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By Sheldon Bramble 

People who achieve high financial success in SVG work really hard for what they have in this country — the older generation in particular. Thankfully, there are also hardworking young people. And what they have did not appear overnight. The biggest businesses and more affluent citizens in SVG were once small businesses and poor people. 

TV and social media-programmed Vincentians are, sadly, going for the “symbols of wealth” instead true and stable financial success. Netflix and BET is not real life, even for many of the actors in those movies and won’t be anytime soon. It is a temporary feel-good escape and a false representation of realty and functional behaviour and success.  That’s why it is called entertainment.

The people who entertain us on these shows don’t necessarily have quality of life that is stable. Actually, many a time, these people’s real lives end quite badly. They programme viewers however to want the bling, the brand name on it, the glamour and the image at the expense of improving their actual standard of living. But those are only the symbols of the much better lasting and valuable life sensible Vincentians can have for themselves. 

If some of our people can’t study and be taught how to save properly and make wiser financial choices, they will be a slave to the appearances of being up to date but not moving at all up the ladder of financial success. But pride and envy are dictating too many of the moves. Others think it is unfair that others are getting ahead without recognising the long industrious road they travelled to get to where they are. Loans don’t always bring freedom but rather bondage many a time. There are other strategies to financial success. 

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This misunderstanding as to how wealth is acquired is seen in a kind of behaviour and attitude rampant among some of the outsourced delivery young men and unskilled workers that go to homes across SVG. Some of these persons will go to render service at a home that they deem belongs to well off people. They look at the car, the gate, the house and the cleaned yard. Then not long after, the “think hard” attitudes and looks will begin to emerge. Fairness moves out of focus and taking advantage and subtle threatening behaviours emerge. They can become insulting, and the jealousy will begin to take over and then there comes the greed. Where are Vincentians learning this from? Rather than admiring and thinking of how to improve their own situations we too often see a lack of ambition. 

The notion that the “haves” owe the “have nots” needs to be stamped out in this free country. This is also driving criminal behaviour. It leaves one to question why after generations after ancestors were freed from bondage, why people would still be a slave to just immediate self-gratification. This before using their head to day-by day work through a process of building finances and standard of living.

And then again on top of that, something else is happening. Easy movement in the region might be important for development and be an advantage for easy travel. But there is a new breed of non-nationals from nearby countries who are “hustling” aggressively on Vincentians and seem to want to bring a sort of hostile culture into our business practices — something which we never had here before. It is not the Vincy way. Because we so slow with our own game here at home and fighting down each other, and don’t want to put in the work to learn our skills properly and deliver, these sometimes “thiefing” and lying aggressive individuals are trying to run things here. Locals are learning this dysfunctional way of operating too and think it’s a way to do “smart” business. The public needs to be sensitized by this and declare it unacceptable. 

This also has implications for crime. Stopping crime is one thing. Offering a better and healthier alternative as prevention is another. Whose responsibility is it in SVG to inform and foster better money management among our lower income earners? We can’t wait on them. Government cannot do everything. It’s a cop out to blame them for everything. Everything cannot be and is not government’s fault. There is more to life than a government and “massa” blame story.

Can individuals in our society develop healthier ambition and see that all it takes is time and discipline to achieve what they never thought they could have? Where are the community groups to innovate these training programs? What can private sector businesses do as an outreach to the communities in SVG to educate in finances and businesses? Where is the vendor training program to add vision and value to these individuals? What are our TV and Radio stations doing to offer programs addressing how to build personal financial success fairly?

Poverty is a burden which affects all classes in society. The poor however must be given glimpses of a way out of their situation. This is the role for visionaries to play in a developing country such as SVG. 

There is no excuse for crime and envious behaviour. But if there are opportunities, why are they not recognized and grabbed? There is so much more ‘non-governmental’ work to be done. We are yet to see an unemployment and counselling public facility for individuals who instead of begging can find some answers. And because we get so easily beguiled by a fast-talking foreign accent, we sitting by and watching the erosion of our culture and nice ways. Don’t discriminate, but also don’t be a door mat to these out of place people. To earn our respect, they must respect our land and our way of life. The Vincentian way of life is worth preserving and respect in the region and internationally. We should not lose our valuable gracious and kind ways.

There also is an urgent need for free lancing repair men and other skilled and unskilled workers to have an ID showing that they are legitimate citizens or aliens and law abiding and certified to go into Vincentian households to lawfully and legitimately offer their services. We already have enough illegal guns in this country. When will a visit to repair my ‘fridge turn into a stick up or an argument? There must be some sort of accountability? Prevention is better than cure. RSPF and other authorities, please require these individuals to have a police record or be registered to do what they do. Their names should be in a database so that others who are up to shady hustling can be differentiated. Every householder needs to be able to see an ID and call a number to verify that they are safe to let into their yard, gate and properties. And, we cannot have a bunch of non-nationals just running around cutting yards, and posing as fixing this and that without knowing they are in country legitimately and accountable to someone. This also applies to all delivery drivers and workers. 

To our Vincy people with dreams of economic success and independence, honesty is always the best policy but in this real world, people will take advantage. We have to protect our valuable way of life while helping ourselves to rise. Accept government help with gratitude and thankfulness if your get that, but don’t get spoiled by it. It is not the end of your development but rather just the beginning. Find a legal and honest way to achieve financial success or ask someone to help you formulate a good plan. 

The opinions presented in this content belong to the author and may not necessarily reflect the perspectives or editorial stance of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].