By D. Markie Spring
The prime minister reverberates his plan for a fourth term in office!
The victorious leader has won the last three elections for the United Labour Party (ULP) and, in the eyes of some Vincentians, he is steering an administration dubbed by high unemployment, crime rate, poverty and inflation, inflated economic performances, insidious political strategies, and numerous empty promises.
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
Conversely, Georgetown -- the “Ghost Town” as many know it – has become desolate, marred by minimal infrastructure, diminishing businesses and a city that has been ignored by the government, its local residents and private entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, this city is part of the constituency that the PM represents.
Similarly, St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) political arena has suffered from demagogic leadership, power-oriented political strategies with no clear direction and set goals solely designed to manipulate citizens into voting for more empty promises, partisan politics and politics controlled by tightly-run organizations that subdue the opposition and reward its supporters.
Today, the PM is begging the nation for a fourth term in government so that his administration can construct a ‘sea defence’ in Georgetown – an area pounded by the roaring Atlantic Ocean and the biggest flattest area in SVG – seemingly below sea level.
Furthermore, the PM indicated that this project is urgent and that the money is in place to facilitate such a needed project.
Here, as a concerned citizen I‘d like to ask the PM a few questions.
I am expecting the PM to listen, be professional and as the leader he has the responsibility to defend his record and make clear the way ahead, coupled with developing strategies to win the majority. Likewise, I have the right to ask questions and to be concerned about the future of SVG and what I will be voting for in the upcoming general elections.
Mr PM, let’s talk!
If this project is so urgent and considering that the money is in place why are you waiting for a next term in office to commence work? According to the dictionary, one of the definitions for urgent is “compelling or requiring immediate action or attention; imperative; pressing: an urgent matter.” Moreover, as a citizen who is paying taxes, it’s my constitutional right to ask from where this money was derived.
Opinionatedly, your strategy is translucent and lacks consistency and vigour. In my view, which is coherent to the thoughts and perspectives of many Vincentians, I’d rather you tell us that you’d fulfill those promises you made previously – making an entirely new promise to us not only freaks me out, but it creates disgust and more uncertainty in my mind.
With this comes to mind some of the unfulfilled promises that you have made in the past. In this regard, what happened to the meat and vegetable market, which you promised? What about the 100-room hotel, the library and the government branch offices that were all promised to Georgetown? Also, agriculture in this city has been dead! Do you have any plans to resuscitate this important sector? Even so, the cross country road has been abandoned, with ineffective communication concerning its discontinuation and future plans.
Still the Georgetown hospital – a facility monumental to the people in that city and surrounding areas, and for the people living above the Dry River, has been stalled and prolonged for apparent reasons. Wasn’t it better to complete this project before a new promise emerges?
In addition to this, Mr PM, how are you going to deal with those additional promises made previously? The ground breaking ceremony for the national stadium -- that area has become an over vegetated terrain by wild grasses; the second city at Arnos Vale seemed to have submerged under the uncertain circumstances at Argyle, while the tunnel under Garden appears impossible; mirroring financial constraints.
Here, another million dollar question has evolved!
Is this new promise going to be treated like those made before -- designed as a prerequisite for votes and when the elections have been completed and the race has been won, left in a remote corner on the priority list?
Mr PM, I am not anti-ULP or is this insightful journey a PM bashment; rather these perspectives are my thoughts and views subsequent to careful analysis of the status quo.
Again, let me reiterate, Mr PM, you are not all bad news. You have completed some of your promises: the causeway across the Rabacca Dry River, the roads, police station, secondary school and some other important projects throughout SVG; however, I believe that the inaction and conversely, some of your actions, considering SVG’s economic environment, have overshadowed the good of these completed projects and programs. In my view, there are too many unfinished projects and promises that have not been met.
Sure, it is better to fulfill previous promises first before a new promise surfaces, especially when it is being used as a strategic fit for the next general elections.
As a Vincentian I’ll suggest that the PM takes back this new promise and changes his strategy; telling the people his plans to complete projects that have been under construction for many years and even those that have not started.
Not surprising! I believe that the idea of using the airport, the cross country road and Georgetown hospital as strategies has been out-played; hence, the new sea defence strategy.
Ideally, it is a far better strategy to first complete the Argyle International Airport, the Georgetown hospital, the cross country road, the national stadium, the new city at Arnos Vale, the tunnel under Cane Garden, and if I may recommended a few others: develop the agriculture industry, fix Kingstown, poverty, unemployment and crimes, and develop Georgetown.
For now the ocean is calm, prioritize your work and give us a better life!