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Commentary: Deficient technological progress and economic growth: A contagion amongst Vincentian politicians
Published on September 5, 2013 Email To Friend    Print Version

By D. Markie Spring

The near-drowning of economic development is another rare glimpse of the lack of progress in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

Coupled with this, our political environment is one that portrays the ‘fence mending’ theory.

The author of a number of published works, D. Markie Spring was born in St Vincent and the Grenadines and now resides in Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands. He has an MBA from the University of Leicester, England, and a BA from Saint Mary's University, Canada
The aura of our shining stars radiated out of a sense of self, a core identity projected into their every role, coupled with the strong emotional content of their rhetoric that creates a sparring, divided society and invokes imaginary political borders and outcasts. Public affairs are directed by non-visionary ideologies maneuvered by a classic demagogic leader with impassioned rhetoric appeal, diagnosed with bigotry; often placing their parties before the country and a trend that seems to mimic a socialist view of the economic world.

Additionally, the old adage of looking back and blaming previous governments for the incumbent’s downfall is still prominent within our deteriorating political system – a technique used by political leaders to cover-up current environmental destruction, social setbacks, political instability and inefficient economic growth.

These phenomena and more have created lack of progress within our country.

However, all is not lost.

Despite those setbacks, there are some observable good programs and initiatives developed by the incumbent: a brand new international airport, a smooth surface of the Windward Highway, upgraded police stations, Canouan airport and parts of the education system, which provides more scholarship to students; additional loans accessible to students and the improvements and construction of educational institutions throughout.

These projects are needed national endeavours; however, the benefits to be derived from these programs are often trifled by the inactions of the current government and its inability to produce progressive policies; rather, politicians succumb to ‘going back,’ ‘name calling’ and the infamous ‘blame game’.

For me, I sense it would be irresponsible to prolong without insinuating progress!

According to history, progress is the idea that we can enhance our being and environment through modernization, technology, democracy, liberty and quality of life. Moreover, the European Commission (EC) has designed and developed the ‘progress program’ -- a form of financial instrument supporting the development and coordination of the European Union (EU) policy in areas, such as gender equality, social inclusion and protection, employment and anti-discrimination.

Hence, there is no scientific research or practitioners that can convince me that ‘going back’ and blaming the previous government is progressive; this does not define the problem solving phenomenon either. This only creates an environment of time wasting and no sense of direction and determination.

However, let’s be clear, in specific fields like engineering and science it is necessary at times to investigate past challenges to identify the problem in order to find solutions; however, in the political arena, problems can often be identified by current analysis of the situation without focusing on the previous.

Here, let’s identify a few questionable relevant scenarios.

Is the current government building more schools because the previous government didn’t do so; is the previous government the problem or the fact remains that there are more students today; hence, the need for more classrooms?

Hitherto, did the government construct a causeway across the Rabacca Dry River, because the previous government did not, or it is necessary, considering that there are more commuters above the dry river and that the dry river is becoming increasingly dangerous?

Similarly, is the government blaming the previous government for not building an international airport, or the government today realizes the airport is a needed facility to accommodate bigger and heavier aircraft to aid in the agriculture and tourism industries? Here, I am assuming that the government did not look into the present situation of the need to accommodate bigger aircraft – hence, building Argyle international airport was based on what was not done previously; therefore, there is no true sense of direction!

Meanwhile, other important questions have surfaced.

How can a government that won the elections since 2001 still blame, and identify the previous government to be the problem even 12 years later? Shouldn’t the new government utilize its time to set new strategies and progressive policies? How has ‘going back’ and blaming become progressive?

Not only does going back and playing the blame game anti-progressive; but the other acute diseases that exist within the political system: victimization of citizens and the lack of respect shown to them, the name calling, the imbalance and unfairness of the employment process, minimal planning and understanding of economics, the exclusion of the opposition and ordinary citizens, and the insurgence and scouring the political environment for opposition and the attempt to shut down citizens who speak-out; the socialist view of retaining power and controlling the people.

Additionally, ‘machine politics,’ ‘spin doctors,’ pundits and political immaturity have prevented our nation from progressing. Inevitably, this I believe is the pathway to political suicide of the incumbent.

If this trend continues, our progressive initiative will succumb to a cardiac arrest and will require an experienced and nationalist cardiologist to resuscitate this country’s heartbeat.

Hence, this is a good time to warn – if a new government is formed in the next general election it would be reckless to go black and blame this government for the areas that lack progress.

