Fri 14th Sep 2018
The needs of the people of Bequia are being neglected by the government and MP.
On 3rd September 2018, Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal BSc (hons), MSc, MBA visited Bequia. Whilst some areas are o.k., there are many areas of neglect, poor housing, high unemployment, unclean living environment and poverty.
The problem in Bequia is that there has been far too much focus on tourists’ needs and little or no focus on the needs of the people of Bequia by the ULP regime and the MP.
Many households are without water and electricity. The food security situation of the people of Bequia is precarious, with a heavy reliance on food shipped over from the mainland. This food is expensive and impoverishes poor households more as they struggle to feed their families.
One elderly gentleman in Bequia said that, as a nation, we are suffering from gross incompetence.
According to him, our nation’s leadership couldn’t manage a mauby shop - they lack the ability to govern well and rely too much on begging, borrowing and tourism. They are not moving our country forward.
Some people in Bequia believe that the yachts that used to come to Bequia now go to Grenada and Saint Lucia, because of the high levels of crime in SVG and poverty and destitution in Bequia. Why come to Bequia when safety and the sailing and living environment in Saint Lucia and Grenada are much better?
The government primary school near the Bequia airport is sustained by charity. The school buildings and surrounding environment urgently need upgrading for the children’s sake. Bequia also urgently needs a high-quality secondary school.
According to Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal, Bequia is on the wrong path to sustainable economic development and providing a high standard of living to all the people of Bequia.
With the right infrastructure, Bequia could be virtually self-sufficient in food, water and electricity. The technology is already available for this to happen by using innovation such was solar, wind turbines, desalination and greenhouses to provide cheaper electricity and food.
And, if the economic focus in Bequia moved away from tourism and to other economic sectors, there would be much more employment and income for the households in Bequia.
Sadly though, for many years, the needs of the people of Bequia have been neglected by the ULP regime and the MP.
Bequia needs a good clean up, a face lift and a focus on economic development other than tourism, as that is a major failure.
Vision is needed to give the children of Bequia hope for the future. Hope and vision can make the difference in climbing to the top in education. But hope and vision alone is not enough. Investment is needed to provide all the children of Bequia with high-quality pre-school, primary and secondary education in Bequia.
Warrant Officer Ivan O’Neal strongly believes that tourism could never be the engine of economic growth in Bequia. Other industries and investment are needed to provide sustainable employment and a high standard of living for all who live in Bequia. Not neglect.