April 24, 2008



It is BUDGET time again and Parliamentarians are busy trying to impress their constituents about the good, not so good or bad things that have happened or have not happened and what is to come. The long awaited estimates of income and expenditure for 2008/2009 is now in the public domain. Check it out at http://www.stlucia.gov.lc Budget Address.

While there is a lot that could be said for and against the budget, the reality is that looking on the positive side, it is a mouth full. I had to close my eyes while reading the document on line at intervals and imagine a St. Lucia in ten years time. It is like a fairy tale but the future is filled with possibilities and if it can happen it will. What the Government needs to do is to declare 2008/2009 budget period – IMPLEMENTATION PERIOD. Time lines should be clearly stated so as the temper the expectations of the citizens. Show the people the works, put all foreign missions to work to attract friendly governments, donor agencies, investors and any agency that can help to implement the several projects that are on the drawing board or as some will prefer in the pipeline. My recommendation several years ago to appoint Trade and Investment Representatives around the world continues to be a worthwhile gesture as the Government is not in a position to support the amount of missions that will be necessary to promote and sustain investments in St. Lucia.

Today, we hear about over development, especially in the tourism sector. Hon. Philip J. Pierre was cautious in his response to questions on the subject and concluded that it was a chicken and egg situation. My take is that an increase in hotel plant/rooms will drive the destination and the thorny issue of airlift could be substantially improved. Even with the possibility of hoteliers forming alliances to provide their own charter flights from destinations that are overlooked by the established national airlines. There will always be a concern about the survival of the smaller hotels and a real strategy has to be worked out to attract visitors to fill their rooms. We are in an era where ideas must compete and if strategic planning, market research and marketing are still tools used by forward thinking companies, it will be a backward step to halt the progress that is currently being advanced.

I like what I hear about work permits and taxes amnesty. These are bold moves. In the interest of ensuring that we keep those skilled persons who remain in the region, Caricom Nationals seeking employment should be encouraged to stay in the region. The work permit issue should be simplified as is done with the right of establishment in relation to establishing businesses across the region. Individuals should be able to apply for their own work permit instead of having employers securing their work permit. Work permits are not transferable and in many instances, if there is a fall out between employer and employee, the worker in many cases is lost to the country as he/she leaves in search of employment elsewhere.

I called on the Government when it came into office to establish a Ministry of Innovation and Technology. Failing to see any action in that area, I made the call for a Secretariat of Innovation and Technology when the first Budget was about to be presented. Still nothing has happened. Maybe after reading the extract of a release from the OAS hereunder something tangible will be done to ensure that ICT at least is taken seriously. Visit http://www.oas.org

The Assistant Secretary General of the Organisation of American States (OAS) Ambassador Albert Ramdin in a recent encounter with policy makers, providers and experts attending the Joint ITU/CITEL Forum on “Enabling an ICT business environment in the Americas Region” called on them to put greater emphasis on applying innovation in information and communication technologies (ICTs) to address the needs of the poorest in society.

He also noted that this is an unprecedented opportunity for us to learn from your reflections from experience and your visions of the road ahead; I leave here some questions for your consideration on the debates that will follow.
* How do we create mechanisms to influence positive change in society by building partnerships amongst the private sector, civil society and member states to promote economic progress and opportunity for all?
* How can innovation in ICTs help us to address the need of the poorest?
* How to build, in developing countries, a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the ICT sector so that we can stimulate the creation of local producers of ICT applications and services?
* Which are the critical aspects of the telecommunications sector where we need to focus?
* How can we provide the environment in which individuals, entrepreneurs, and institutions can adapt to the changes around them, while gaining from them and forging the changes of the future?
* How we can create the right environment for businesses to develop and adopt new technologies?

We are yet to begin to utilize the Internet for implementing Internet Marketing Businesses that will have a global reach and make millions for their promoters. Let’s have a conference on this business idea.

Lots of interesting things can happen for us but we need to understand what businesses are driving the economies of the developed world and how those businesses could be duplicated in our region.

Here is my selected motivational quote of the week:
Freedom is the right to live as you wish.
If you wish to free yourself from enslavement,
you must choose freedom and the responsibility it entails.
There’s a price for every freedom,
something to be given up for every liberty.
It’s up to you to weigh the price you must pay
for each of your freedoms.
And everything you want has a price.
Freedom is the opportunity to make decisions.
It’s the capacity to take a hand in your own development.
Freedom is the right to choose.
It’s the right to create for yourself the alternatives of choice.
No one is free who is not master of himself.
You are free to do whatever you like.
You need only face the consequences of your actions.
Copyright 2008 www.yourdailymotivation.com

Keep the Faith, God is in Charge, Dream Big and Expect Miracles all the time!!!

Edward Harris
Biblicist, Freelance Journalist, Author, Business & PR Consultant, Realtor, Sales & Marketing Specialist, Networker, Private Sector Advocate, Motivational Speaker
Email: eaharrisdestiny@gmail.com
Websites: http://www.Edwardharris.ws http://www.stluciasimplybeautiful.com http://www.stluciarealtors.com http://EdwardHarris.myvisalus.com

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