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NDP plans to revive economy

NDP plans to revive economy


Job creation and investment are high on the list of issues that the New Democratic Party (NDP) hopes to address if they are elected to form government in the next general elections.

Party president Arnhim Eustace, speaking on the New Times radio programme yesterday, stated that his administration {{more}}will look towards forming links in the diaspora in order to generate more jobs and investments in the St Vincent and the Grenadines economy.

“We have a very clear idea of what we want to do; first of all, to revive the economy of St Vincent and the Grenadines. We have very clear ideas of how that should be done in terms of the policies and programmes that people should go for,” Eustace said.

“For example…one of the things that we looked at last week in our discussion on the way forward was the question of the Diaspora. We hear talk all the time about the diaspora this and the diaspora that. The diaspora makes contributions to this country, as people send money and other things to their families and the contribution is big and the contribution means a lot to the St Vincent and the Grenadines economy. We estimate that it’s over $100 million per year that is sent down by members of the diaspora to St Vincent and the Grenadines. Without that our economy will be in much more trouble than it is now.”

The Opposition Leader pointed out that the NDP has been looking at ways of engaging the diaspora to contribute more to the local economy. He further noted that in order to do so, the function of embassies and missions abroad will have to change.

“One of the things we have decided…is that our embassies and missions abroad have to be completely changed in their approach to dealing with the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines. While we will do the usual consular matters like passports and these kinds of things, we want to – the diaspora to play a bigger role in the economic development of St Vincent,” he said.

According to Eustace, the engagement of the diaspora will be two-fold: to invest in projects in this country and to promote trade between St Vincent and the Grenadines and the diaspora.

“We are saying with missions abroad, rather than just dealing with visas and passports, we will staff them in such a way that persons who are trained in trade and investments will become part of the staff of the embassy and they will interface with the people around them. So, if a man is interested in putting up a small enterprise, or a big one here in St Vincent and the Grenadines and he’s from the diaspora, there are the persons who will begin to liaise with him right away to make the process happen,” the NDP president said.

Vice-president of the NDP St Clair Leacock, who was also on the radio programme, expressed his happiness with the plans of his party.

“I want to say as a member of the party, as vice-president… I’m really so happy as to what I’m witnessing in the party at this time…in terms of the level of preparation we are putting in for governance purposes,” Leacock said.

“It’s not that we are coming here and speaking critically or observing the fault of the government, but that we are actively committing ourselves to an exercise of what we will do when we become government, so that we can hit the ground running. Also, shape and define our own pragmatic approach to reforming our society and our economy and our emphasis on people-centred approach for the small man.”

Other initiatives that will be addressed by the NDP include reducing the number of persons on welfare, by creating more jobs; revitalizing the book loan scheme; and looking for different avenues and opportunities for the provision of energy and electricity in the domestic and commercial sectors.(BK)