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A nation moving forward

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The decisive landmark in the history of 20th Century Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, representing the transition from the colonial to the modern era, was the attainment of political independence from Great Britain in 1979, and the resultant expressions of sovereignty, which are inherent in any such political maturing of a state. More than a quarter century after, or more precisely some twenty-eight years later brings us to today. Should the question be asked of you, as to whether we are a nation of hope, would your response be in the resounding affirmative?{{more}}

The quest to build a modern nation state reveals within itself a quest for positive change. The success of this venture is our truest hope. Historically, the first powerful nation-states were monarchies, advocates of the divine right of Kings and Queens to protect central authority and power. Today, through fundamental changes reflected in firmly structured, planned and conceived political, social and economic reorganization of critical elements within the state we have the sovereign liberty to chart our way forward.

Today, we are in the process of mapping a course which will further cement the gains of our political independence as a small nation state and at the same time strengthen the chords of our economic interdependency regionally and internationally. Clearly, this is an expression of vision and foresight.

The reality is that the ability of a country to follow a sustainable developmental path is determined to a large extent by the capacity of its people and its institutions to critically address the prerequisites, which guide social, political and economic achievement. Whilst the prerequisites may be easily detailed through a quantitative or qualitative analysis of current realities, the implementation of carefully configured and organized polices will make the difference between those who only preach and those who practice. The articulated bundle of policies of the current Unity Labour Party administration outlined in the party’s manifesto and reflected in the Prime Minister’s 2008 Budget

Address is an excellent outline of the way forward.

However, central to the sustainability of a modern nation state reflecting the characteristics of a competitive post-colonial economy is an understanding, embracing and calculated implementation of critical effective governmental policies, and private sector enterprise. As it pertains to the public service, all civil servants must become familiar with the general policy framework within which we work, so that there will be a significant reduction in the disconnects experienced from time to time as we attempt to move our nation forward.

Further, our citizens using the democratic avenues opened to us must constructively assess the policies proposed by our policy makers in a bid to create the fittest construct for the betterment of all Vincentians. A constructive assessment does not entail wild gossip, vain babblings or self-destructive discourse preaching doom and gloom only intended to bring our nation into disrepute. Instead, a critical conversation of what presently pertains in our nation is needed, guided by basic principles of hope, unity, faith and love aimed at moving our people forward. This must be the case since we cannot destroy the very subject matter that we propose to build.

As we build we must foster a renewed sense of hope. The challenges that we face as a people are not static. Growth and development is never unaccompanied by challenges. The solution lies in the development of the capacity of our people to ensure that we can effectively and efficiently govern our lives and the future of this our blessed nation. Human empowerment is therefore our focus.

Our hope must be renewed when we see the many strides made thus far towards the construction of our own international airport, thus making our nation more accessible to regional and international markets in areas of manufacturing, tourism and agriculture. The estimated $50 million Canouan airport extension and upgrade project is not inappropriately placed as we look towards a hope of receiving greater returns from tourism in the Grenadines.

Our hope in the successes of our nation is not unfounded when we consider that in the next ten years the number of returning students with academic degrees distributed around our one hundred and fifty square miles would be able to bring fresh ideas, which when blended with the great wealth of institutional knowledge currently existing, would ensure that SVG would be placed on a firm footing for many generations to come. The Education Revolution must live on.

Our hope becomes even more apparent and real when as a people we can organize our community based organizations to the level that we can transform our learning resource centres into mini-universities. Our community leaders must continue the process since the policy makers have already placed the general framework in place.

We must have hope when $33 millions dollars has been budgeted to be expended on the construction of the Owia Fisheries Complex; the upgrade of the Windward Highway is well on its way; there is significant expenditure in the Health sector inclusive of the construction of a Medical Complex in Georgetown and the implementation of the nation’s National Strategic Plan on HIV/AIDS and the list continues.

What does this mean for our youth, who constitute the largest and ablest sector of our population? It means that we must all put our hands to the plow and our hearts to the conscious effort to develop our natural and human resource. Our nation continues to mature. In every step forward the citizen must assist in making each step a success. “We can definitely make it if we try, just a little harder.”

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