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Investment malpractice in a small Caribbean island

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Stone naked, without any visible protective policy garment, we lay chunks and morsels of our tender nation on the altar in broad daylight for the pouncing claws and jaws of foreign investors to consume, while cameras are on duty and pliant crowds lick their lips. It is shameless pornography. We cannot be ignorant to what they do, our porn clients. They have left us with aborted fetuses and stillborn infants before, and still we solicit, like pimps, their kind with our unprotected offerings. On occasion, we have intervened early to clean ugly mess in their own dealings, or even turn a blind eye to their open misconduct. We know that this slackness in policy is disgraceful and that it is our responsibility to close the porn-brothel that our country is becoming. We are the ones to stop our mercenary, porn peddling leaders at this point, before they turn us all into cheap porn fodder.

LESSONS WE HAVE LEARNED

Three shadowy investors who promised great developments were Dr Rolla, with the Ottley Hall development project, then Mr Nicko Debenham, with a project to cultivate 5,000 acres in Armajaro cocoa, and recently Mr David Ames, who started to build, with money that was not his, a fictitious Buccament sepulchre on sand. After two governments have invited with wide-open arms three investors who did not have the capacity or the integrity to carry through their projects, that is certainly a sign to the wise that more diligent examination of investors is needed before they consider any project and further, they must require more calculated conditions for the acceptance of the project. A close scrutiny of the three failed, grabbing investments would certainly unveil in each case, not just ‘who is to blame,’ but where the failures to protect the nation’s integrity took place, and what were the early signs of project decay. Forensic analysis of the shyster project promisers would expose the failure of the pornographic approach to winning foreign investment in SVG. We would then be armed to develop new designs and new institutional arrangements for investment policy. It is too ‘Old School’ for us to place a busy Prime Minister to be the one to envision, research, framework, identify, locate and process the foreign investment network of practices leading to decisions. As we have seen and felt, our Prime Ministers can be fooled over and over again. The lesson from that fact is clear.

FROM LAND PORNOGRAPHY TO SUSTAINABLE LAND POLICY

The policy leaders who rely on pornography as a policy instrument declare themselves to possess a political pathology. It makes them unfit to design a nation building development process. Their mindset drives them to sell out assets for short-term and shallow ‘gains’. What SVG needs now in place of this ‘Hurry-Hurry’ precocious come and get it offering of our valued coastal zones and even our volcano-based energy resources, is a graded inventory of our nation’s development assets in territory. Bearing in mind that ours is not the only generation that must make investment decisions about beaches and the like, we must leave more of the territory for future Vincentians to develop. Imagine the arrogance of the Mt Wynne development investor in expressing interest in Buccament and Peter’s Hope, as well as Mt. Wynne. What is worse is the Prime Minister’s echoing with approval this one man’s desire to capture such slices of our coastal areas! Really, Prime Minister, your depravity astounds me.

Along with the caring, developmental inventory of our land and marine resource, as our own Professor O’Garro of the UWI has suggested, we must prepare a long-term, sustainable selection of land use for the nation to recognize and appreciate. National agricultural assets must be protected, housing and habitat areas must be planned, recreational and heritage sites are an essential factor, dedicated tourism locations will be located and given time ‘zones’. Some of us remember Prime Minister Mitchell’s unilateral and disgraceful abolition of the Green corridor in Kingstown. Yes, a national and constitutional consensus on land development must take precedence over a Prime Minister’s whim and fancy. Pornography as policy must done, and in this decade.

A simple query we can examine is this: Q. Who invites a stranger to sleep in the bedroom with his/her family, without the most thorough and diligent examination and caution and limits? A. A mercenary pimp and home wrecker. We will no longer tolerate such bold-faced spread-out of SVG for whosoever will to come.

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