Round Table with Oscar
February 8, 2013
Planting our new city

The location of the new city is the Argyle zone. It will be a Caribbean garden city with a name like Yurumein Gardens and it will help to redeem our land from the history of destructive land grab and land use that began in the colonising years. Now, let us take up a truly national initiative, to reshape our material landlihood and create new values for our community and in our community.{{more}}

From here, I think that I need to take two steps back. Do we need a city? Where to put it? What will it do for us? We already have Kingstown as our centre of commerce, services and state administration, and we plan to add on Arnos Vale to it, to share some of the load (and to make a ton of dollars for government through real estate land sales or leases). The truth, for the majority of Vincentians, is that Kingstown is an oppressive centre and does not readily let go its power to oppress. The old services, like birth certificate purchase, or not so old ones, like insurance coverage, and the new ones like KFC and Subway are placed where the masses have to gather. Travelling from Fancy to town is no big relief if town moves to Arnos Vale! And Kingstown and Arnos Vale share the same coastal development fault. Whether it is storm surge or heavy rains, the low-lying coastal lands will be swamped and flooded. Kingstown needs more assistance. Campden Park Port is helping, Canouan development is helping, but the domination continues in town. Another city with a different configuration must come on-stream.


The Argyle zone, from “Diamond Estate” in the south to Biabou in the north, needs to be the centre of the Windward estate belt from Fancy to Calliaqua in colonial times and the legacy of poverty is still evident there. The Argyle zone has the potential to finally disrupt that legacy of downtroddenness and construct a future of overall decency and progress. The Argyle zone also has a gateway into the mountains leading to the challenged Leeward communities and nature spots. Fertile communication can use this transinsular route instead of the long coastal road in Kingstown. Further, the Argyle zone is a garden zone and the garden nature must not be destroyed, but incorporated into its functioning as a city. And then the Argyle zone has material artefacts and human remains from nearly 1,000 years of those who lived here before us. The zone is rich in assets that are economic, geographical, social and most of all what I call anticipatory — a spirited readiness to embrace a community vision and run with it. The Argyle zone is a real opportunity to move the plan forward to liberate Kingstown for new developments and innovations.


The Argyle international airport and the Argyle zone complement and contradict each other. For many persons, the airport is a stand-alone project. It is more connected to the sky than to the zone around it. At the airport, a person who arrives gets into a car or bus and heads for Kingstown or wherever. The zone has no function for the airport. It is as if in earlier times one might say, “Musa buil airport, nehga watch and clap hand when plane come”. The Argyle zonality, however, is not indifferent to the international airport. True, the airport is not the main reason for the city, but it enters into the conscious design of the city. While the airport will have heavy carbon footprints and cause dioxide emissions to increase significantly for SVG, the garden city will reach for green energy sources and increased green absorption of CO2. But the zone city has as its clientele, both the Vincentian community and the travelling visitors.

I envisage the Argyle zone to have different services, perhaps clustered at separate location in the zone. Entertainment locations, hospitality services, an industrial cluster, a commercial and state admin cluster, residential, agricultural, warehousing, holding and perhaps a national campus and several ecological and historical sites. An adequate road network and public transport system will make movement in the zone hassle free. The zone will become a just staging point or a complete package for incoming visitors and perhaps a last place of enjoyment for departing visitors.

We need to plant this new garden city to lift citizens and nation to a richer quality of life. But how do we move from a need to a first step forward? There must be an agency to promote the development of the Argyle zone (PRODAZ Agency) and its business or corporate body. Persons who live and own property in the zone must become shareholders with some of their local property as equity. Other national investors must also come on board, then regional shareholders will be invited and international investors selected. The Argyle airport has been a government project, harnessing resources from its coalition of the willing. If PRODAZ emerges with a feasible prospectus, our Caribbean garden city can spring to life, can be our new city.