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Pride in National Development

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Our constant positive strides towards international airport development must be viewed as a symbol of success, although it is a continued work in progress. It was on May 19th, 2008, that our nation celebrated the historical arrival of the vessel Inagua Espana from Coco Solo Panama, at the Campden Park Container, with equipment to begin the construction of our international airport at Argyle.{{more}} Indeed, whether or not one is in support, opposition or denial, progress is taking place as it pertains to the development of an international airport on mainland St Vincent. Whilst the transporting of more equipment on June 25th marked another point of significance, the ground breaking ceremony scheduled for Sunday, 13th, will definitely be a crowning moment for all who take sincere pride in national development.

Our resilience and perseverance as a society is beyond question. A look at our history and the distinct development of our Vincentian people reveals both inflicted and indelible scars signified by the almost total extermination of our native Garifuna people by colonial powers. Further, I need not here remind us of our experience with the horrific Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and the resultant years of slavery. Our farmers have not lost faith despite the annual threats from violent hurricanes, and despite the 1979 eruption of La Soufriere we do not live our lives in fear of that aspect of nature. Our history has no doubt informed our fight to survive in the toughest times and to achieve against all odds. Simply, we will survive.

When one is placed in a position to analyse our circumstances, it is clear that we have struggled with many misfortunes as a people, which is only natural as we strive to build and nurture a successful nation. His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie 1, speaking in his time on issues of faith and the centrality of God to the development of a nation, noted that “Today man sees all his hopes and aspirations crumbling before him. He is perplexed and knows not whither he is drifting. But he must realize that the Bible is his refuge and the rallying point for all humanity. In it man will find the solution to his present difficulties and guidance for his future action, and unless he accepts with clear conscience the Bible and its great message, he cannot hope for salvation. For my part, I glory in the Bible.” In a world of rising cost of living, and global threats to food security in varying respects, we have sought to conduct our business with a sense of distinction unmatched by attempts and circumstances which seek only to drive us into regression.

The social problems which we face as a people is testimony to the fact that there is a great deal of work still to be done among us. Crime is generally on the increase in our region. Locally, the crime situation in some areas of St Vincent and the Grenadines assures us that our work is not over. Nonetheless, indeed we have come a long way. There is, however, a great need for more work to be done to bolster our community structures. We must, therefore, seek to become better organized with a strong sense of social cohesion. The path for development remains clear ahead. We must now search our inner selves carefully, so that we can bring out the best in us. Who, then, are we? We are a nation with a clear list of developmental goals, aimed at ensuring that our nation is constantly positioned and repositioned to succeed against the hindrances engraved in the path which eventually leads towards levels of sustainable development.

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.

As we manage the changes and transitions experienced by our nation, we must look ahead confidently and at all times be guided by a national interest. We must continue the fight. Although the enormity of the challenge appears insurmountable at times, we must maintain that our greatest asset is the determination and commitment of our people to surmount all difficulties and take our nation onward. If we are to maintain economic growth, we all have an integral part to play in the process. Without doubt the present administration is correct when it details that the State has an over-riding obligation to put everything in place to deliver a quality education to its people. This is a fundamental part of the common intention aimed at ensuring that we are all an integral part of the nation building process.

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