December 20, 2006




Once again, Congratulations are in order for the new Government. The long awaited announcement of the Cabinet is behind us, it is now time to settle down to meet the challenges of the campaign promises with good governance as a vital instrument in steering the affairs of State. I am captivated by the promise made by the Hon. Prime Minister, Sir John Compton that the Government will be a Government of the people and their contributions will be welcomed.

There are many experienced Ministers who have been directly involved in relation to the areas of interest to which they have been assigned, and their previous exposure should go a long way in charting the course forward. One thing is certain, they should know the individuals that they could call upon for assistance and support. It is important that the Ministers build alliances with the movers and shakers in the various sectors and leaders in the wider civil society.

Our foreign affairs, tourism, trade, industry and commerce initiatives must utilise technology fully in their promotion. We have to build friends around the world. We must make full use of the Internet to get our messages to the world. Innovation must be encouraged, new ideas are vital to the future progress of our nation. In earlier years of our Independence, we spoke about utilizing the expertise of the brightest and the best, today that call should be no different. Those with experience must be engaged until they can no longer contribute. Bring those persons with experience who are not contributing to our development back into the fold and build upon our knowledge base.

Experienced adults and youths must work together and share their experiences. Young people are at their best when challenged by elders. Age brings along passion to achieve the successes we desire. Because there is always an unfinished agenda in our lives or a situation that necessitates a new agenda, there is never enough time on this earth for those who strive in a dynamic environment and aspire for excellence.

We must find a way of getting our people to share their ideas and aspirations freely. It should not be the Government’s job always to decide what is best for our people without their involvement. There must be a way to get from the people what their needs are. Greater interaction between Parliamentarians/Members of the Cabinet and the people whom they represent is desirable. Town Hall Meetings must be encouraged to go beyond the constituency office visits and meet the people of the constituencies. It is important that programmes be instituted in communities to promote personal development of the residents where politicians and leaders of industry give of their time to identify projects and organize motivational sessions to bring out the best in our people. The most important task of any new government is to mobilise the people for action and if the action is to generate progress, the people must be highly motivated and be invited to accept the ultimate ownership.

In relation to thinking outside of the box, it is an accepted fact that the private sector is the engine of growth, and as a consequence there is urgent need to find new approaches to deal with the demands that will be made of the government as the facilitator of the process to bring about the much needed development. The re introduction of the Development Bank if given a mandate in keeping with the realities of this era, could be the platform from which innovation and technology thrive. Many of the new initiates will need the active involvement of the people who will benefit from them to ensure that whatever is produced as the final programme is consistent with needs of the people whom the institutions seek to serve. Too often we have seen programmes designed for the people but are not in keeping with the real needs of the people. Another point that must be made is that projects must be adequately financed, especially in these times when most projects need additional funding before their completion due to increased costs of inputs. Provision must be made for beneficiaries to fall back on if necessary.

There are so many thoughts that come to mind after writing on subjects to expand the economy even to the point of being called a perpetual optimist, it would not be practical to put all my ideas together in one article, it will take several. However, I take this opportunity to share a simple suggestion. There is one low cost, effective way to attract tourists and investors to our country and that is the use of the Internet. Use Groups, Newsletters, Blogs, and let the world know about our beautiful island and its offerings. There could be a central source that will produce the text for the mailings on various subjects and circulated to members of a dedicated group to be forwarded to members of their individual mailing lists in the same manner as jokes and other mailings are circulated. What is critical to the process of development of St. Lucia as a preferred destination for business and pleasure is Information about who we are, what we are doing and what makes us different. Don’t forget we are rated 27th out of 175 countries as a destination where it is easy to do business. Have we taken full advantage of the opportunities that are available to blast that achievement to the world via the internet? It is not too late. What about our being the number one Honeymoon Destination in the world? Are we ashamed of our successes? It is everybody’s business to promote St. Lucia, not just the task of a few.

At this time of year, it is all about exchanging of gifts and shopping for the home and family. The gifts that I have been recommending in recent years are, a Bible for each member of the household and at least one computer. A computer is vital to today’s existence in our global village.

A Merry Christmas to all my readers and their loved ones!

As usual, Keep the Faith, God is in Charge!!!

Edward A. Harris – Email:

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