Monday, April 22, 2024

YOU, ME & CSME: Save windows to sea


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IT IS not always that one ought to allow one’s mind to wonder.But at times, it is the thing to do.When, for instance, one passes a bit of beautiful shoreline and expanse of ocean . . . it is the thing to do.Of course in many of our countries these expanses are fewer and fewer – blocked off by a fence, or a house or a hotel for the few to enjoy; for the many to just not have the privilege to partake of its beauty, its calm, its respite from a busy world.Thinking about the thinking that has gone into how we have thought out our tourism-focused spaces, as well as the management of our coastal lands and zones, it is hard to understand why we would block out the beauty that locals and tourists find so delightful.Driving by Atlantic Shores in Barbados recently, my calm delight at the ocean’s blues was jarred as a fence taller than the width of the land it protected eliminated from view the whole corner panorama. Annoyed, I left the south coast thinking, what could tourists be thinking or feeling, after being robbed of the beauty of a simple drive along the coast of the island they paid to visit to enjoy.Barbados is not alone, though, in this planning of our lands, this divesting ourselves of our resources. Tobago, Grenada, Jamaica, and Antigua immediately come to mind. Most of our Caribbean countries have fallen into this hole of resource management that says the best resources should go to the highest bidder, without considering that there are options that have resources held in common and enjoyed in common, that are just as valid, at times, more so.Bold, visionary and trusted leadership is needed to redirect the management of our land resources to one that provides a less selfish, more populous use of our natural resources. OECS Director General Dr Len Ishmael notes that we are so vulnerable to external shocks that we cannot afford to be misusing our competitive advantage in this arena. A priority for us has to be stability, and growth of about seven per cent should be aimed for. Producing primary products, we have learned, will not pay. Our services industries we are looking towards to take us into a space called development. What is needed is an enabling environment that is conducive to growth, one that is transparent and guided by good governance. This would provide more confidence in our economies, and a confidence to invest in our economies. This would make us an extremely attractive destination – for investment, for travel, for repeat travelling to.There are a mix of things that on a short- and long-term projection would deem our countries consistently attractive. Investment in our infrastructure, in our human resources, in our obvious resources, are some that we can build a solid foundation for growth. There are some countries in this region and out, whose national policy will not allow for building on the sea side of any road. They have negotiated and factored general enjoyment and satisfaction into why someone would fly for a week, two or three weeks from a China, a Netherlands, a United States or a Canada, to visit an island or two in the Caribbean. They have reasoned that it is just as efficacious to build a resort on the land side of a beach, leaving the beach open to all, than to block it for the few paying tourists.It is certainly something to ponder inside something we are calling development.• Michelle Cave has done her thesis on the regional integration movement.


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