By Helena Edwards

If you are an honest individual, you will admit that St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) is suffering from a “brain drain” phenomenon. It is not rocket science to understand that the smartest people will migrate to more developed countries with more available resources that can offer them more individual successes. None of us will sacrifice ourselves to save another if by doing so it means that we lose our own existence.

Those of us who have had the opportunity to fly on an airline know that on every flight, just before take off, the flight attendant issues the emergency briefing in which passengers are instructed to secure their own oxygen masks first before they attend to others. So a mother traveling with a helpless 2-month-old infant is instructed to secure her own oxygen mask — life support system — before she straps an oxygen mask onto her baby. This is not selfish. This is a sensible approach for survival.

One must be able to stand firmly on his own feet before he can help to lift another individual up to stand on his feet. It is in this vein, I want to appeal to Vincentians who want to see change in SVG to petition the government to change the laws to allow individuals born in SVG who have become citizens of other countries to vote and hold office in SVG.

There are many advantages that are to be gained by this simply change within SVG. Individuals who live outside the country would be more free to participate in the government and other leadership positions within the country. These individuals have acquired great training, knowledge and experience that can help to rapidly develop SVG. The country is stagnated. It needs new approaches to move forward. But under the current laws, no sane individual would risk sacrificing the comforts and privileges he or she has living outside of the country to relocate to SVG.

For example, healthcare in SVG is not on par with that in the United States. If a person who currently lives a comfortable life within the United States was to surrender his sovereignty to the United States and relocate to SVG was to become sick during the time he or she is working to help develop the country, he or she would experience sever hardship and possible death without the same levels of medical care he or she had in the United States. So, it would be a lose-lose scenario in that the person would die and the country would still be underdeveloped.

More individuals would be willing to invest time and money in SVG if they could hold onto the insurance of their citizenships in other foreign countries. It is unreasonable to demand that someone “cuts off his nose to spite his face”. This is essentially what one would be doing if he was to surrender his comfortable life in his adopted country to help develop his birth country without any insurance should something go awry. We live in an unpredictable world and so we all need to have insurance.

SVG is not like the United States with great resources so the concerns of Vincentians can’t be that a Vincentian citizen by birth who is a naturalised American citizen would betray SVG. There is nothing to betray. If America wants SVG as part of its empire, it can simply take it. SVG has absolutely no way to stop America from taking it, so some sort of collusion or betrayal of SVG to America is absolutely foolish.

This approach that I describe is not new. American Jews have dual citizenship in Israel and the United States. American Jews are able to vote in Israel’s elections. Anyone who has one ounce of common sense knows that because of this the Israeli lobby is the greatest political force in the United States and Israel benefits greatly from this.

The idea that the government of SVG would push to legalise citizenship by investment, whereby foreign nationals can pay a fee and become citizens who can vote and hold office in SVG, but Vincentian nationals by birth who hold naturalised citizenships in other countries are barred from voting and holding office is absolutely egregious and repressive.

Surely, a Chinese citizen born in China who has acquired citizenship in SVG cannot have more loyalty and good intention towards SVG than me whose family have a generational birth legacy.

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 news.iwitness@gmail.com.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Few things here , two major problems see that holds our beautiful country back. The lazy mindset of some if not most locals, with the expectation that gov must provide everything for them, same as most may live freely in their grandparents or relatives houses mostly rent free without paying any bills. Our once envy for by other islands low crime rate is becoming more and more out of control and is in a state of emergency and needs drastic measures to get under control and reduce.

    You don’t have to give up residency in your foreign country or need to hold any political office to be a embassedor or have an active influence in your home country SVG. I can testify to that.

    Healthcare may not be the best and need some improvement but from some standpoint I do not envy the USA system. In SVG equipment is scase and medicine needed due impart to the US government ostracizing certain countries due to their affiliation with socialist and rigid governments that do agree with their policies.
    But in most instances in SVG if you have a few bucks doing simple procedures and getting minimal Healthcare can be achieved. Not so easy in USA though for example cleaning your teeth is hundreds in cash vs few dollars by a local dentist in SVG. Also now in the US yiu are penalized for not having health care, I can go on and on with the disadvantages.

    Yes some of us may want to leave for other opportunities overseas but their are also many that are doing worst here in the US and regret their decisions so leaving don’t always negate to doing better. I believes what traveling does is show us different perspectives and how to be more self sufficient and work harder because nobody gives you anything like in SVG.

    If I had to choose between living abroad and SVG I will choose SVG handdown without thinking but thank the experience abroad for putting me in a different mindset and enabling me to be a better person skills wise because of the challenges we face here .
    Teach our kids and next generation not to look for jobs but to create jobs and be owners not lease holders.

    Not taking anything away from this article, just my perspective.

  2. Furthermore the world has changed dramatically compared to decades ago..
    Now one can work or do business remotely via computer. E. Commerce is growing at rapid rate and allows an individual to do business by E. Banking. E. Trade allows entrepreneurs to shop for goods far far across the globe.
    Traveling isn’t necessarily like before because cable TV and the internet open our minds and eyes to new ideas and educate us on how to implement them.

    So getting back to my original point our minds and how we think is our biggest setback that keeps us stagnant. Plus laziness
    Pertaining to a specific law as mentioned above there’s a potential to have conflict of interest in different ways such as officials using this advantage for the self-serving goals and enrichment among others corruption, even though that somewhat may already have existed.

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