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SVG – Ready for the future

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by Alana Gumbs

Recently, I was reading “Black Boy Pub & Other Stories” by Vincentian-UK author Michael McMillan, which provides a wonderful recollection of the days of Vincentian migration to England.

There are extensive descriptions and references to Vincentians helping each other to get started in the UK, including living arrangements, jobs and even spouses! I found myself wondering what has happened to that kindred spirit in our society today. {{more}}

Vincentians, we are going to have to learn how to make decisions in our daily lives that lead to the support of one another if we have any serious intention of advancing our nation to the benefit of all. The focus of this article is on demonstrating how simple decision making in our daily lives can provide tremendous value towards progress. In addition, a few questions are raised with respect to the more complex, nation level, decision making.

Simple Decisions – Impact of Local/Regional Support on our Economy

The need to support all aspects of the local and regional economy cannot be overstated at this point in our development. In an earlier article I urged local/regional support in all aspects of our economy including crafts, music, TV programmes, food, drinks, clothing, professional service providers, etc.

Now one may ask: what is the motivation for providing this type of support and how do I go about integrating local/regional support into my daily life?

The example below describes how simple decision making can be incorporated into our daily lives with profound impact on our development as a nation and a region.

Example:

(Please note all numbers and names used in the example are for illustration purposes only and are aimed at demonstrating the impact of the decision-making process in relative terms only.)

Local, Frank, walks into a local supermarket to buy peanuts for a party that night. Frank examines the selection of local and foreign peanuts and decides to purchase a local brand with an attractive label. The peanuts were grown and harvested by Farmer Brown in Mespo, who sold the peanuts in that bottle, wholesale, for $1. Fifty cents goes to his pocket to pay bills for his family and $0.30 goes to the workers on his land to pay bills for their families. Twenty cents goes to local suppliers for inputs. The peanuts were bought wholesale by SVG Peanuts where Parcher Joe and Parcher Sue are employed to parch peanuts. Thirty cents goes into the Parchers’ pockets to pay bills for their families. Parcher Joe has a wife and two children and Parcher Sue has a husband who is too ill to work and has three children.

SVG Bottle King produces the bottles and caps in Diamond and SVG Peanuts pays $0.40 per bottle. SVG Bottle King hires four people who all have families that they support from their wages.

SVG Peanuts employs two fillers to fill the bottles with peanuts. Packer Don also works for SVG Peanuts. Packer Don packs the boxes and driver Jane delivers the boxes to SVG Supermarket. SVG Supermarket pays $3.50 wholesale for the bottle of peanuts and SVG Supermarket Packer Gus unloads the boxes from the truck and packs the shelves. Cashier Kim checks out the item for $5 when local, Frank, checks the item out.

Local, Frank, serves the peanuts at his party that night to his guests’ delight. His 50 guests all enjoy the peanuts and they ask the name of the brand and the location of Frank’s purchase. Well guess what … which peanuts do you think those 50 people are buying next time they go to the supermarket?

Now imagine the positive spin off and trickle down effect of this one purchase? How many people have direct and indirect positive impact in terms of hard dollars and other benefits from this one purchase? Over 30 people! In addition that money is now spent back in the local economy. By the time the trickle down effect is completed and calculated, the end result is that the direct and indirect impact of this simple but important decision is that thousands of people are positively impacted with thousands of dollars invested in our nation’s economy.

The associated businesses now have to expand because they can’t keep up with demand and on and on the positive impact spreads as the money is circulated within the local economy as these local businesses boom.

Conversely, local, Bev, walks into the same supermarket and purchases the foreign brand peanuts. Impact? SVG Supermarket may have the same or similar benefit and SVG customs, etc., but beyond a few establishments, all the benefit would be overseas in the foreign man’s land. Now let’s not knock the foreign mans’ land, but rest assured that land is already profitable and flourishing. Vincentians, let’s try our best to make ours flourish too!

Vincentians and Caribbean brethren as a whole, this is the type of analysis we have to conduct in our daily lives. These are the important choices that we make every day. Look at the trickle down effect of our decisions and impact to our society as a whole! The responsibility for these decisions and their consequences rests squarely on our shoulders.

Let’s break it down – step by step, bit by bit, piece by piece, we can all make a difference in our society and have a real impact on nation development!

l Alana Gumbs is a Toronto-based Vincentian working in Management/Business Solutions Consulting.

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