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Bring the investors now

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30.DEC.10

Editor: On a very serious note, I am sure that at the first meeting of the new Parliament, the first item of business concerning the nation that the people of SVG will be expecting to hear discussed is: Prime Minister the Hon. Dr Ralph Gonsalves calling on Opposition Leader, the Hon. Arnhim Eustace, and his NDP colleagues to honour their election promise to the people of SVG. That promise was outlined in details on page 31 of the issue of ‘The Vincentian News Paper’ for Friday, December 10, 2010.{{more}} On that page, they assured Vincentians that they were in consultation with various foreign investors who would like to invest billions of dollars for the development of a variety of projects in SVG; and hence, pledged that they (NDP) would bring these investors to SVG, as partners in the development of projects, including the completion of the Argyle International Airport, the construction of hotels throughout the state, the cultivation of the cocoa plant to assist with agricultural crop diversification, among other projects that would ensure the creation of about 20,000 jobs per year in our country!

I am pretty sure that Prime Minister Gonsalves would more than welcome any credible band of businessmen who can spin such magic overnight, to help out the present economic situation in our country; and should therefore challenge his NDP friends ‘to bring it on’. I think that Prime Minister Gonsalves should also ask Mr. Eustace and his investment band to help out his (PM Gonsalves’) good friend, President Barack Obama, of the USA, who is having real problems creating jobs for the millions of America who can’t find work.

I think that the people of SVG would be outraged if Mr. Eustace and the NDP reject any such gesture of political outreach from the ULP side of the country’s administration and back peddle on their word. I say so because I think that the Vincentian people are tired and fed up of the situation where so called politicians come ‘begging’ to be voted into public office in the name of, ‘to make a contribution towards the development of the country’; and when they are given the chance to do so, they only use the opportunity to BS and abuse the people’s trust. They collect their salaries; go to Parliament to be embroiled in meaningless verbatim and fierce confrontations; or stay away from Parliament and engage themselves in their own mundane political activities.

I do not know what percentage of the Vincentian electorate usually votes for anyone to go to Parliament just to quarrel about every sitting. I do know that political representatives may differ on different issues from time to time – whether at a partisan level, or among members of the same party. And, there must be a civilized give-and- take discourse/debate, so as to find common ground amongst the differing opinions. But we are definitely weary of the regular partisan brawls that take place in our Parliament. It would appear that the Opposition most times thinks that is what they have been elected to do. On the contrary, I think that the job of every Parliamentarian when he/she is either elected or nominated is to represent the people – whether or not they are on the side of the majority or the minority – their job is to make positive things happen for the progress of the country – as this is the only way our country would become the haven that they all promise that they want to make it.

For instance, I would like someone to tell me one single positive contribution that any of those NDP guys who were voted/nominated into office over the past ten years made to the development of SVG? Which one of them took the initiative as our representative and went on a promotional drive anywhere on the globe to sell this country that they say they love so much – and as a result of his/her influence, made at least one creditable investor to come here and invest in the development of a single worthwhile project, for the benefit of the country? I think that the resounding answer is none. Why was that great set of investors not introduced to the Government and people of SVG earlier than a few days before General Elections? Is it that the NDP lads see no urgency regarding the completion of the Argyle International Airport? Or don’t they think it is time to do something for the improvement of our tourism and agricultural sectors, and so on?

Well, in my view, anyone who goes about his/her political business in a fashion whereby they are trying their utmost best at all times (whether they are in or out of Government) to do what is necessary for the improvement of SVG, and can produce irrefutable evidence that he/she is representing us at this very responsible level, is worth a seat in Parliament; or, any group whose members are operating together at such a high level is worth the reins of Government.

Imagine Mr. Eustace, vying to become the next Prime Minister of this country, coming barefacedly to tell the nation that a group of foreigners say that they want to invest here, but they would not do so under a ULP Government! Is it that Mr. Eustace could not have discerned that blatant insult from those investors to himself and the people of SVG on a whole? If foreigners want to invest in SVG, could they tell us who must compose the membership of our Government? Didn’t we get rid of colonial rule since 1979? So many years after Independence, what sort of backwardness are we still hearing from Mr. Eustace? The last question for him is: ‘Suppose, Sir, that the NDP had won the elections (God forbid!), and your so called investors had set up shop here, and immediately after the NDP won, some unforeseen political circumstance had made it inevitable for the ULP to form the Government, is it that these ‘great men’ were going to pull out and leave SVG in a mess?” You have to think before you talk, Sir. Now you would see why the ‘SENSIBLE’, ‘WELL FED’, ‘WELL SHELTERED’, and ‘HARDWORKING’ people, mainly from the rural sections of SVG made sure that such spineless exhibition in leadership did not take over the reins of Government in SVG. (This last sentence is specifically for Ken John; so that he can see the reason why we voted Labour – not because we are ‘impoverished’)!

With respect to the silly talks of cheating in the last elections, the people of SVG would like to inform the NDP opposition and their lackeys that we know that there was no cheating, and, therefore, urge them to take their licks and move on – they must blame themselves and no one else. They have never shown the nation that they have ever been ready to genuinely represent us. Instead, what they did in the past ten years was to go globetrotting outside of SVG on exaggerated and distorted issue missions – their main aim to besmirch the reputation of our country indelibly. During that time, too, they went to Parliament when they pleased, to manufacture all sorts of bizarre issues that they thought would have incited social unrest, expecting the Vincentian public to back them in their country- destabilization maneuvers, in search of political power; but they failed. Their attitude then was clear. That is, ‘If they were not in power, they could not do anything worthwhile for the progress of the country’! I hope the results of the recent elections would change them for the better. As I think that the ‘Education Revolution’ will make Vincentians more alert and wary of all the traditional political nonsense that they practice; and our people will learn and always vote not to perpetuate such backward and mean-spirited political malady.

I join, therefore, with all Vincentians in requesting Prime Minister Gonsalves to extend a hand of love and friendship to the NDP opposition and their band of investors, with an invitation to come and invest here in SVG, and let us all work together for the betterment of our nation. If they refuse, instead of ‘the ULP administration forced out of power within one year’, as they said, we would ask every one of them (the NDP Parliamentarians) to resign within that said period.

Randolf Perkins

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