The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not represent the opinions or editorial position of I-Witness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected]

What do we really want?

I pose this question because I feel that there is a need for a serious conversation about our future. Are you satisfied with the current arrangement that runs our government affairs? Should anything be changed? How do you feel about the battles between ULP and NDP? When you are at the rallies dressed in your party colours, do you feel that your representatives will address your concerns honestly? Should the church have a role in government? What about the Senate? Should senators have to run for election? Or, should we do away with the Senate? How do you feel about a Senator having more power than an elected MP of the Opposition? I think we have a lot to address here. So I have been thinking of a system that may serve us better than the present arrangement. I will call it social democracy.

It will be developed from the understanding of what our resources are and how we develop what we have for our benefit and the greater Caribbean as a whole. Our resources are (1) our people (2) our land (3) our waters and (4) the aesthetic beauty of our region.

The system I am proposing is not expected to happen overnight but will evolve over time. If we can collectively agree that what the colonisers left us with have taken us to a fork in the road. We can choose to continue on and experience hopelessness, wastefulness, saddled in perpetual debt. In a sense lost from our true potential. Or, we can bear to the right into unknown territory with the understanding that we can’t be lost forever and we have a GPS.

At the root of our social democracy is integrity legislation. It is broad and will cover our conduct as a people. In essence it will define who we are. This is a big conversation and must involve everyone. It must address the conduct of our prime minister whoever that might be, all elected officials, senators, judges and magistrates, police officers, heads of governmental departments, school principals and must guarantee equal rights and justice for every man, woman and child. It must protect our lands from illegal sale and exploitation by foreigners, must protect our fisheries and the environment, it must address the conduct of election officials to ensure a free and fair electoral process. If you feel that I have left out anything, please enter it because this is what this conversation is all about.

Our land is our mother and she will feed us with every ounce of her milk if we honour and respect her. When she asked us to clean up our rooms and we don’t, then she does a thorough cleaning as we have just witnessed.

Our ambition is to grow an abundance of every kind of food to be the breadbasket of the Caribbean and beyond. There are already good things happening in agriculture. Farmers are learning how to test the soil and how to amend it for optimum production. The offshoot of food growing is food manufacturing. For example, from mangoes we can have mango juice, dried mango, canned mango, mango jelly, mango ice cream and an endless assortment of products. The same goes for anything that we grow to boost our exports. If I grow herbs, I could create my own label and market to supermarkets, other islands, US, UK, Canada, etc., and health food stores. The possibilities are endless.

Our fisheries must be protected and returned to our people and we must invest in proper equipment. The rivers must be cleaned up to encourage the crayfish, mullets and chee-chee to flourish and the rivers must be protected with environment laws. Out of fisheries, we can meet our needs and export instead of import.

Now our fourth resource is catered to tourism and the hospitality industry. We must be fully aware that we live in paradise and paradise is not cheap to outsiders. We cannot afford to have foreigners living in our Grenadines, doing good business and not paying their fair share of taxes. This unfair practice must end now and we must hold our politicians to it until we can get integrity legislation in place. Our best lands must never be sold to foreign investors. Instead we should lease the land and set the terms of the lease agreement so that we can get our share of whatever comes to our shores. Recently, I have been searching for a seven-day cruise to SVG. Nothing except for one that originates in Barbados, and it is very expensive. The point is that we are not promoting our islands as aggressively as we should. When we attract tourists to our shores we should have all of or towns looking fresh and clean. Our people should be trained in hospitality, efficient service and courteous behaviour. This is why our education system must be geared towards the four resources that I have mentioned. Some of the degrees you have now will not be able to help you even if you travel abroad.

