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Fri 9th Apr 2021

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Invest US$110 million in science university, not in new Kingstown port

It has been announced that a new port will be built in Kingstown. According to the Vincentian newspaper of 20th November 2020, the ULP regime indicated US$110 million would come from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), US$32 million as a grant from the CDB-administered United Kingdom infrastructure fund and a US$43 million contribution from the government of SVG.

The Leader of SVG Green Party, Warrant Officer Ivan Bertie O’Neal BSc (hons), MSc, MBA, questions whether there is an essential need to develop a new Kingstown port and believes the US$110 million would be of better use if it was invested in a science and technology university in SVG for our youth.

Has a cost benefit analysis been done to establish whether there is a need for this new port? Where is the cost benefit analysis report to prove that a new port is needed and that a new port would create revenue for the country? The current Kingstown port has been adequate for years and the Camden Park port is under-utilised.

The opportunity cost of wasting millions of dollars on a new port rather than building a university for the people of SVG will be huge. It would be a travesty of justice against the young generation of SVG to throw away US$110 million on a new Kingstown port and not build a Science and Technology University.

Will this new port in Kingstown be yet more millions of dollars wasted by the ULP regime? The ULP regime has a track record of throwing away millions of dollars. The predicted collapse of the geothermal project is a very recently example of this. The equipment being transported from Soufriere to Kingstown was a vivid illustration of failure by the ULP regime. EC$1.5 billion was thrown away on Argyle airport, which does not raise enough money to pay its light bill and other operational costs.

A new port is yet again a sign that the ULP regime does not have a clue about how to move SVG forward and create a strong sustainable economy. Our country is an economic and financial mess. Poverty, unemployment and crime are very high in SVG. A new port will not solve this.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, education is crucial to poverty eradication. Not only is education important in reducing poverty, it is also the path to wealth creation. Education can lift a poor child out of poverty for life.

With a university degree, the opportunities of employment are immense. SVG’s children could get highly-paid jobs throughout the world. Generational poverty can be eliminated if a child gets a
university degree, as children of graduate parents are more likely to become graduates themselves.

An Education For All (EFA) report shows that education generates productivity gains that fuel economic growth. The EFA report shows that for every US$1 spent on education, between US$10 and US$15 would be generated in economic growth.

Give the young generation of SVG a life opportunity and build a science and technology university, rather than a new Kingstown port. Warrant Officer Ivan Bertie O’Neal BSc (hons), MSc, MBA, Leader of SVG Green Party, says that a university is needed in SVG, not another port in Kingstown.

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