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Dr. Gonsalves calls for more public policy debate

Dr. Gonsalves calls for more public policy debate

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St.Vincent and the Grenadines lacks any publication that seriously addresses major matters of public policy.

So says Prime Minister Dr.Ralph Gonsalves.

And as a result of this, the media and the University of the West Indies School of Continuing Studies have come in for heavy criticism from the Prime Minister.{{more}}

Prime Minister Gonsalves, delivering an address at the inaugural Senior Policy Forum on Tuesday, March 28, told the senior public servants attending the ceremony that it is generally accepted that the extramural centre of the University of the West Indies (UWI) in St.Vincent and the Grenadines in so far as it relates to serious reflection on Public Policy issues has been a failure.

Dr.Gonsalves added: “It is true to say that one or other members of the staff of the university branch here may write in this or that newspaper but no one would pretend that the offerings are deep, profound or worth following intellectually.”

He stressed that what exists at the university centre is “the usual offerings for a first year programme, or certificate or diploma programme from courses done by distance”.

Dr. Gonsalves noted that while these are useful they are not sufficient “to fit the bill for serious reflection on Public Policy”.

Though St.Vincent and the Grenadines has a lot of university graduates, said Dr.Gonsalves, there has not been an organization which channels them in the direction to do the kind of study and analysis to make the sort of prescriptions which the policy makers would want arising from the Vincentian society.

Dr.Gonsalves stated that Vincentians are living in a country without a lot of sound public policy discussions. And the media should reassess its role.

He said though there are many talk shows, radio stations and newspapers, they are not the best vehicles as these entities were looking for ratings.

“If we’re going to have a lot of deep reflective thinking on the important public policy issues, you must have people who have the capacity to address these issues and you must have a certain amount of time on the radio station and certainly in newspapers to articulate these weighty matters,” said Dr.Gonsalves.

He said the public accepts that as currently organized and as currently functioning all of the mass media have not demonstrated a spirit for in-depth and serious reflection on important matters of Public Policy.

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