In politics, progress is not going back and finding fault – it is using that time wisely to enact workable strategies, which strengthen the scope of governance and encourage economic growth.
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Aet Johnny:

Perhaps I am missing the point of your article, I am struggling to see or remember which political party on earth that has not blamed its predecessor for something during their time in power,however, If you said that the practice of looking back and blaming the opposition is the source of fractious arguments worldwide, I would totally agree with you.

vinci vin:

Good observations. Inquiring minds would like to know:

1. Does it appear that the current government or governing party spends too much time promoting "Our Great Party - ULP" rather than researching and implementing actions to solve SVG's problems?

2. Has the government (meaning the leadership in SVG government) provided credible data and analyses of its performance since 2001 to determine whether Vincentians are better off today?

3. Can the government show factual data on how the much touted "education revolution" has impacted the nation, socially, economically, and otherwise? Give us actual numbers rather than broad assertions?

4. Has this government provided the accountability and transparency in government that was promised in its manifesto?

5. Has this government been a good stewart of foreign economic ($)aid received? In other words, how much aid in $ has bben received and what are the actual benefits (rather than paying salaries) of foreign aid received since 2001?

6. Can this government show the actual benefits accruing to the nation through its deployment of diplomats abroad? Can it do a benefits/costs analysis with credible data that can be easily used by indepent analysts to determine the actual value of our embassies and missions abroad?

7. Can this government show that it has developed and implemented agricultural policies and strategies that are capable of transforming the agricultural sector and bringing forth real benefits in trade, employment and food security to the nation?

8. Has this government over-utilized the word "revolution" when it comes to education, health care and other national issues? Does this use of revolution 'pretensions of grandeur' or just an exhibition of Marxist ambitions?

9. Has this government provided initiatives to further the freedom of Vincentions through freedom of speech, freedom of associations and other democratically-protected freedoms? Or can it be said that the government and its leader seeks to muzzle Vincentians and their democratic institutions by using a compromised DPP to selectively prosecute those who would legitimately question government actions oe inactions?

10. Has this government prioritised national problem solution or national demogoguery?

11. Has this government shown that it is capable of selecting qualified Vincentians to fill important positions and contributing to the furtherance of the nation regardles of political pedigree, familial status and connections, residency at home or abroad, party support or otherwise?

12. Has this government shown respect for its people, the governed, by listening to their opinions, initiating substantive consultations, furthering intra-island developments, and otherwise?

13.Has this government shown respect for the politicians in opposition?

14. Has this government shown that it is fully committed to the "Rule of Law" by supporting unbiased rather than selective prosecution?

15. Does it appear that this government is a political gadfly and opportunist that jumps on international fads and innuendos to further its own longevity?

16. Has this government displayed political maturity by outlining to the nation the severity of our socio-economic problems? And then appealing to their sense of citizenship to jointly contribute to problem solutions?

17. Does this government appear to look outside of SVG for easy solutions to our problems rather than doing Vincentian-specific research to identify the core bases of our problems and then enlisting the Vincentian people to contribute to the solution of those problems?

18. Is this government credible when it talks about commitment to the Vincentian diaspora or is it just using the term "Vincentian Diaspora" conveniently to feather its own political war chest?

19. Does this government have the internal fortitude to address alleged areas of nepotism, cronyism, divisiveness, incompetency, lack of respect, lack of transparency, absence of accountability, etc in its cabinet and the civil service?

20. Has this government reached the point of "diminishing Returns" where it is "just rolling down hill like a snowball that's heading for Hades?

Good, bad or otherwise, I would like to see the government answer these and other questions in a studied respectable manner and give all Vincentians the opportunity to respond to the answers.

On the other hand, how does the opposition party (shadow government) plan to move the nation forward if elected? Rely on international companies to transform the nation (see the NDP mission and ideas for economic development on their website)?

We, the people of SVG, have a right to question our politicians and demand real numbers and facts for the analysis of the health of our nation. in that vein of thought: I fully agree that "In politics (governance), progress is not going back and finding fault – it is using that time wisely to enact workable strategies, which strengthen the scope of governance and encourage economic growth."

Best regards,

Vinci Vin

D. Markie Spring:

It ws my intention to discuss mention those questions Vinci Vin discussed - but the article would be lengthly; hence, I replaced those important questions with the term "Progressive Policies"

It is exactly my point, why go back and blame when there are work to be done.

I wish the govt address the more pressing issues in SVG, such as the escalating crimes, infrastructure, attititude toward its citizens, partisan politics, health care, living standards, Canadian Visa restriction etc

Do we go back because we do not have the ability to address these issues???


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