Integrity legislation will be our declaration of independence. Even though it is 34 years late, it is still on time. In it we must have the ability to recall anyone in high office if they abuse or violate our Constitution and we won’t have to wait for the next election to get the rid of them. Mr. Eustace has mentioned that if the NDP gets the reins of power, that he would have an all-inclusive government. I am not sure that the political maturity is in place for such a thing to happen, but it will be a welcomed move in the right direction. The PM, on the other hand, is avoiding integrity legislation by all means necessary. That is understandable considering all of the accusations that were brought against him and that he took all of us into communist ALBA as if we are one of them without consulting anyone. This man is prepared to hold hostage to poverty and disease the ignorant and those that are stuck in the little box that he built for them. It must be noted that Canada has integrity legislation that is limited in its scope and they function fairly well except in the areas that the law did not address. We must cover every base to the point that politicians will not waste time with empty promises but rather have to come up with creative ideas to improve our lives in order to get your vote.

The USA does not have integrity legislation and the result is a corrupt system where money has circumvented the people vote and nothing can get done to benefit the people.

Recently I gave you the article “Debt=Death”.

It is simply designed to help you get out of debt. You can improvise however you wish. I also mentioned that the massive debt that the government racked up will burden all of us forever. It is simply too large for our population and when most of our revenue goes to pay just the interest on the debt then everything else suffers. No money for human development, none for healthcare, none for infrastructure and so on. When the borrowed money start to dwindle we will see increased taxes. The end result is human suffering, even death. Don’t be surprised if the trip to the Vatican was designed to tie us up with another loan from the Vatican Bank. If that happens, you are one step closer to Chucky and his son moving in to SVG to bust you up. People do not hesitate to bring your personal debt under control and stop paying interest to the banks. When the IMF and the World Bank come to take control, there will be massive lay-offs and cut backs to all kinds of services. If your debt is under control you will be able to ride the tide.

The PM is already using the current disaster as an excuse to borrow more money and seeking to increase the budget without knowing what aid we might be receiving or even to put some austerity measures in place to see us through this crisis. All hands on board is what is needed now. I have also observed that he never mention that he has asked for help from the USA government. That is an ALBA thing but I have already sent an E-mail to President Obama seeking assistance for SVG. Every disaster is an opportunity for us to do better and to think on a higher level. My condolences go out to all who suffer great lost especially the lost of love ones. May god bless and strengthen you in these troubled times.

All of the issues in this article is for conversation in schools, on the street, among friends and enemies, Parliament and between you and your elected officials. I will like a total involvement and remember that we can disagree without being disagreeable.

Mr. Admin, if you will, can you please bring back to the front page the articles by Marlon Bute “We Must Own Ourselves” and Maxwell Haywood’s “Reflections on challenges of an Independent SVG”?

Lance

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

10 replies on “What do we really want?”

  1. LANCE, thank you for submitting such an in depth and learned article or letter. Also thank you Mr Chance for publishing such an informative and useful piece.

    I just hope those ULP supporters in the Diaspora learn something from it.

    Lance it is difficult to get integrity legislation passed by a group of people who have no integrity whatsoever.

