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Two important national events

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23.MAY.08

Two important events in the development of this country took place this week. On Monday, May 19th, 13 pieces of heavy-duty equipment to be used for the earthworks on the Argyle International Airport arrived here.

With the arrival of the equipment, we are one step closer to the realization of the dream of an international airport for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

If we don’t get what will be the largest capital project in the history of this country done now, it is doubtful that it will ever be a reality. The longer we wait to go forward with a project that most reasonable people think is a necessity, the more difficult it will be.

The Prime Minister must be commended for his untiring efforts and his creative approach to financing what is indeed a mammoth undertaking.

On Tuesday, SVG Publishers Inc. held the official opening ceremony for its newspaper printing press. The establishment of this venture is significant for several reasons.

Firstly, it is a shining example of co-operation among business competitors. In fact, newspaper icon Harold Hoyte, the feature speaker at Tuesday’s opening, noted that this joint venture is a first of its kind for Caribbean people – three different newspapers pooling resources to buy a printing press.

As Caribbean people, our smallness: physical, economic and of the mind, often imposes limitations on us. Today’s fast paced and trade-liberalized world, however, places challenges on us which we have to find ways to overcome. We cannot be content to continue to do things in the manner we always have. What worked for us three years ago will prove uneconomical three years or even one year from now.

Secondly, the presence of a press here means greater independence and flexibility for the local newspaper publishing industry. Our newspapers are no longer subject to the uncertainties of air and sea cargo services, or an overseas printer whose work or holiday schedule may not have always been in sync with the local agenda.

There is now no reason why the news reported in newspapers should not be more timely, as the high speed printing press only takes a few hours to print each of the local weeklies. In fact, the press’s speed and SVG Publishers staff’s efficiency were demonstrated at the opening on Tuesday when guests who attended the opening ceremony were presented with a newspaper printed that very afternoon, while the ceremony was going on, and which reported on what took place at the event.

Another positive which comes with the establishment of this press is the foreign exchange which will be saved for this country. In 2006 alone, the three newspapers spent over EC$1.6 million in expenses related to printing overseas. With the printing done here, a fair portion of that figure will now be retained.

Finally, and of great importance, are the opportunities now provided for the expansion of the local newspaper industry. Additional editions to the weekend papers, or even a daily newspaper, are now possible. These would mean increased opportunity for information sharing from a wider cross-section of the public, which is extremely important in the maintenance of democracy.

We, therefore, congratulate SVG Publishers on this achievement and wish them Godspeed.

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