Even before the eruption of La Soufrière, our country was in an economic mess and not far from collapse.
Now, after the volcano eruption, it is even more apparent that we must make substantial changes in our country, in order to move forward and create a strong economy and prosperity for all.
We need to build at least 5 new factories to do agro-processing, fish processing and canning, among other manufacturing endeavours, so as to create thousands of new jobs.
SVG should be exporting products such as organic tea, organic baby food, organic fruit juices, organic honey, organic dried fruits, organic vacuum-packed vegetables, organic bottled coconut water, smoked fish and numerous other products.
When studying for his Masters in Business Administration at Leicester University, England, Warrant Officer Ivan Bertie O’Neal BSc (Hons), MSc, MBA met a number of students from the Seychelles who told him how the Seychelles deep sea fishing and canning industry substantially strengthened the Seychelles economy, and changed the country from poverty to prosperity. It resulted in a significant improvement in the quality of life and standard of living for the people of Seychelles. SVG must become an exporting country.
The ULP have failed and the only factory they have built is a begging factory.
Also, we need more security of ownership of our country. We must operate like Cuba and Singapore and bring in a ban on the sale of land to non-Vincentians, i.e., people who are not Vincentian by birth or descent. This is an important policy and is in the best interests of future generations of Vincentians.
Our country should urgently repossess islands that have fallen into the hands of super-rich foreigners, such as we see in Mustique and Petit St. Vincent.
Tourism could never be a successful economic variable in SVG. Tourism keeps our people poor and perpetuates generational poverty. Our people are ‘enslaved’ in subordinate scenarios, to only cook the food, serve the food, wash the plates, make the beds, cut the grass and be the security guards. Tourism offers no net benefit to SVG.
SVG should follow the economic strategy of Sweden, Switzerland and Singapore and create a strong knowledge-based economy. This will attract foreign investment in skilled service industries. For this to happen, though, we need a world-class education system. We need free, high quality education from pre-school to our own science and technology university.
Sadly, the Labour Party Government had no vision from 1979 to 1984 and did not create free, high quality education from pre-school to our own science university. Similarly, the New Democratic Party from 1984 to 2001 had no vision and did not create free, high quality education from pre-school to our own science and technology university. Also, the Unity Labour party from 2001 to 2021 has failed to provide free, high quality education – opting instead to focus on locking our children up in their big jail in North Leeward.
In contrast, Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, built three science and technology universities and two poly-technics, and provided free, high quality education from pre-school to Singapore universities for every child in Singapore, in the first few years of their independence. Warrant Officer Ivan Bertie O’Neal lived in Singapore with his wife and three children from 1963 to 1965 and witnessed the start of Singapore’s transformation from poverty to wealth.
Singapore is an economic success story and has one of the highest standards of living in the world. It has a knowledge-based economy.
Warrant Officer Ivan Bertie O’Neal BSc (hons), MSc, MBA, who served for over 31 years as an engineer with the British Royal Air Force and was awarded the “Meritorious Service Medal”, strongly believes that SVG urgently needs substantial changes in order to move forward and create a strong economy and prosperity for all.