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Rare show of unity



The rare show of unity demonstrated in Parliament on Tuesday by both sides of the House was indeed as refreshing as it was unexpected. Most observers were perhaps expecting a repeat of what has happened in the past few years when it is the turn of private members (including the Opposition) to move motions.{{more}}

Perhaps our parliamentarians have sensed that Vincentians are growing a bit weary of the games played in the name of politics, especially when it comes to important national issues. Let’s see more of this mature style of politics.

OECS bail out

The emergency takeover by the East Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and five indigenous banks of the OECS of Bank of Antigua, in just a few days, is nothing short of magnificent.

The intervention by our regional banks most certainly averted disaster and protected the over $400 million in deposits the bank held, almost eighty percent of which were the deposits of the people of Antigua and Barbuda.

Understandably, the Government of Antigua has expressed its gratitude to the ECCB and the indigenous banks for their foresight and pre-emptive action to stabilize Antigua’s financial sector. Antigua’s Minister of Finance and the Economy Dr Errol Cort also expressed his thanks to the people of the OECS for their cooperation. Our Prime Minister, too, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, came in for praise from the ECCB for leading the effort to put the arrangements together.

Were we in Antigua’s position, we would want the bail out, too. There can be no better argument for the OECS Economic Union, and what happened over the last few days is a good, practical example of the benefits of working together.

The formation of Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Investment Company Ltd (ECAIC), the entity which now has control of the operations of the bank, may very well mark the beginning of a deeper integration of our indigenous banks. We hope so, as this would make our banks stronger and more financially resilient and give them the capacity to be more responsive to the needs of the people of the sub-region.

Guides against Crime

This past Sunday, two organizations which seek to engage and mould our young people celebrated milestones.

2009 marks 95 years since the Girl Guide movement was introduced to this country by a Methodist Minister, Reverend Arthur Cocks. Since then, thousands of girls from as young as 5 years old have had their lives molded by the principles and discipline of Guiding.

At the annual Thinking Day Service held on Sunday, over 1,300 persons gathered at the St. George’s Cathedral to mark the milestone. The Guides, Brownies, Bim-Bims, Rangers, Guiders, Parents and Well-wishers celebrated in fine style under the theme “Whence we came, whither we go”. It is unfortunate that none of the invited Government officials saw it fit to attend, perhaps because of the other milestone which was being celebrated just a few yards away at the Bishop’s College compound.

The Pan against Crime initiative is now one year old. Unlike the Thinking Day service, the first anniversary celebrations of Pan Against Crime were well patronized by government officials. Pan against Crime and Guiding both have similar objectives, that of harnessing the creative talents of our young people for their benefit and for the benefit of our country. Let’s not have tunnel vision and forget all the other initiatives, programmes and organizations that have for decades been working “against crime”.