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25 years – a milestone for SVG

25 years – a milestone for SVG

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This anniversary of ours is indeed a special occasion. Inasmuch as I hesitate to use the now overworked description – historic – we cannot escape that it represents a significant milestone. Twenty-five (25) has always been an important milestone in our lives, whether we used it as a measure of our manhood, runs scored or even a quarter of a dollar.{{more}}

My own Party, the NDP, is in fact only a few years older than our Nation state, but even so we have had both the pleasure and the responsibility to chart the course of this country for 17 of those years. Most are agreed that we were successful even though there is a valid argument that more could have been accomplished. But that is the nature of man, always aspiring and hoping to achieve.

Twenty-five years ago, I was in the challenging position of advising my country on public policy, especially economics. Today, through divine will, I lead the opposition political party, which is determined to give Vincentians not just a better way of life, but a different approach to life; one that is value laden, and built upon moral principles of honesty and integrity, mutual respect, Christian ethics, care and compassion. All summed up in my pet phrase, a kinder and gentler St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

When I look around St. Vincent, it is immediately apparent what are the main concerns of Vincentians. They simply want a job; they want to provide for their children. My fellow Vincentians want to live in peace and security, with a significant reduction in the wanton killings every Monday morning. Over and above this, I get a sense of a deep call for a democracy in which my political choice is not the cost of my job. There must be an end to the climate of fear and widespread victimization. Both the NDP and I are committed to the construction of this better day.

I, however, have additional responsibilities as Party leader and I want to assure you that I take these very seriously.

Twenty-five years ago, the computer was not a standard piece of equipment in an office. Today, we are in the Internet age. The emphasis is no longer on the independence that we celebrate, but the quality of the interdependence that we are able to foster.

It is our responsibility to be at one time international in our outlook while at the same time have our feet firmly planted on the ground attending to the basic needs of our people. We must be ever mindful of the bread and butter issues of our people, while we seamlessly attempt to integrate our economies with the industrialized world.

It seems to me that the new economic policy of an NDP administration will have to show a great sensitivity and balance between the bricks and mortar issues such as an airport and other infrastructure with the ever present demand for social and welfare issues.

We in the NDP have been struck by the continuous need for help for our sick especially the cases of renal failure. Support for the elderly is a must. More and better quality health care is an imperative of the highest order.

We also have to continue our massive investment in the education of our young people. Even while in opposition we as a Party will continue our material assistance to our students. However, new frontiers must be explored and conquered.

Finally, at this Independence, it saddens me and my Party that a government that claims to be the champion of good governance, that lays charges of accountability and transparency, could be so reckless with the future of our country to contemplate the possible destruction of our water system, by ignoring the requisite environmental and economic studies attendant upon a Cross Country Road.

We have a responsibility as a nation to get rid of, for all time, any semblance of nepotism and corruption in government. As the saying goes, “What we are willing to walk away from will determine what God will bring to us.”

On behalf of the NDP and my own family I extend heartiest congratulations to my country on its 25th birthday and pledge our commitment to be part of the construction of the next 25 years. May God Bless You All!