  2. Dear Lance, I am responding only because you have encouraged me to do so. I feel that although you have some very good ideas and points you, as many, have missed the mark. To start from the beginning, there is no such thing as “Democracy” in the world. A socialist republic is about as close as you can get and nowhere throughout the course of history anywhere has the intersection of church and state ever worked out well. The best you can hope for is that every man has a vote and that every seat in office has a short term limit. A wise man once said “politicians and baby diapers should be changed regularly for the same reasons”. Simply put they tend to soil over time. Everything in the world is based on comparison and if you haven’t actually seen or experienced specific places and cultures the best you can do is base it upon what you have been told. Who do you trust in the world? Governments? Media? The people of the Caribbean are their greatest resource but they have been mislead and repressed for a long time. Not so much by their own leaders but by the cross of cultures that were left behind. Europe left the islands to do their own thing with 1970’s educational structure and support. They trained the people not in “service” but in slave labor. Europe was relied upon for their market base and primary cash inflow. In the past 20 plus years Europe has simply ignored the Caribbean. Buying less, taxing more and by not supporting overall educational advancement opportunities. By having business dealings with countries that the US and Canada won’t talk too means your support from them is limited. Also keep in mind that North America used to be “THE” primary market for tourism in the world and now it’s China. You can spout parties left and right and in the end it’s collective, progressive idea’s that will lead the way. So lets address issues. Everyone keeps saying “take over the fishing” and I say stop and look around. Mexico stopped fishing and started giving tourist opportunities to fisherman. 1 boat that spends $200 on fuel and 8 hours time to produce 100 pounds of fish, sold at $9 per pound doesn’t compare to the exact same boat loaded with 30 tourists each paying $400 USD for a 4 hour “whale watching” or snorkeling trip. Same $200 in fuel. Two trips a day. You do the math. Better than that, the reefs and seas that were being striped 10 years ago are now coming back contributing to a healthier ocean and environment. Educational repression. The internet these days levels the playing field so to speak. A well written letter from a “bushman” looks exactly the same as a letter written by a college graduate. On-line opportunities have made the world smaller but the Caribbean was again skipped over and now is functioning at a 10 year deficit at best. Now lets talk manufacturing. It’s actually a bank issue. Banks in the Caribbean don’t lend to people with vision. They lend to government. People can’t get loans to start private business so the people look to the governments, they get involved in what everyone agrees should be private enterprise to begin with and then when they can’t produce a profit right away, people react poorly toward their governments. It’s a terrible downward spiral. Governments need to lean on the banks and encourage them to invest in their own people and ideas. Lend the liquid assets needed to start manufacturing and you will provide a self encouraging economy. The businesses supply jobs, taxes get paid and the banks make their “fair” interest. Everyone gains. Now lets discuss probably the biggest issue in St.Vincent and that tourism and your mislead ideas of “selling out”. First lets just start with the idea that for the last 20 years St.Vincent & the Grenadines has done more advising and supporting of privately owned Grenadine properties then they have for the motherland by far. Lets also remember that most of Mustique, almost all the businesses in Bequia, Palm Island, and many shops in Union Island are all owned by “foreign” investors. They have for the last 20 years provided more cash flow into the country than anything or anyone else. Mustique Company is still the largest employer in SVG. More people in the world know about Bequia than St.Vincent because these exact same people took it upon themselves to start their own tourism association and do the work that should have been done by the SVG associations on their own. While other countries in the Caribbean are trying to encourage outside investments you stand on the idea of slamming the door closed. Remember I said it’s all about comparisons in the world. Yes SVG is a beautiful place, but so is Martinique, St. Marten, Bora-Bora, Hawaii, Tahiti, etc…. Bottom line, get over yourself, your not “all that”. You have to compete. You have to sell yourself as a destination worth going to and give people a reason to come. Now lets address that. You have been mislead again. People around seem to think that visitors only want 5 star resorts and white sand beaches and fancy restaurants. Well I’m here to enlighten you. People can get that on any island in the world. Most of these travelers have seen and done that. Most realize it’s very “sterile” and disassociated from the culture and people. What people really truly want is just simply what’s real. They are thrilled to interact with the locals, eat the local food and find our powder-soft black sands. It’s all in how it’s presented and sold. We know how good it is. Antigua makes 98% of it’s gross revenue on tourism. Barbados 85%. Aruba 90%. SVG 13.5%. We have a firm hold on second to last place on tourism in the Caribbean. Lack of advertising to North American markets, South American markets and Asian markets have us ions behind. We are held captive by Liat. Soon to be fixed by the International airport we hope. Lack of encouraged outside investment opportunities mixed into this toxic soup is only pushing SVG farther to the back of the pack. Lastly lets all be real for a minute a remember that every country in the world operates with a “deficit”. The world runs on credit. No-one ever repays their debt. The last time countries tried to re-call debit it created a world depression. Stop counting and stressing over it and just remember to control it and try your best to allocate and budget. If we choose to address issues directly and we study the mistakes and advancements of others we can’t help but move in a positive direction.

