NDC outlines vision for rural development

“My vision is for a global competitive economy, which capitalises on our natural resources to stimulate the development of enterprise, while securing business opportunities for Grenadians so that they can in turn become economically stable and self-sufficient.”

That is the vision outlined by the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) spokesperson on rural development and Caretaker for St. Andrew South-west constituency, Sylvester Quarless.

Speaking at the weekly NDC press conference in St. George’s on Monday, Quarless, a former Minister of Social Development, cited the need for “balanced rural development” within the tri-island state.

He pointed to what he described as a “depression in the economy,” especially in the rural economy.

“In my Constituency, St. Andrew’s Southwest… there is nothing going on at the moment in terms of agriculture”, he said.

According to Quarless, agriculture is one of the main employment generating sectors in this “particular neck of the woods”.

“…Generally as a whole, the economy in (the parish of) St. Andrew is depressed…in recent times three of the banks have pulled out, a number of small businesses have gone under and if you are living in the area you will wonder if you are living in ghost town…no new businesses surfacing,” he said.

However, the NDC caretaker said, in spite of the despair, there is hope on the horizon.

“I see hope on the horizon, hope in the sense that …we have put forward our policy agenda as to how we intend to tackle these burning issues in St. Andrew’s and Grenada as a whole,” he remarked.

“We intend to pursue a balanced development for our country by showing due regard and sensitivity for rural development in all our parishes…we intend to introduce local government in the case of Carriacou and Petite Martinique so that the people can have a better say in the management of their own affairs,” he said.

Additionally, he said, the NDC will “reintroduce the farm support system” to give farmers an incentive and a “general sense of hope so that they can produce more and provide for their families.

Should the NDC win the upcoming general elections, Quarless said, his mission will be “to facilitate private/public sector partnership that will encourage and support investments in education, skills training and enterprise development, thereby simulating job creation and increased productivity.”

He said, this would be done through an “extensive programme of reforms including the re-socialising of the youth through sports and social education and a focus on increasing transparency to reduce corruption in the public sector/public service (and) to create a road map for sectors which presents the greatest potential for economic development.

Congress is seeking to topple the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell which controls all 15 seats in Parliament.

Speculation is rife that the island could vote in general election before year-end.

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