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An NDP Government will develop Baliceaux for tourism – Eustace


A New Democratic Party (NDP) administration will purchase the island of Baliceaux and develop it, to facilitate visits there, by Garifuna people living in the Diaspora.

President of the NDP and Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace laid out his plans for the development of the privately owned Grenadine island, last Saturday, as he addressed a public meeting at Layou.{{more}}

Stating that there are about 750,000 people overseas who call themselves Garifuna, Eustace said these people will not come to SVG to take jobs, but would “cause us to do better.”

An economist by profession, Eustace said if 10 per cent of the Garifuna come to this country as tourists in any particular year, that would be 75,000 people.

“If we get 5 per cent, we will have 37,500 tourists from Garifuna alone and if we get 2.5 per cent, we will be having 18,000 Garifuna coming here as tourists. Just think about it. The total amount of tourists who came here last year was 204,000. If we get 10 per cent and have 75,000 more, you know what that is going to do to tourism in St Vincent and the Grenadines?

Eustace said if each of the 18,000 people spend 10 days here, that would mean 180,000 more days for the hotels.

“That will be a lot of money for our economy. I have done the calculations already. If we get 18,000 more, we will earn $22 million more in the first year…. If it’s 5 per cent, 37,000, we’ll earn $44 million more from tourism in a single year. Whose job is that taking away? It is creating work.”

Continuing, Eustace said the hotels will have to hire more people, buy more agricultural products and pay taxes to the government. Additionally, the Argyle international airport, under construction, will benefit.

“… the same airport they talking about out there….they will have more passengers…making the airport more viable and better off,” he said.

The Leader of the Opposition said his government would also have to do other things.

“…We will have to develop Baliceaux more. The government will have to buy Baliceaux. We will have to do that, because they will want to go to Baliceaux. Therefore the person with the small boat will make more money. Those who have small boats will be carrying trips to Baliceaux.

“It means we have to put some small hotels or two on Baliceaux. It means we have to have proper landing strips in Baliceaux… all of which will create jobs in our economy,” Eustace said.

Baliceaux is the Grenadine island, located south of St Vincent, where 4,338 Garifuna — men, women and children — were taken between July 1796 and February 1797, after the Second Carib War, to await deportation to Roatan island, off the coast of Honduras. The Garifuna did not leave Baliceaux until March 11, 1797, but by this time, their numbers had dwindled to 2,248, the others having died of disease and from the inhospitable conditions on that small island, which is presently owned by a local family.