Our Readers' Opinions
December 15, 2017
A crippling legacy indeed

EDITOR: Over the last several years there have been some happenings in our beautiful, but unfortunate country, which we, if we were conscientious and maturely responsible citizens, ought to have addressed with a degree of firmness. That is, if we desire to be faithful to our responsibility to so manage our patrimony that we pass on to the next generations a land with a sufficiency of resources, to give them a reasonable chance of prospering.

But we cannot truly say that we have in the main measured up to the challenge. Almost all of us have fallen well short of the standard and guilty of having been indifferent, even when it was evident to us that things were not going the way that would produce the environment to contribute to the prosperity and peace of our people.

It should never be forgotten that we are an agricultural community, made up primarily of the progeny of slaves who were used to produce crops for the Europeans colonizers. When the colonizers withdrew, they compensated the estate owners for their loss of business brought about because of the order of Emancipation. What allowed the former slaves to survive was access to the land. The terrain was rough, but the soil was fertile.

While one could empathize with our leaders of the ‘50s and ‘60s for falling for the inducement of a tourism thrust, where expatriates were offered very generous terms for the development of their resorts, which held promise of providing jobs for the people. It is inexcusable for Vincentians to allow their elected leaders to be selling off and giving away the rights to the lands which the next generations will need for their own development.

Have we no faith in the capacity of our own people? Can we not envision that in 20 or 30 years’ time, the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines will have the capacity to develop the land in a manner which will bring more benefit to our people than is the case today?

There are many Vincentians yet alive, who will remember that on the site of the now “de-commissioned” ET Joshua Airport there used to be a horse-racing track and a cricket field on the eastern end. When one walked from Kingstown to Arnos Vale and arrived at Casson Corner and looked down on the valley (the Vale), there were hardly 20 houses to be seen. Look at the area now! Properties developed by our own people, as has been the case of the area of Ratho Mill, Brighton, Prospect and the surrounding communities. Those investments are worth several billion dollars, and importantly, they will be inhabited by the progeny of Vincentians who developed them.

When recently there was that fiasco in Canouan, which commander David Robin was sent to quell, I was quite surprised when I heard that our Government intended to develop Canouan after the model of Mustique. That was a shocker to me! I could not believe that that arrangement could be entertained in the 21st century in the Caribbean.

All those who are guilty of perpetrating such an injustice on the people should hastily exert themselves to make amends to address this dishonourable legacy. Time is running out!

Leroy Providence