The New Democratic Party
(NDP) has listed four economic pillars on which it will reconstruct the economy of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. They are agriculture, tourism, the blue economy and the new economy. The new economy includes information technology, sports, the creative industry and entertainment. And, it has immense potential to generate economic activity, which will create employment and provide opportunities for our young people.
The Unity Labour Party (ULP) administration has failed miserably to develop any sector of the new economy, even though promises were made to develop sports and culture. For instance, the ULP promised to establish a school for music and the arts.
After twenty-two years in power, Vincentians are still waiting for that school. There has been a significant decline in carnival, no improvement in the Nine Mornings activities and our creative industry is non-existence.
The ULP government has not delivered on its promise to improve and maintain sporting facilities in the country. For example, the headline of a news story of an online news outlet dated November 7, 2023, Captioned: “SVGFF announces change in venue for 2023 Concacaf Qualifiers”. The content of the article reveals that the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation is forced to take the games to Grenada because the Arnos Vale Sporting Complex is closed for renovation. These are important matches. They are the Concacaf National Leagues Qualifiers, and are scheduled to be played on November 21, 2023 and December 5, 2023. What an embarrassment! Our playing fields, which the ULP has been boasting about, cannot host regional games.
Our economy will lost revenue and football patrons will be denied the opportunity to watch the games and support Vincy Heat. The ULP has not fulfilled its promise to upgrade the playing fields. Our facilities are not good enough. It is time for a government to do what it says in providing public facilities and does not take Vincentians for granted.
As a sector of the new economy, we are cognizant of the benefits of sports to the economy of St. Vincent and Grenadines and the society in general. Sports creates employment, secure inflow of foreign exchange and contributes significantly to the economic development of a country. An NDP government will place emphasis to the development of sports.
Our mission is to facilitate the emergence of a culture of sports through the elevation of sports as a significant sector of national development in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We appreciate the importance of sports to our youth, athletes, our people and our country. We also recognize that early achievements in sports as a means for our young people to achieve higher education and better livelihoods. The youth of St. Vincent and the Grenadines will benefit enormously from our impressive sports program, which will include a diversified scholarship portfolio that will open opportunities for college and university education. Most importantly, we will ensure that meaningful employment is created for these youth after they have completed their studies.
The NDP will also develop a framework for upgrading and managing sports facilities at constituency and community levels. We will implement a service, opportunity and support framework, which will ensure that sporting facilities are upgraded to accommodate the respective sporting disciplines. Community Sport Councils will be developed and sustained, to take ownership of the maintenance of the established facilities and supporting the programs for physical activity and sport in their respective communities. In addition, we will develop at least one playing field in each constituency to the extent that it can accommodate competition at the regionally level. These facilities will be fully lit and will have pavilions and changing facilities. Where appropriate, particularly in areas where grass does not grow properly, playing surfaces will be converted to artificial surfaces. We will also play an integral role in assisting the various sporting associations with their coaching programs.
Our creative industry must be revived. We will take politics out of culture. The best and most innovative Vincentians must be able to participate in the creation of a viable, sustainable cultural industry, which can aid our development as a people, as well as usefully contribute to our country’s economy. We will revive the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) and make it once more the umbrella body and coordinator of all cultural activities nationally. The NCF, through its work with community-based groups and other cultural entities, will be responsible for encouraging the expression of our indigenous culture.
The NDP will build a National Cultural Centre. This centre will be the hub from which our performing and graphic artists will be encouraged to grow and develop. It will incorporate a well-designed, equipped and acoustically sound Performing Arts Facility. It will include a School of Music to accommodate the demands of music theory and practice, instrumental training, formal voice training, assistance to modern popular music, classical training, the gospel artistes, calypsonians, etc. We will create a National Youth Orchestra. Our graphic artists will be enabled to display their talents in the decoration of the public spaces as well as in the creation of sets and backdrops for all types of cultural performances. A National Cultural Centre will also provide spaces to house exhibitions of our artists’ work.
We value the importance of information technology. It is here and we need to put it to work for our development. Therefore, we see the expansion of information technology as an important sector, which will provide opportunities for our young people. We will place emphasis on information technology to tackle the unemployment situation, which exists among our youths, in this country. The new economy is an important pillar of our economic development, and we are committed to developing it, for the advancement of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.