THERE have been several modules for development throughout the years, some proven worthwhile and equally some have failed. Certain concepts that were justified yesterday may now have to be rethought, or adjusted, to relate to today’s needs.
For instance, not too long ago, Capitalism seemed to be the answer to all of yesterday’s needs, but it is clear now that we need to consider introducing some mild Socialistic domestic reforms. For instance, it was normal or prudent for politicians to gain political clout or favour in the past by concentrating on building roads, especially in the interior of the island, to impress the farming community. Or, one constantly had to create water supplies, build schools, if necessary a community center, a laundry with bathing and toilet facilities and ensure one had an office space within the community to give handouts, cash donations especially to persons who voted for them.
Now the people have become more sophisticated and they need more cash to allow them to educate their children, they need further allowances for transportation, to purchase domestic gadgets, upgrade to WI-FI and internet service, cable television, plus they need money for clothes and entertainment, in some cases support to help them build or rent homes. In fact, the needs and wants are plenty.
At the same time there are other needs that relate to continual development of state. The state needs to find the money to improve the seaports, the airports, pay attention to health care that has suddenly become a crucial need.
They need to offer support to the Hotel sector, help to create call centers for employment purposes, the police is always in need and Law and Order cannot be ignored, teachers are demanding, civil servants have demands, all of these needs to keep the machinery of government alive, as well as obtain as much resources through their institutional presence.
At the same time, we import most of what we eat and wear, we trade with countries where they have the advantage as it relates to how much we should bring in and at what price, as well as the cost of transportation and the required tax and other related tariffs, our children are requesting that they are schooled oversees, so they can request greater salaries on their return.
We still have to find the necessary finances to build and assist with basic facilities and a handful of projects, but with the shortage of funds to do all that still has to be done and haven’t been done, but for the foreseeable future.
So I think it is time for the government to accept criticism and find new means to ease the squeeze.
We must internalize, we need to compromise, to at least give us a chance to create a possible future for our people.
I think it is time to obtain, by any means possible, at least two to three existing Hotel Resorts and change them into live-in higher learning institutions. We need to offer all the subjects and necessary curriculum that is usually offered by offshore colleges and universities. Also, ensuring that the right accreditation and qualifications related to these subjects are forthcoming. Consider and embrace the concept of learning on line, ensure that the network reaches all homes; and if not ensure that specific centers are equipped for any shortfalls so no child should be left behind.
Two to three existing schools should be transformed into further learning institutions taking into consideration the need to revisit such subjects areas like agriculture, a school for the performing and visual arts, teaching technical skills such as electrical, plumbing, refrigeration, mechanics, building and other related subjects, improving the skill-set of all students to take advantage of the need for service and repairs of all kinds of apparatus.
There is a need for the youth, as well as older persons, to gain knowledge and skills that can make them more productive as well as the opportunity to become their own bosses and employers.
We have to consider building commercial spaces at affordable costs to give them new hope. They also need legal and administerial support and support from lending institutions. We need to create a climate of doers, people motivated to help themselves, people willing to progress and less dependent on handouts and pending hotel jobs.
Finally, I would like to suggest that all consultants and government advisors be reassessed to ensure that they understand this new thrust in policy. It is only then we will see a new Saint Lucia.