  3. Lance. You are very much on point. Our problems in st.vincent started from the dismantling of our family structure through forieign ideas and culture. We do not have brave leaders who see and respect our people and institutions. This so because the leaders of both party know that there are no repercussions for there reprehensible behavior. Therefore, they conduct themselves without care or concern for their constituents. Integrity is learned from from family upbringing. Since we lost our family structure through foreign media, how then do you expect them to have integrity. Like any strong family a nation must have integrity at its core, then and only then are we going to move in the direction of integrity. Let’s, hope that our experience and faith take us to higher ground.

  4. Here Lance goes again with his half-researched writings. Here are a few ill-advised recommendations from Lance.

    1. Implement Austerity Measures. Lance missed the historical happenings in Greece and Spain at the onset of austerity measures. Are you asking the government to cut back on essential services in a dampened economic environment?

    2. Lance asked the question “Should the church have a role in politics?” I laughed uncontrollably! A person asking this question, even metamorphically, should not be writing on this site.

    3. Lance said the USA does not have integrity legislation. Lance, please do some research. The USA does have integrity legislation! The geniuses that be came up with a back-door entrance called “lobbying”.

    4. Lance made reference to “Debt = Death”. I asked Lance to research the difference between debt and deficit. His reference to the article shows that he can care less whether or not he learns something new.

    I can go on and on. However, it is important that we research and think about what we are going to write.

    Kenton, you are supposed to be a very rich man. Do you know that you are sitting on a gold mine? Have these guys such as Lance and Peter Binose do some research before publication. They are brassing-down your gold.

  5. Perspective, Yo remember when me and you used to play football in the school yard and when we done we used to go down by the shop and buy heavybread and mauby. Then we used to sit on the wall and reason about all kinda thing. Them was good days and we had love and respect for one another. Now I am yo nabor down the block and everytime I try to talk to yo, you would drop your head or look into yo smart phone and pretend as if yo never see me. Ah know that yo don’t remember me. But now we have a chance to reason before the world yo insult me and say I aint “all ah dat”. Oh, my bad yo was talking bout all of SVG. But why would you disrespect yoself and all vincies in front ah so many people. We are not Mexicans and we don’t care what Mexico do with dey fishermen. Truth be told most of them are in the streets begging tourists because they have polluted the waters to the point where fish refuse to live there. Then Deficit is the big word that Grenada and Barbados used to used. Now. they are saying that they are warning us but we just aint listening. One of these days yo must come home and leh we drink a strongrum or smoke a spliff and reason the way we used to.

  6. Vincy Person, You are always critical of everyone but you never have anything to offer. So what do you really want for SVG?

  7. Vincy Person, You have a God-given mind to think for yourself and create for yourself. Instead, you choose to research the teachings of the enemy of the people of the Earth. They are the same ones who gave the world the Financial Meltdown. At the same time they stole all of the wealth that the Black People of America had accumulated since Martin Luther King was assassinated. They are not just after individuals but also Governments. So they give us the foolishness that you have researched so much to the point that you accept it hook, line and sinker as if it is something great. You have mentioned Greece and Spain but did you ever ask them what deficit did for them or to them. You don’t even have to go that far, Just go to Grenada and if you don’t believe them then go to Barbados. Tell me why President Obama has been reducing the deficit every year since he took office.
    You should read the article on IWN by the Thusian Institute for Religious Freedom and tell the people if you think that they should stay out of Government business. What about the Religious Right and the Jewish lobby in America. Should they stay out of Government. Laugh at that. Do you really think that you can convince people that the USA have Integrity Legislation. Lastly, You seem to have a grudge against Kenton Chance and you are also very coveteous and self righteous. If you owned IWN, only people who agree with you would be able to write anything. Get over your dictatorial self. You cant stand people like Peter and Myself because we are here to expose the wicked.

  8. Well I am not sure I ever heard of Lance before this article. I certainly have never heard of Vincy Person or Tom Sayers or uncle Thom or any of those people who write in reply to this letter.

    I think the whole thing from author to comments is a conspiracy to write nonsense by ULP Marxist collaborators.

    I think the whole thing is a smoke screen article to divert our attention from the disgraceful behaviour prior during and since the flooding of areas in Saint Vincent by this Marxist regime.

    Has anyone ever seen, read of or heard of this group of people before?

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