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Wise choices as we welcome 2013

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Fri Dec 28, 2012

Reflection on the old year and decision making about what should be done differently in the new year, to bring about positive change, are usually the order of the day at this time of the year, for most individuals, organizations and nations.{{more}}

2012 was a challenging year, during which many of us were forced to make sacrifices and adjustments to how we live our lives. Whether it be finances, health related issues or family relationships, few persons are in a position to say they came through the year unscathed.

This year, Vincentians grappled with the rising cost of living, while salaries, by and large, remained stagnant; unemployment and underemployment; the revocation by Canadian authorities of visa-free travel for Vincentians to that country; an upsurge in armed robberies, burglaries and muggings towards the end of the year; an increase in suicides (mainly young people); an increase in the number of elderly citizens abandoned by their relatives at the nation’s health institutions; the scourge of praedial larceny on our agricultural industry, among other things.

On the positive side, we have been witnessing the steady progress being made on the construction of the international airport at Argyle, scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013; the continued outstanding performance of our young citizens at universities around the world; the accolades bestowed on country’s tourism product by several international publications; our farmers are showing increasing interest in getting into commercial cultivation of cocoa; an increase in the export of our manufactured products and the fact that all things considered, as a nation, we have still managed to keep afloat in this tough global economy.

Most likely, as we decide what needs to be done to make next year a better one, some element of sacrifice will be in the picture. In national terms, the word “austerity” is sometimes used, but this is not not necessarily a bad thing, especially if what one gives up today will ensure a better tomorrow.

It all comes down to making wise choices, whether in our personal lives or as an independent nation. It can never be that taking a realistic view of our situation, and adjusting one’s sails to deal with the cross currents is a bad thing to do. Prudence and prognostication go together. They help individuals and nations to avoid the perils of uncharted seas.

In 2013, while we have much to look forward to, there is also a great deal of work to be done. In 2012, there were 28 homicides, up from 25 in both 2010 and 2011. Eleven of the homicides involved the use of illegal firearms, an increase over previous years. We have to work harder at getting the illegal guns off the street, and at inculcating in our young people the understanding that crime does not pay in the long run, whereas there is always honour in honest toil.

Our education system should be buttressed by increased entrepreneurial thinking, so that fewer graduates would look to the government or the private sector for employment. Hard work by all, as well as fair pay by employers for fair work by employees should be our mantras. There is also an increasing tendency among some to use their intellect not in a positive manner, but to scam others out of what they have worked hard for.

A few years ago, the heads of government of Caricom, after taking stock of the effect non-communicable diseases was having on the health of our people and the treasuries of our countries, declared a Wellness Revolution. Nothing much came of that declaration. Maybe 2013 would be the year when we each take healthy eating, exercise and stress reduction more seriously.

Importantly, in 2013, we wish for a return to the good old-fashioned virtues of courtesy, kindness, thoughtfulness, empathy and respect of our fellow citizens, as these help to oil the machinery of day-to-day life and make the world a more pleasant place in which to live.

SEARCHLIGHT expresses a heartfelt thanks to our readers, vendors and advertisers for their support in 2012. We wish everyone a healthy, happy, peaceful, productive and prosperous 2013.

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