St Lucia's Survival Options - Nobel Week 2012 Feature Address
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ST LUCIA'S SURVIVAL OPTIONS
Sir Arthur Lewis Lecture 2012
Dr. Didacus Jules
Registrar & CEO
Caribbean Examinations Council
26th January 2012
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I would like to express my thanks to the Her Excellency Dame Dr. Pearlette Louisy
and the Nobel Celebration Committee for this opportunity to share some
reflections on St. Lucia’s survival options in this era of globalization and in the
international context of heightened uncertainty, geo‐strategic re‐alignment and
ecological danger. I would also like to clarify that I speak here tonight as a St.
Lucian and not in my capacity as Registrar of CXC – the views to be expressed here
are my own and not those of CXC.
1 Globalization and the world crisis
The first most important point that needs to be made is that – in today’s world ‐
nothing is purely local anymore. Inter connectedness and interdependence is the
distinguishing feature of our time. As a planet, the earth has always been one
great living organism in which life supports life and the cycle of the seasons are
part of this great universal rhythm. Our capacity to move mountains was
exercised in contradiction to the balancing impulse of Nature. And so by our own
actions we have brought many species including ourselves to the possibility of
Human communication and the progress of technology have also widened and
deepened interconnectedness and interdependence. Globalization of trade and
the internet have opened new channels that connect us inseparably and virtually.
Jeffrey Sachs (2007) speaking at Columbia University on the Future of
Globalization identified four (4) deep drivers of this process as being:
The rise of Asia and the demise of the North Atlantic hegemony – since
the end of the Cold War a profound realignment of global power has been
unfolding and it appears that while the Soviet Empire lost the political war;
the American Empire is now losing the economic war. And it is important
to note that this change in the balance of power and influence does not
represent a collapse of US influence as much as the rise in wealth and
relative power of other countries. Two simple revealing indications of that
geo‐political shift: a few weeks ago the Europeans made an approach to
China for financial support for the European bail‐out and President Obama
headed to Disneyland to make a major speech aimed at promoting tourism
pitched at the BRIC countries.
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Demographic changes – world population is on the increase – projected to
be 9 billion by 2050. The bulk of that increase is in developing countries
and conversely in the developed countries, aging of population is a
significant feature. We are all familiar with the population growth
trajectory in China but what is less recognized is the rebalancing of
population in Africa and the huge demographic increase in the religion of
Islam. It was announced last week that China had finally reached the point
when the majority of its population lives in urban environments.
Urbanization has been a highly inequitable process. Over half of the
world’s population lives in urban areas but account for 75% of global
energy use and 80% of carbon emissions. The top 25 cities produce more
than half the world’s wealth.
Eco‐system pressures – these demographic changes are creating additional
pressure on the old models of economic production that results in an
acceleration of eco‐system pressures: climate change, water stress, food
supply challenges and the loss of both flora and fauna to the encroaching
human species. The competition for the use of resources to fuel economic
growth is immense and unsustainable.
The emergence of failed states – failure of state systems and rational
governance in any part of the world now constitutes a threat to any other
part of the world. Global convergence means that disease not contained
can spread; violence and genocide create unmanageable refugee problems
for neighbouring states (Haiti in our Caribbean); nuclear proliferation in
unstable regimes creates instability within and beyond their regions.
The globalization of labour markets – St. Lucian expert on migration based
at UWI Mona, Dr. Natacha Mortley has added a fifth driver to Sach’s 4
drivers and has argued that the transnationalization of labour markets is a
major feature of the globalization phenomenon in our time. This is most
trenchantly expressed in international outsourcing models, wholescale
migrant labour and borderless employment (e.g. the Cruise Industry).
All of this is fundamentally changing the nature of things as we know them. The
world in 2012 is a very different place from 1980. In small things big changes
have occurred that have altered our frames of reference for ever. Mail is no
longer something that we send through the post; personal addresses are less and
less physical and more virtual. As James Huggings expressed it in “Remember
When”: there was a time when a computer was something you saw in Sci Fi films,
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a window was something you hated to clean, ram was the cousin of a goat, an
application was for employment, a cursor used profanity, memory was something
you lost with age, a CD was a bank account, and if you had a 3 ½ inch floppy you
hoped no one found out..
In today’s world, the key to progress is transformation – i.e. whole systems
change. Incremental change can no longer provide the impetus for survival in a
turbulent environment. We are like swimmers in a turbulent sea of heavy rolling
waves and unpredictable currents with fatal undertows. In such an environment,
it is not simply about your ability to swim and to tread water but your capability
to ride the crests of the most threatening waves to that safer shore. And the
technologies of today provide such enabling potential.
There are very dramatic recent indicators and evidence of the transformational
possibilities in the spread of new technologies. Popular uprisings against
oppression are the dynamic of history but what is qualititatively different today is
the empowering role of technology in this process. Facebook facilitated the Arab
spring going viral and providing an organizing space outside the sphere of control
of the state.
It has been predicted that the coming decade could signal the rise of Africa – the
next emerging economic space. Accounting for 14% of the world population, its
GDP growth has averaged 5.7% over the past decade and is projected to average
7% over the next 20 years. Its population is expected to account for 20% of world
population. Chinese investment in Africa will boost extractive industry but the
real growth opportunities lie in new industries that are enabled by modern
technologies. Foremost among them is mobile communication. Ten years ago
most of the Sub‐Saharan countries were disadvantaged by the poor
communications infrastructure; landlines were antiquated and not widely
available; mobile was prohibitively expensive. Today Africa has leapfrogged even
some of the developed countries, bypassing the need for the old wired
technology, and has moved to cellular communication. 90% of all phones in Africa
are mobile phones and by the end of this year, there will be 735 million mobile
subscribers in Africa. Even more impressive than the raw statistics are the social
demographics of usage and the ways in which the technology is being deployed.
