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Kenrick Quashie. (iWN file photo)
Kenrick Quashie. (iWN file photo)
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By Kenrick Quashie

There seems to be an unquenchable quest to rewrite the political history of SVG. Sometimes, it’s as if all good things only came to SVG when the ULP came to office in 2001.

For example, the Best Village Competition. Conveniently, we no longer recall that there was a best village competition prior to 2001 and that, then politicians in opposition, discouraged participation. They claimed that the NDP government was passing on its environmental responsibility to citizens.

I think it is critical to understand that a competition like best village is why dengue wasn’t a major problem and no one died from it back then.

Also, this best village competition is a health and environment initiative and should be returned to that ministry. It’s not a tourism thing.  We ought not to be cleaning up and beautifying our communities for visitors. It’s for our health first then secondary to that, foreigners can enjoy it.

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It is a fact that more people are going to study as a result of the ULP’s policy on university education. This government has made considerable efforts to promote educational opportunities for Vincentians. Be that as it may, scholarships and studies abroad didn’t start in 2001.

Vincentians studied in Cuba, Venezuela, UWI, North America, Europe, Russia and Asia before March 2001. The narrative that only a few who were children of NDP parliamentarians and stalwarts went to university or received scholarships back then is untrue!

Most of the PS’s and ULP Parliamentarians since 2001 studied at university while the NDP was in office. The practice of paying economic cost for Vincentian students at UWI existed long before the ULP also.

The NDP built and started the SVG Community College. The practice of giving nursing students a monthly stipend existed before the ULP.

Student loans existed before March 2001. The ULP however, implemented the disadvantage Student Loan Programme.

It is the ULP’s policy that implemented universal secondary education in SVG. But prior to that, there was a seniors and effective multipurpose centre programme that equipped those who didn’t go to secondary school with employable skills. It even gave them a chance to enter secondary school at Form 2, 3, or even four through the School Leavers exam.

The ULP built the Rabacca Bridge but prior to that, the NDP took electricity north of the Rabacca Dry River — two very important projects that people at the time saw as almost impossible.

The NDP built and paved village roads that were mocked and called “Gouti tracks”. Now the ULP is doing the very same thing with all kinds of grand openings as if it’s a new phenomenon!

The ULP is refurbishing sporting and recreational facilities then closing them with heavy duty locks from the very people they are supposed to serve. We seemingly forgot that a lot of these facilities were first built through self-help initiatives by the communities for their benefit.

We ostracise the NDP for closing the sugar factory and fail to acknowledge that the sugar industry was failing and that the closing of it was a strategic economic move by the then NDP government: that the James Mitchell-led NDP wanted to build a local landholding class.  As a result of that policy, people in the rural communities were able to own lands, have their own farms and gain economic wealth to build their own homes, send their children to school, including university, and so on.

The NDP distributed the most lands to citizens across SVG. As a matter of fact, the NDP took lands from large landowners and made them available to ordinary Vincentians while the ULP came and took back some of those lands away from the small man to give to the rich and powerful.

Housing schemes existed long before 2001. Many of these housing schemes are unrecognisable because of how they have evolved.

We forgot that back then, many people were economically independent and didn’t live in a hand-to-mouth, handout economy where politicians determined if you worked, ate or lived.

Now, we think that the government has to provide everything! Politicians determine who gets jobs and if your business survives. Woe unto those you don’t support the government of this day.

Sadly, too many civic and senior civil servants are upholders of the untruths and party to the rewriting of our history that’s being done by the political leaders of the day! Too many of us who lived before 2001 and know the truth, sit back and allow it to be perpetuated.

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].

2 replies on “The fake narrative that SVG’s development began in 2001”

  1. Speak Kenrick. Speak. even the NDP not doing what you have so well put together. Many young peeople dont have that History of the pass. Its time to update the younger folks.

  2. It’s time we rise from our slumber and malaise, and be more proactive in getting our little island back on track and out of reverse gear! Thank you my brother for highlighting the dishonesty which pervades SVG, in the name of ” a few pieces of silver”.

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