Tremendous progress made in Southern Grenadines since 2001 – Snagg
Edwin Snagg, the Unity Labour Party’s (ULP) caretaker for the Southern Grenadines says that the constituency has seen tremendous progress since the ULP took office in 2001.
Snagg said sometimes when he hears talk about neglect in the Southern Grenadines, it sends a chill through him because he knows that is not true.
“In reality there has not been the type of development in any part of St Vincent and the Grenadines, per capita, like what has happened in the Southern Grenadines,” he said.
Snagg made the statement on November 9 during an exclusive interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Union Island, one of three islands that are part of the constituency of the Southern Grenadines. The other two islands are Canouan and Mayreau.
Snagg said that while it is the smallest constituency in terms of population, the Southern Grenadines is unique as the level of investment by the government has changed the lives of persons in a significant way.
“If I choose to itemize this, we would be here all day,” Snagg commented.
The politician said that when one looks at Canouan, there has been a special emphasis there. Development includes a jet port, a new police station and a secondary school.
“…We are now talking about building a new jetty and the government has facilitated a lot of the processes that are taking place in Canouan,” said Snagg while mentioning the new marina on the south of the island and resort development.
Snagg, who was born on Goat Hill Union Island, noted that on his birth island, many improvements have come since 2001, notably, the upliftment of Hugh Mulzac Square, the installation of a new water catchment facility, the building of a secondary school and learning resource centre, the refurbishing of the coast guard base, fixing of the Ashton Hard Court and also the introduction of solar energy.
“Mulzac Square, prior to 2001 this was probably the dirtiest place you could find in the Grenadines,” Snagg said apologetically, while adding that the government spearheaded the clean-up and named the Square as a fitting tribute to a son of the soil.
“We transformed that and now, persons hold public meetings and events there,” said Snagg.
He also spoke about the improvements made to the Tobago Cays Marine Park, an area that can be considered as a gem of the entire Caribbean.
“Prior to 2001, the Cays had two rangers and a manager who lived in Bequia. Somehow if you look at that something about that just can’t be in sync for a marine park.
“Now, it has about 15 rangers and a proper structure,” said Snagg.
“But, it’s not only about the question of the infrastructural development, but also of the social development because we have created so many posts here — sports officer, a case worker from social development.
“We are now looking at an adult education officer and a community development officer. We have a home helpers for the elderly and these are things that actually touch the lives of people,” noted Snagg.
“We have we little potholes but the roads here have a lasting effect and the roads are better than in many places and the hard court has been fixed which is a core thing in relation to the social aspect.
“These things touch on the life of people,” stated Snagg.
He noted also that the Union Island is the only island that has gone completely green in relation to electricity generation.
He said that when the sun is out, the entire island works off solar electricity so electricity is generated using diesel only for a few hours a day.
“This is significant and I am happy when I look at my little four square mile island and there is no diesel emission.
In relation to Mayreau, Snagg said that after the ULP came to office in 2001, they brought electricity to Mayreau as well as a wharf.
Relating a story, Snagg said that one day he was on a ferry and a woman was coming from the mainland with a new born baby. He said in those days there was no wharf at Mayreau and a small boat would usually come up to the ferry to facilitate the offloading of the vessel and to take passengers ashore.
The operator of the small craft instructed the mother to drop her new born baby into his arms but the sea was choppy and she could not bring herself to toss the child.
“A sailor took the baby from her and drop the child to the man in the boat and my navel roll and I said if I am ever put in a position of authority then this is something that I will fix.
“So when we talk about a wharf and some people say is just a wharf, they don’t understand the significance and the depth of this particular thing,” Snagg told SEARCHLIGHT.
“You can imagine coming off from the ferry and you taking off a fridge. People take these things for granted and it has happened and they do not realize how major the impact has been,” he further stated.
He said in his opinion, everything, in relation to economic, social and cultural development that takes place on mainland St Vincent happens in the Grenadines.
He said the Grenadines has its challenges because it is separated by water but changes have been made and continue to be made.
“We may have some issues with documentation. You may want professional help with some things but do you expect a lawyer of repute will set up an office on an island of four square miles with 2000 people?
“He go can’t eat, so you have to go mainland to do that and you cannot expect the government will have a facility here to do CT Scan; it can’t work and we have to be practical about it because we choose to live in the Grenadines and we talk about the beautiful environment that we have; we talk about the beaches and how our place nice, but we must realize that there are certain things we give up because we choose to live here,” stated Snagg.