Mon 17th Jan 2005
As part of our strategy of restructuring and positively stimulating the SVG economy, the SVG Green Party in government, will build the University of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It is hoped that after consultation will local residents, the university will be built in the North Central Windward (NCW) constituency. The university will seriously enhance development in this sadly, depressed area.
The long-term national of having a university is significant. Experience has shown in countries such as Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia, that a national university produces a highly educated and skilled workforce that is adaptable and easily trainable. This in itself encourages and attracts direct foreign investment, which enhances the nation's service sector and increases GDP.
Entrance to the university will be free to all Vincentians with the appropriate university entrance qualifications.
The university will also be open to paying, foreign students. Fees from foreign students for courses and accommodation will form part of the income for maintenance of the university. Grants received by the SVG university for research, will also form part of the funds needed for the running costs of the university.
The economic, social and financial benefits for North Windward (NW), NCW and South Central Windward (SCW) and beyond will be substantial. It is projected that the university will encourage the establishment of many small businesses and a considerable amount of employment will be created, during the construction and the running of the university. We project knock-on effects such as:
1. the need for much more rented accommodation providing a steady, sustainable income for those that can provide it;
2. the need for much more rental vehicles, providing a steady, sustainable income for those in that and wanting to get in that industry;
3. the need for more shops and restaurants;
4. a big demand for agricultural products to supply the university, its students, the student accommodation facilities, shops, restaurants and hotels. This will be a big boost to banana farmers who have suffered greatly with the decline of the banana industry;
5. financial opportunities for street vendors;
6. for all land owners and house owners, the value of your land and / or house will appreciate considerably in its value. This will give all land owners and house owners extra equity should they want to move house or take out a bank loan. You will have more collateral with increased land and property value;
7. at present in the constituencies of NW, NCW and SCW, the unemployment rate is as high as 60 per cent in some areas. Such high unemployment in this modern era is totally unacceptable and unnecessary. The university and the above mentioned knock-on effects are projected to reduce the rate of unemployment to less than 18 per cent;
8. The social effect of having this university would be to lift the spirits of the communities in the NW, NCW and SCW constituencies in particular, as it is projected that with the above knock-on effects, there will be a reduced level of crime, poverty and illiteracy and an increase in the level of disposable income for the families in these constituencies;
9. on a national level, the university will increase GDP, reduce national debt and uplift the tourism industry.
Only a green government can deliver this university 'green gold' - to the areas of NW, NCW and SCW as it is an integral part of our economic, sustainable program to uplift the economy of SVG. Since the last election, neither the ULP or NDP have put forward a coherent economic strategy to create revenue for our country - national debt has increased considerably. They cannot fund a university or bring its advantages. SVG Green Party hopes that all voters, not just ones in NW, NCW and SCW, will support this unique opportunity for jobs and prosperity for the families of our nation, and for the economic and social good of the nation.
Ivan O'Neal BSc(Hons), MSc, MBA
Leader and co-founder of SVG Green Party.