The government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines will, this year, launch “Renewal @40”, “a wide-ranging and multifaceted programme of reflection and reinvention that ranges from the cultural to the infrastructural”.
The initiative coincides with the nation’s 40th anniversary of independence on Oct. 27.
In his budget address last week, Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves said that as SVG prepares to enter its fifth decade of post-independence development, “it is an appropriate time to reflect upon the path we have trod, celebrate our accomplishments, and refresh ourselves for the next stage of our independence journey.
Spread across the various ministries are a number of Renewal @40 initiatives, which include:
1. School and learning resource centres refurbishment $6m
2. Kingstown clean-up $1.7 million
3. Fort Charlotte and Bridge rehabilitation $872,600
4. Heritage Square rehabilitation $450,000
5. Development of Joseph Chatoyer National Park $436,000
6. Community Centre refurbishment $428,000
7. Renewal @40 Unit and programmes $400,000
8. History of St. Vincent & the Grenadines $75,000
9. Peace Memorial Hall rehabilitation $71,200
10. Garifuna and Diaspora homecoming event $65,000
Gonsalves said the responsibility for coordinating the diverse Renewal @40 activities will be reposed in a special unit “imbued with crosscutting organisational reach and authority”.
This unit, and its lead coordinator, will be tasked with driving the implementation of Renewal @40 policies and programmes.
“While, ideally, as many programmes as possible will culminate on or around our October 2019 Independence celebrations, not all Renewal @40 initiatives are envisaged as one-year, one-off activities. Renewal is a process, not an occasion. As such, Renewal @40 activities will necessarily extend beyond the 2019 calendar year,” Gonsalves said.
He, however, said his government expects the 40th Anniversary to be the catalyst for “a cleaner, better organised Kingstown; a general refreshing of public infrastructure; a reengagement with our Diasporas; a celebration of our outstanding citizens; and a renewed appreciation of our unique history and culture.”