All of Canouan is beautiful and every effort should be made to maintain and preserve it for the people who live there and for those who visit. The village of Balance conveys the approach to development that should be taking place on this pristine Caribbean island. The land space is too small for mistakes in planning to go unchallenged because the dire consequences that result, we may not be able to live with.
Beginning with the beaches, all the beaches should be cared for to hotel standard. They should be cleaned daily and sea grapes, almond, cedar, fat pork (poke) and coconut planted to protect the shoreline. Washroom facilities should be installed on every beach. Beaches should be managed by a Parks and Beaches Commission, perhaps with the hotels being the major stakeholders as they have a vested interest. Local sanitation workers, together with hotel workers would constitute the main beautification crews, complemented by volunteer organizations. Beaches may be rented for specified periods of time for private use to boost income for maintenance.
The proportion of land made available to local people and investors should be a matter of agreement among the local population. Young people must have hope that they can own a portion of their own land. A land use policy needs to be developed together with a housing policy that maximizes the use of space. Land conservation measures need to be adopted to preserve the green spaces.
Villages of Canouan should as far as is feasible, look as well kept as the hotel property in the Gulf. The people who work in the Gulf should take pride in beautifying their surroundings.
In this day and age with so much foreign exchange being generated in Canouan, running water should be made available to the local population. Until such time as that is done, concessionary funding (interest free loans) should be made available for the construction of water tanks, and guttering for rainwater harvesting.
The schools in Canouan should be equipped to teach the core subjects of English, Math, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Besides this, all students should have the opportunity to learn a skill before leaving school. Every effort should be made to give islanders opportunity to be trained and employed at every level of the hotel industry.
Health Care facilities on the island should be adequate to meet the needs of the locals as well as the tourists.
The Airport and Seaport should be kept in good repair to facilitate communication.
Traditional culture and livelihood should be maintained and enhanced.
In the absence of Local Government and Constituency Funds, and in consideration of its contribution to the national purse, Canouan perhaps needs its own representative in Parliament.
Anthony Stewart, PhD