sir James’ reminder that the plan for “hotel development” at Mt Wynne/Peter’s Hope was the NDP’s (his) idea. Is Sir James Mitchell suggesting that Arnhim Eustace (who quite rightly opposes the Mt Wynne/Peter’s Hope sale), the NDP and the rest of the Vincentian population, should slavishly follow any plan for “development” concocted by himself and adopted by Prime Minister Gonsalves (two ‘white men’) and ignore better options, such as the one being proposed by Matthew Thomas? If that is his thinking, then he can go to hell!

Should the idea being promoted by Matthew Thomas come to fruition (and it can) SVG will be able to maximize the use of its resources – land, sea, people (some of the most talented, innovative, creative and intelligent in the world). It will catapult our development as a people – proud, self-sufficient, confident, independent. Vincentians will no longer feel beholden and eternally grateful to political leaders such as Sir James Mitchell and Dr Ralph Gonsalves, for providing us with “crumbs”.

A song and dance is being made about the price received and the jobs that will be created from the Canadian project. In comparison to the Matthew Thomas proposal, the sum received from the Mt Wynne/Peter’s Hope sale is miniscule. Peanuts. Pittance. That is no money!

Even before the turning of the first sod, the venture proposed by Matthew Thomas will be able to generate revenue many times more than the downpayment the Canadian investors have reportedly made on Mt Wynne/Peter’s Hope. It will not only create more jobs, but business opportunities for enterprising Vincentians, including those with ICT skills.

Oscar Allen, another Vincentian visionary, earlier this year made a proposal for the establishment of Vincymas Inc (his description) in which he has suggested an ownership structure which, to my mind, is a good model for the Matthew Thomas proposal for Mt Wynne/Peter’s Hope.

In his article in Searchlight of April, 5, 2016, Oscar Allen, in commenting on the potential stakeholders of his proposed venture, wrote: “Can we look ahead to the major shareholders and the management of the Vincymas Inc economic enterprise with its share capital of EC $100 million. Give some thought to the various shareholder groups who could each own a 10 per cent share certificate in the company.”

He continued: “The (Calypso) Association will be eligible to own 10 per cent of Vincymas Inc. The same for the Mas Bands Association, the Youlou Pan Movement, the Culture-Carnival Queen franchise, the Future Mas Association, Soca Inc, Culture and Art Foundation, the Hotel and Tourism Association, or the Chamber of Industry and Commerce. Some shares will also be available for public purchase.”

I happen to know that Oscar’s article was written without him being aware of Matthew’s proposed venture, which will easily facilitate his.

I attended two sessions recently, which have strenghtened my resolve to ensure that Mt Wynne/Peter’s Hope remains available to accommodate ventures such as those being proposed by Oscar Allen and Matthew Thomas. The first was a video conference by the ECCB on Thursday, October 6, 2016, which had a presentation on the Creative Industries. The other was the Calypso Retreat on Saturday, October 8, 2016, in which the participants made a commitment to take calypso (in all of its genres) to the world.

Ventures such as those being proposed by Matthew Thomas and Oscar Allen are about empowering us as a people. The “hotel development” at Mt Wynne/Peter’s Hope, as promoted by Dr Ralph Gonsalves and Sir James Mitchell, will do the opposite – keep us in servitude, as slavery did.

Calypsonian Black Messenger (Michael John) once sang:” We’re tired of eating crumbs…We want the whole bread now…” I endorse Messenger’s sentiments. Down with the sale of Mt Wynne/Peter’s Hope! Massa Day must done!

Bernard Joseph