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].

I am a recent visitor to St. Vincent, and after being hyped to see what this country had to offer, I ended up finding myself starving for more and also begging to leave. The SVG mainland has so much more to be desired and a lot more that can be improved.

I can start with the current airport (E.T. Joshua), on arrival, the room looks bleak, lacks a duty-free and also any form of ambiance that seems welcoming. Yes, persons can argue that it’s an old building and a newer, better airport is on its way, but a little renovation can go a long way. The check-in area is another story altogether. How can one expect a large amount of tourist to fit on two wooden benches in a lobby that is not air conditioned? It feels like this was purposefully done to create a need for the new airport, which I hope addresses such things.

The roads and obstacle courses are another thing I seriously had to ponder about as fear of wrecking my rental was constantly on my mind. There were more potholes than roads, excluding the Windward side of the island, which seemed better kept. The Leeward Highway rehabilitation project had me a little worried as the roads, in fact are now narrower and bumpier than before. The fact that tourists travel this particular road to access the Buccament Bay Resort isn’t most comforting to think about, as the road may feel like riding rough waters in an old ship.

In Kingstown, the scenery is also that of disappointment. Vendors crowd the sidewalks forcing you to walk in the narrow streets, buildings look dilapidated, stores lack variety or a proper shopping experience and the language barrier is strong. Asking for directions was quite a task as persons with their thick dialect left me confused and further lost. As a country striving for a high visitor count in the coming months why is there not a shopping mall, more reputable restaurant chains or even a nightclub or nightlife at least? The biggest shocker was a closed KFC.

I found myself in bed at 9 p.m. almost every night during my stay, bored and watching my friend, the TV. Other forms of entertainment seemed useless as all the radio stations play basically the same music (no form of variety whatsoever). I must admit the high-speed Internet by that Flow company made my stay a lot more bearable.

In closing, this country has a lot of room for improvement. Listening to some of the locals, I can hear the desperation in some of their voices for change or at least more. I hope by my next visit that someone takes some initiative to upgrade the country to a tourism hub that persons long to be, rather than long to leave.

The Outsider

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].

3 replies on “SVG from the outside looking in”

  1. C. ben-David says:

    Sorry, but this post doesn’t pass the smell test because it seems to have been been written by a local pretending to be a foreign visitor. Not that I contest any of the assertions, save the one devaluing our rich creole/patois dialect. My own objection is that too many teachers are using dialect to instruct out student when they should be teaching using the Queen’s English.

    Our school system should teach both — in terms of vocabulary, grammer, spelling, etc. — but in the proper contexts. We are lucky to be a bilingual society but must teach our students when, where, and how to use the two rich dialects.

  2. Dear Sir or Madam, I find your analysis and observations most interesting and also very worrying.
    I hope you will be able to return at some time after there is a change of government. Things must get better because they cannot get worse and the current government have destroyed the infrastructure through lack of maintenance. They build houses that fall down and fall apart. They fail to control rivers by failing to build defenses, directly causing the deaths of citizens.
    With the new bridge over the Rabaca dry river falling apart, and the obvious state of the airport at terminal buildings at Arnos Vale, it will not take long for the new terminal building to fall into disrepair and start to rot in the cruel sea blast on the inadequate materials with which it is built.

    I remember an old business man saying to me in the 1970’s “They are not ready yet” I never forgot those words, and still we are not ready yet.

    Please accept my apologies for your bad experiences, “we are not ready yet”.
    Peter

  3. I did not think that the writer was “devaluing our rich creole/patois dialect” He was merely pointing out that it is not understandable to the outsider/tourist. If you want to expand tourism you do need to be able to speak in something approaching standard English to be able to communicate. And yes, what is called Standard English is the language as spoken in a small part of England, namely the South east, the home of London the governmental and administrative centre. Dialects are by definition not usually understandable by outsiders. If you go to Yorkshire in north eastern England, or Somerset in the south west you will find English speakers that you too will not understand. I am reminded of a story of a Jamaican and a Cockney Londoner trying to talk to each other until the Jamaican in exasperation burst out “Cha Man!. Taawk English mek mih unerstan”. I am from Guyane and I find it difficult at times to undeerstand what the young man who works with me is saying. And I guarantee you that if you visited Guyana you too would not understand more than half of what some speakers are saying. Try this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OV9mZxXdbU and tell me how much of the conversation between the two people in the van who are filming the traffic jam you can understand.

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