The Year 2004 will be Great!!!
By Edward A. Harris

It is good that we can come to a stop and catch our breath. So we can be ready to take on the challenges that lie ahead. After a storm, there is a calm. But the calm I refer to in this instance is what was brought about by the Christmas and New Year shopping spree. Everyone is now counting the cost and keeping away from anything that takes money except for essentials. January is always a month with an early payday so salaries should be in the hands of many shortly. Beyond the excitement of the season and the lavish spending, there is always the expectation that things will be better in the New Year at least for persons with the Entrepreneurial spirit or those who are simply industrious by nature. Slowing down the pace gives everyone an opportunity to reflect upon the things they could have done better in the past and those things which they should have achieved but didn't. Now it is time to move forward.

   As many look towards the New Year, there is not much that can change in their financial status unless they secure a second job and generate additional income. The age of the second job has been with us for sometime now. But many continue to resist the inevitable. We have to sleep less, eat less and work more. We have to recognize that there is dignity in labour. There are many opportunities for a second job. Certain skills are scarce, regardless that some persons will rather believe otherwise.

    It is interesting to note the impact of the extended opening hours being adopted by supermarkets and other retailers of essential commodities. If we are interested in relieving the acute unemployment situation, the first step is to open up Castries to weekend shopping and extended shopping hours on weekdays. Implementing new opening hours will also ease peak hours traffic congestion.

   The year ahead presents an opportunity for us to implement some obvious decisions that are long overdue and are necessary if we are to fully participate in the 21 st Century. Our Nation celebrates its 25 th Anniversary of Independence and without a doubt, we must accept responsibility for our actions. The year 2004 will be great! That was my theme throughout the holidays and today I am even more convinced it will. By now many of my readers have felt the wind of change that is blowing. As we celebrate our 25 th Anniversary, I see Prosperity on the horizon, we must be ready to deal with it. If we are not prepared, we will loose yet another opportunity to leave a legacy that could be the envy of our neighbours.

   All the indicators show that investments are coming our way. This week a US Congressional Delegation visited St. Lucia and the team included Mr. Allen Stanford who is poised to make substantial investments in the region. I refuse to draw upon the several other projects that are already in the pipeline. I am looking forward to the other projects that will come our way and I pledge to do my share to sensitise the world to the fact that St. Lucia is a premier destination for business and pleasure in the Caribbean. I wish that you would join all other like-minded persons seeking to lift up St.Lucia. It is not always easy but we must make an effort especially in this year of our 25 th Anniversary. Let us make the extra effort to ensure that our country is put on a path to progress and prosperity.

  Lots of interesting developments have taken place since January1, 2004 and if these are signs of things to come, St. Lucia is definitely on to a good year when we will be able to say once again, let the good times roll!!

Keep the faith and stay tuned. God is in charge!! We can all say Amen!