According to the Leader of SVG Green Party, Warrant Officer Ivan Bertie O’Neal BSc (Hons), MSc, MBA, it was a big and significant mistake for our governments to build six airports in SVG, but not one university.
All these airports built in SVG were meant to create a strong economy in SVG. However, we have seen that having all these airports has not created a strong economy. The focus on tourism as a source of revenue has kept our country poor and led to high levels of crime, unemployment and poverty.
From day one, SVG Green Party insisted that having our own science university is of prime importance for economic development in SVG. SVG’s number one resource is our people, which is why we need our own university.
There is no alternative but to shift SVG quickly and decisively into a prosperous new direction. A SVG science university would play a pivotal role in driving our country forward. Whilst all forms of education are important to a country, it is university education that is crucial for economic development.
All prosperous and economically strong countries have a university-based education system to increase the skills of their people. Countries such as Singapore, Norway, New Zealand, and Switzerland built strong economies based on free, high-quality education from pre-school to their own universities. Knowledge-based economies are very successful.
When Singapore gained independence from the UK, their Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew built five universities and ten polytechnics – investing billions of dollars – to create a knowledge-based economy. Singapore focused on free, high-quality education from pre-school to university for every child, regardless of race and wealth level.
Now, Singapore is a global success story, with one of the highest standards of living in the world. Singapore has the highest percentage of millionaire households as a share of a country’s total households at 15.5%; Singapore topped the charts for highest GDP per capita in 2010 at close to EC$152,636 and is expected to continue to be the global leader until 2050; Singapore has a GDP of EC$810 billion; Singapore has a very low unemployment rate of about 1.9%; more than 70% of Singapore resident non-students aged 25-34 have a university education.
With a highly educated population, we will see a significant increase of entrepreneurs starting up new businesses and this will create jobs, bring revenue to the country and strengthen the economy, as more money will be circulating in the country. It will lead to new products being created in SVG and our exports tapping into new markets throughout the world.
With a highly educated population, we will see significantly more Vincentians being offered and taking up highly-paid, highly-qualified jobs abroad and sending remittances back home to support their families. This will help boost economic growth and bring surplus revenue.
Surplus revenue is essential for a strong economy.
The problem in SVG since independence is that we have had highly poor governments that want to use tourism as the foundation of the SVG economy, rather than education.
Only a Green government has the vision, ability and desire to build a university in SVG. With their focus on tourism, the ULP and NDP prefer to waste taxpayers’ money turning SVG into a holiday playground for rich tourists.
With six airports we have gone nowhere. With just one university and a university education, our people will have the opportunity to go everywhere.