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EDITOR: I learnt from the Editorial of the Searchlight of May 22nd, that the PRYME Programme, an initiative of the Government of SVG, which provides grant-funding to entrepreneurs, awarded the first $600,000 of the $4.85 million budgeted for this year.

Appreciation for the concept behind the PRYME programme was expressed, as the Editorial was impressed, that the effort sought to boost the micro-business sector and get our people to work, especially given the sense of entitlement which seems to be growing in some quarters in SVG.

The Editorial noted, “It is an attitude that the responsibility for one’s welfare lies with someone else, some institution some government and that no matter what we get, we ought to demand more”.

I wonder really, if there is a large percentage of the population who are so oriented, that they do not appreciate the help which they are offered in times of crisis, or is it that the pervasive sufferings of the people over the last several decades has not yet reached the sensitivity of some of the more privileged among us.

a) The editorial informed, that “over the years we have enjoyed the fruits of the efforts of various governments in disaster management and building resilience. The current government has much to its credit in this regard and must be congratulated for its leadership in times of crisis”.

I think that on that score, the editorial of the Searchlight has been overly generous to the present government, for in recent months, I have been noting the pervasive “wutless neglect” of our infrastructure a glimpse of which can be seen, at the back of the properties of the St Vincent Grammar School and the Girls’ High School. These two institutions have been for more than 100 years featured prominently in the life of this country, so that today, many of the responsible positions in the management of the country are held by graduates of these two institutions. What is exhibited there then is an absence of pride, not an appreciation of the fact, that the environment plays a significant role in the healthy development of the young people who are enveloped by it.

Indeed this high commendation of the current ULP Government by the Editorial of the Searchlight is out of harmony with the well documented exhibition of mismanagement, when in 2009 they refused to act to address the issue of the BLACK-SIGATOKA disease which resulted in the crippling of the Banana Industry. It cannot be forgotten that these are the same people who in 2001 said they were going to revitalize the Agriculture sector and it was on the basis that they won the support of the farming community. They have proven to be untrustworthy and have left the farmers scrunting!

This PRYME programme which is landed by the Editorial of the Searchlight, while the recipients may indeed feel grateful for these grants the hoped for development and success of these targeted micro-enterprises will not be realised in the short to medium term. They need a strong local economy to “feed on”.

Have we forgotten the hundreds of small business which were spread throughout the rural communities in the days of vibrant agriculture when bananas brought money into the economy every week?

In those days the farmers were busy earning money which they spent on modernising their homes, educating their children and enjoying their lives. They did not depend on untrustworthy politicians!

Some questions which are pertinent today are:

a) Has the Ralph Gonsalves ULP Government been faithful to the promises they made in 2001?

b) Where are the Cross-Country Roads?

c) Where are the feeder roads?

d) Why are we not yet exporting Bananas as St. Lucia, Dominica and Jamaica are doing?

e) What about that $1.9 million of that school repair programme not yet accounted for? It could be used for addressing the unhealthy situation at the Girls’ High School and the St. Vincent Grammar School. That unhealthy situation has been persisting for too long!

The lesson from the stresses of the COVID-19 for us in SVG, is that every conscientious citizen should stand in the line-up against the subtle dis-empowering of our people via disingenuous schemes by politicians whose documented un-trustworthiness over the last several decades testifies that the pursuit of their personal agenda takes precedence over the welfare of the people of this agriculture oriented society.

Leroy Providence