The Unity Labour Party (ULP) rode to power on the back of the Ottley Hall Marina and Shipyard. One of the first things they did was to set up the infamous Ottley Hall Inquiry, not to find out what went wrong with the financing of the project, but to investigate what the terms of reference said was the ‘failed’ Ottley Hall Project.
They had already concluded that the project had failed even before the project was completed or the Commission of Inquiry had started its deliberations.
There has been no serious interest on the part of the government in making the project work. The New Democratic Party (NDP) will make Ottley Hall Marina and Shipyard work.
After the ULP came to power, they set up the Ottley Hall Inquiry. They wanted to prove that Sir James Mitchell and the NDP were corrupt, but they failed. Sir James and the NDP should be commended for the vision to construct the Ottey Hall Marina and Shipyard because they wanted to promote development in the country. It was all part of the government’s economic diversification programme and a facility that would have generated revenue and employment for the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
We can all accept that the financing arrangement went wrong and we paid a price for it. The government spent millions on the investigation and nothing was found. As a result, the government has left the shipyard to rust and rot. The dry dock has collapsed because of neglect. Why has nothing been done to get the project working? It is a spiteful act by this vindictive ULP government. They made it look like the worst project in the history of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The NDP will make Ottley Hall and Marina and Shipyard work for all Vincentians. We will ensure that the project plays the vital role for which it was constructed, i.e. for; to generate economic growth and development and most importantly, create hundreds of sustainable and skilled jobs for Vincentians, especially for our young people.
There is hope for our youth. It is believed that hundreds of skilled jobs, such as welding, plumbing, electrical work, carpentry, to name a few, will be available at Ottley Hall Marina and Shipyard. Further, with the NDP’s plan to re-engineer the education system and to place tremendous emphasis on technical education, we see the facility as an excellent training centre for students from the Technical College and other TVET programmes.
It is also a superb facility to provide valuable service to local and regional vessels. The amount of money that our nationals spend in neighbouring countries to service and maintain their yachts and ships, could have been spent right here at Ottley Hall. This would have created jobs and much needed revenue to the government.
Ottley Hall Marina and Shipyard cannot succeed under the ULP government. They will not allow it to succeed. The only way it has a chance to realize its full potential is under an NDP government. The NDP is committed to make Ottley Hall Marina and Shipyard work for all Vincentians. We will partner with investors to have the project function effectively, so it will play its part in diversifying the economy which will then generate economic growth and development, and provide sustainable jobs for Vincentians.
The NDP has made it abundantly clear that its priority is to create the environment to provide thousands of sustainable jobs for the youth of this country. We will implement a number of innovative programmes and policies that will create an enabling environment for thousands of jobs to be created. For instance, the revenue earned through our Citizenship by Investment Programme will be an instant game changer for economic growth and development, and job creation. We have seen the tremendous benefits that our neighbouring islands are reaping from that programme.
We have also identified Information Technology as another important area that will provide opportunities for our young people. We will place enormous emphasis on Information Technology to tackle the unemployment situation in this country which exists among our youth.
The NDP will continue to provide the opportunities for higher education for more young Vincentians to obtain degrees at home and abroad; create a diversify scholarship portfolio by providing incentives and scholarships for youth who excel in sports, the arts and extracurricular activities. We will also ensure that meaningful employment is created for these youths after they have completed their studies.
Buccament Bay Resort
Dr. Godwin Friday and the NDP’s top priority are creating jobs and getting St Vincent and the Grenadines working. Under the ULP government, Buccament Bay Resort has been an ongoing failure with several agreements signed over the years with various investors, but nothing actually delivered. This is a mess that needs to be fixed.
The NDP welcomes investors who wish to create jobs locally, and Sandals’ interest in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We need many more projects across St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and not just promises of big projects in some areas. We are wholeheartedly committed to delivering job-creating projects, and when elected, we will work with Sandals as well.
Sandals have signed an agreement with the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines and this should now be made public so it can be properly scrutinized. We expect all legal title matters will be resolved equitably with all parties as part of the process going forward.
Vincentians have an opportunity to change their government this year. Our country is deserving of a government that works throughout the tenure, not just in the last three months.
Dr. Friday’s NDP government will work with Sandals to deliver new jobs and identify more opportunities in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.