Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Striking a balance

By D. Markie Spring
Turks and Caicos Islands

Political instability in the Middle East stirs questions about the supplies of oil, while the nuclear energy calamity in Japan surfaced concerns about this type of alternative energy source. Fundamentally, these recent developments have spiraled inflation – particularly, in food and oil prices.

Henceforth, this recent surge in oil and food prices is undermining global recovery; hence, sustainability and geopolitical factors are vulnerable to the heightened uncertainty relative to future prices -- and this is a global phenomenon, which is affecting everywhere not withholding St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

The author of a number of published works, D. Markie Spring was born in St Vincent and the Grenadines and now resides in Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands. He has an MBA from the University of Leicester, England, and a BA from Saint Mary's University, Canada
Moreover, our prime minister has identified these problems and he had clearly informed the Vincentian public about these issues and the difficult economic times ahead – thoughtful but pragmatic, I must say.

Here, the PM acknowledged that this shocking increase in the oil price has the most significant impact on macroeconomic stability across the globe and in SVG, while an increase in food prices will severely and disproportionately affect those who are poor – an inflationary model, which shows decreasing growth for 2011.

Despite this unwelcome news, I like what I am hearing on the ground in St Vincent and the Grenadines. The first, former Prime Minister Sir James wants to champion the cocoa industry in SVG and our PM is working along with this brilliant idea; our PM is working together with the former PM to make this a reality – good governance and all-round vision. Furthermore, the PM is sending Sir James to the UN on national business. This is the road to bipartisanship, the path to economic and political sustainability and this is what I have been asking our government and opposition to do – great move.

Furthermore, I would like to recommend some strategies and good economic practices, which our government and citizens should undertake. Again, let me highlight how fascinating the political environment in SVG is shaping – for me this is the right direction for the country, despite the recent notorious bills introduced by the present government and the ugly picture the opposition painted in the House of Assembly concerning those same bills, amongst other challenges in our political system.

The government should adjust the budget through careful assessment and weighting of its fiscal policy and encourage diversity in the political economic development. The focus here should be on growing crops that would eliminate or reduce importation of goods. Here, the government is obliged to weigh cautiously the difference between cost of import and local production and exportation of good through measurement of the Net Present Value (NPV).

Henceforth, the opposition is asked to work along with the government in making this is a reality, by providing information and ideas, supporting feasible projects undertaken by the government and providing their expertise when needed.

Like the government, citizens must play their roles in developing the political economy of SVG. Here, all citizens are reminded of the touch choices they are faced relative to discretionary spending; eating out, entertainment and new high-tech electronics, and shop smarter by comparing prices.

Conversely, pointing fingers and shifting the blame to score political points does not solve our political economic challenges nor do they bring calm to our issues. Everything we do as a nation should facilitate a compromise and meet in the middle. Meanwhile let us take a textbook page from the American political economic system, the most stable political system in the world. The Republicans have shut down good governance by the Democrats – one of the reasons for doing so is to prove that the present government is unfit to rule while citizens are suffering – let’s not make this mistake. America today, as we all know, is in disarray.

Vincentians, if our political economic arena demonstrates this new trend for years to come we will be on the right path of nation building. This is what I would refer to as striking the balance – a critical balance that sets apart politics and builds our economy.

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