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Some suggestions for SVG in 2005

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EDITOR: In a recent discussion with some friends, the topic of what can be done to improve SVG in the next 25 years came up. I submit some of my own opinions on this:

1. VAT: For the average person, taxes in SVG are next to nothing, yet the government still needs money to operate. That same government employs 30% of the people in SVG. {{more}} The more financially constrained the government becomes, the more the population suffers. Don’t start being selfish and crying about paying a small percentage to help your country, we all benefit from Government services and an extra dollar to pay on a CD won’t make you broke. If it does make you broke you should be saving your money instead.

2. Tax credits for venture capital/angel investors: This will promote local investors to help Vincentians start up businesses rather than waiting on foreign organizations to come in and set up shops. In the long run it also creates jobs and generates more tax revenue for the country. I’m not talking about setting up rum shops and snackettes, but businesses that will actually produce things for local use AND export.

3. Cross Country Road: For any economy to progress there needs to be a developed transportation infrastructure in place. If people from Leeward and the countryside could conduct business with each other directly instead of always having to go through town, we would see a boom of economic development in the “rural” areas.

4. International Airport: Let’s face it, tourism is a major industry in the Caribbean. If we neglect tourism or leave it only to the Grenadines, then we will be at fault for missing out on its fruits. How can we expect to get tourists when it is impossible to get direct flights into SVG, and the flights to SVG with connections from the US are twice as expensive as direct flights to Barbados?

An international airport will also allow for easier export of locally produced goods, including fruits and vegetables. Some of us in the US are fed up with paying US$3 for nasty looking four-week-old Chiquita mangoes.

I don’t see why we should be against moving forward. It might be painful at first, but nothing worthwhile in life comes easy.

That’s my opinion.

Dominic Palombo

Leeward SVG/ Pittsburgh USA

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