New Democratic Party candidate for Central Leeward, Ben Exeter says that the COVID-19 pandemic has awakened many Vincentians to what the party has been saying for the past five years: “technology and food security are essential in both the competitiveness and the survival of St. Vincent and the Grenadines”.
Speaking at the party’s virtual meeting last Thursday, Exeter said the NDP views technology as one of the great equalisers.
“We will utilise technology to leapfrog into the 21st century. We can’t afford to take time and catch up. We are too far behind for that,” he said.
Exeter, an information technology consultant, said integration of technology is needed in SVG’s schools, government, and health sectors.
“Not only will this bring efficiency and growth — it will also bring transparency and accountability, opportunity and prosperity.
The use of technology will assist us in creating opportunities for our fisherfolk and farmers that enable them to be competitive in the modern practice of fishing and farming.
“I know it’s hard to picture how these two things work together; one requires you to be hands-on, or get dirty, while the other seems to keep you indoors or at a desk.
“But that was yesterday. Today we carry technology in our back pockets. The power of the mobile phone and the applications that it houses could open up a whole new world of possibilities for farming and fishing in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Exeter told the meeting, which was broadcast on social media and radio.
He said technology creates the ability to keep tabs on the weather, the demand for crops or fish, the ability to partner with providers, to aggregate crops and sell to the local tourism market or export.
“What would that mean for the families of our fisherfolk and farmers? What would that mean for youth who could be trained in the technology and employed by our producers? What would that mean for food security for our people, especially if another pandemic were to reach our shores?” Exeter said.
“It means job creation. It means flourishing farms and a vibrant fishing industry; catching, packaging, selling, exporting — all from Central Leeward, a renewed, revived, Central Leeward,” said Exeter, who is making his second bid to win Central Leeward for the NDP.