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Elma Gabriel is a Vincentian community activist based in Toronto, Canada.

By Elma Gabriel

There is a saying “come see me and come live with me”. Therefore, my observation of a three-week visit to St. Vincent and the Grenadines is only an expressed experience of that period, since the last time I visited was eight years ago: great scenic presentations, a prosperous and fertile island where there is no limit to business opportunities for both local and foreign investors.

As a people, our approaches have always been to put our best foot forward with the knowledge that the first impression is the most viable in bringing positive insight to what could be attained. The scope and infrastructure of today have provided us windows to expand on our creativity with the potential for both large and small business initiatives. We are surely in the developmental mode at a time when other large developed countries are boarding their trade potentials within our Caribbean boundaries.

Nevertheless as we all will agree, it is almost impossible for any visitors not to have experienced the on-going political choruses throughout the island: one side, the other side and so on. As the visitor, my only role was to listen, empathize and or positively encourage, while embracing the many dialogues related to the Toronto Star headline “SVG – Is this Caribbean idyll the worst place in the world to be a woman?” This is a matter that cannot be tossed under the carpet but must be dealt with as a cultural imperil, especially within our Ontario community; a shortcoming made obvious due to the on-going struggles to the acceptance of female development in leadership within the main SVG Ontario community. However it is my belief that “the perception of today will only stand still if we refuse to embrace the possibilities of tomorrow”.

I was most grateful to have visited several of the infrastructures such as the Rabaca Bridge and to confirm that it is wide enough for two trucks to pass at the same time. The roads to the Leeward and Windward are superb unlike the thruway to Mesopotamia, which is in dire need of repairs. However, what is clear is that there should be no food shortage on the island as throughout the country there are endless plantation developments; the market is prosperous with lovely fresh fruits and vegetables.

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While considering the warmth of our people, it is evident that in a place where the positive surely can overcome the negative, all depends on the focus. Yes, crime exists, as it does across the world, and the main reason for much emphasis to be placed on the motivation and education of the Police, including the renovation of the Central Police Station, such historical buildings should not be left in their current state. Your environment is a representation of your character. So is any town or city that hosts a prison at the focal point of its commercial district. Where are our urban planners? And while you are at it, please re-evaluate the market place building – the urban disaster of our times.

Cheers to the incredible Argyle International Airport development, a necessity to the advancement of any country, and a project long overdue. Dwight D Eisenhower says “Neither a wise nor a brave person lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him/her.” In life, if one waits for a time when everything is in his or her favor, a beginning will never transpire. Our labor of today is the greatest contribution that we can make for our children of the future.


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