PHOTOGRAPHY BY: ANEEL KARIM
Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. The Hon. Ralph Gonsalves at the Future of the Caribbean Forum, May 2015, Trinidad and Trinidad.
I believe that currently, diaspora funding to the Caribbean is spent largely on consumption. This has to be transformed so that members of our diaspora are encouraged to become investors and stakeholders in our shared future. We need to work with our diaspora in a more systematic way—offering them opportunities to invest in the region, on the small scale, as well as on a larger level. At the same time, it is also important to see the diaspora as more than a discrete community. We need to think about the extensive networks they have built and find ways to connect more effectively to their wideranging expertise and resources, in order to help move the Caribbean forward.
Our Youth: In the Caribbean, our young people are not the future—they are the present. Young people make up 60-65 percent of the population in most
Caribbean countries. This is a challenge and a gift. We need to involve, engage and see young people as essential partners in realising a Caribbean vision. We need to work with young people as agents of change, helping to shape the direction we take toward 2050. We need to invite and empower them to build the systems they are expected to function in, whether it be the university, business sector or government. For us to realise a vision for the Caribbean by 2050, young people need to be engaged in real dialogue, as drivers of development, not as a lost generation we lecture.
Innovation: The Caribbean’s greatest asset is our people. We are an extremely creative people, with a wonderful spirit that attracts the world to experience and share in our culture. The future for countries like ours is to leverage our human capital. Since we cannot produce on a large scale, we have to encourage innovation.
THE PELICAN/ISSUE 14 –