Our Readers' Opinions
December 31, 2021
Constituency Development Fund, an essential for economic development

The need for some form of local government is clear. The small things that interest local communities may not attract the attention of the Central Government. The further away a community is from the seat of government, the greater the need for local government. Thus, the islands of the Grenadines each needs some form of local government. Consequently, Union Island has the greatest need.

Maintenance of local government buildings leaves much to be desired. These include the teachers house and the Museum Society building at Badeau, police houses at Papaland and Hospital road, the old UISS building, the Clifton Public Library, and the old Clifton clinic. While these buildings are in disrepair, we spend much to house government workers, the police station, revenue office, and the Mary Hutchinson Primary School.

The Industrial Arts, and Home Economics Centers are grossly under-utilised despite the availability of students who need to learn the skills offered there, as well as a cadre of qualified teachers on the staff of the UISS to instruct them. The poor Mathematics performance not only at UISS but at most secondary schools across the country is scandalous. All our schools need to be organised to guarantee passes in 5 CSEC subjects including Mathematics and English. Unless this happens we cannot truly say that our students have successfully completed secondary school. Local schools need to be empowered to handle their own affairs to enable them to meet national standards more efficiently. Some of the Community College courses should be mad available locally, face to face and via the Internet.

Organising the local civil servants like those on mainland St. Vincent makes no sense because there are fewer workers and there is a need for one worker to cover several areas. There is also a need for better Internet connectivity between the local offices and national offices. Collection of fees and taxes should be more efficient because those who collect the taxes know those who should pay and can encourage this to happen in a timely manner. Community Policing should be encouraged and some of them should live here permanently. The Celina Clouden Hospital should be equipped to provide basic emergency services.

Every community needs certain small businesses and every effort should be made to train, provide technical support, and encourage private individuals to set up these. Those with the interest should be given priority. This would provide us with shoemakers, tailors, seamstresses, piano tuners, electronic repair persons, office machines repairmen, household appliance repairmen, fish market operators, undertakers, events planners, grant writers, journalists, cabinet makers, computer repairmen, electronic device security personnel, local juice makers, and caterers among others.

While sea transport has improved greatly, air transport to and from Union Island has declined within the last 20 years. There needs to be better same day connections to international flights. This is firstly for locals, and secondly for tourists. Even though we have Argyle International Airport, there is still a need for us to place agents in Barbados, St. Lucia, Grenada, and Trinidad & Tobago to ensure that our nationals and tourists can get here hassle free. I still get the impression that there is unnecessary detention in those places. An information website should be set up to show departure and arrival times for boats and planes.

All these matters can be attended to by Local government. Can District Officer Sherma Adams, Director of Grenadines Affairs Edwin Snagg, and Minister of Grenadines Affairs Julian Francis make a difference?

Anthony Stewart