African farmers and artisans are using mobiles to receive market intelligence that
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guides their production and supply efforts, housewives are using it for electronic
cash transfers, fishermen are utilizing GPS capabilities...
2 The essential challenges that we face
This process of global convergence that we have just reviewed is impacting or has
profound implications for St. Lucia whether we accept this or not. These global
currents at the least limit the options that are available to us in the Caribbean as
small vulnerable economies and at worst, they directly impact livelihoods and
jobs, the cost of living, and the type of future that is open to us.
But while it is important to understand these trends and tendencies, it is more
important to have a factual understanding of ourselves because it is that self‐
awareness that will enable us to reposition ourselves and establish our priorities.
Secondly we need to appreciate that the old distinction between short‐term,
medium term and long term actions and priorities is being increasingly eroded –
uncertainty and the pace of change in today’s world are so rapid and extensive,
that action is now compressed into what we must do now to stem current crises
and what we must do now to lay the basis for a different tomorrow. Even our
short term actions must be infused by some strategic intent so that what we do
today does not shortchange our possibilities for tomorrow.
The essential challenges that we face are centered in three spheres: the political,
the social and the economic; although sometimes these challenges cannot be
simply reduced to any one of these categories. The problem of drugs in
Caribbean society for example is indistinguishably a political, economic and social
fracture because it distorts wealth creation in society, breeds criminality, subverts
our political processes, fuels addiction and abuse (impacting health), corrupts our
social morality and destroys vital community and family structures. So in
addressing essential challenges, we must recognize the need for comprehensive
multisectoral solutions that tackle the problem from many angles and not
What is the essence of these challenges?
Political – the long term historical project of building democracy and shaping
governance. This challenge, as we shall see, goes way beyond the
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tribal and the temporal partisan issues of who governs when to the
more critical issue of the institutional and cultural architecture in
which we nurture the empowerment of citizens.
‐ ultimately about the quality of community and family in society. The
big picture is how well we live together – the quality of life is more a
function of the quality of human interaction and solidarity than
determined by wealth
Economic ‐ how we earn and produce. The big picture is how happy are we with
our options for achieving these. The real picture should ideally be
jobs and livelihoods from which individuals derive a sense of self‐
worth, fulfilment and the capacity for personal economic
Another imperative that we face in the realm of the political is the challenge of
making sense of the regional integration project. The early shapers of the dream
of a united Caribbean were very clear that the viability of individual nations could
only be assured within a collective framework; that our capacity to survive and
thrive in an uncaring international environment depended on our preparedness
to live, work and act together. Errol Barrow spoke in 1986 of the “absolute
necessity to promote and defend the solidarity and sovereignty of this regional
Caribbean family and also the absolute obligation to discover those strategies
which will ultimately lead to unity of action in all major areas of our economic,
social and political life”. Sir Arthur himself in his acceptance address of the Nobel
Prize in 1979 asserted the importance of some political convergence as a
necessary condition for balanced growth:
“Advocates of the balanced growth alternative are also always
advocates of political federation or unions of states; in the absence of
such a political framework the criticism of growth via exports rests on
unspoken and non‐existent alternatives”
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3 The driving imperatives and the options available
We are a highly opinionated society – everyone has a perspective which they hold
to be true often on the basis of anecdotal conjecture. Understanding where we
stand in St. Lucia must be based not on supposition but on empirical data and
fact. And decision making must be based on hard reality if we are to successfully
transform our condition.
Allow me to present some snapshots that paint the statistical reality of the local
situation in each sphere of challenge. I will also point to very critical immediate as
well as strategic imperatives derived from these facts which must be addressed if
our future is to be assured.
I spoke earlier about the historical project of building democracy. The essence of
this is inculcating a sense of citizenship – a sense, embedded deep in the psyche
of individual St. Lucians, of belonging and inalienable ownership of this country.
That this does not currently exist within the general population is the
consequence of a number of factors ranging from disillusionment with the tribal
divisiveness of our party politics, to the disillusionment of unemployment, to the
absence of historical awareness.
An examination of electoral statistics over the last five elections (1992‐2011)
reveals that – with the exception of 1997 – a greater percentage of the electorate
has chosen not to vote than than the percentage voting for either of the main
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is a vital narrative embedded in this picture with profound lessons for all political
parties that necessitates an explanation of these patterns of voter behaviour. The
non voting percentage is significant enough to raise troubling questions about the
future of democracy in St. Lucia, the engagement of citizens in shaping their
future and the character of the national agenda.
The exception displayed in 1997 also requires deep reflection and analysis as it
suggests that voter disenchantment IS a reversible condition. Under what
circumstances? Only when credibility and confidence in a different future can be
This pattern is not unique – voter disenchantment is a growing worldwide
phenomenon. In the recent Jamaican election, it was reported that voter turn out
(despite the wide parliamentary margin) was the lowest since 1949. In our 2011
election, the SLP prevailed with 50% of the votes cast against 46% for the UWP.
The wider picture is that 43% of the St. Lucian electorate did not vote while SLP’s
share of the total electorate was 28% and UWP’s 26%.
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If we are concerned about the future of this country, this reality must be the
subject of deep introspection and critical scrutiny by all political forces. Too many
St. Lucians are failing to exercise their right to vote – a right earned by the blood
of our foreparents.
Prime Minister Anthony is on record as calling for voter education. This is
understandable in light of the closeness of the count in some polling areas and
the relatively significant number of spoilt ballots. The inability of many citizens to
competently make their electoral mark points to a bigger problem of functional
competencies in navigating the everyday world of print. This is more than simply
a literacy issue in the traditional sense. That same deficit is expressed in the
inability to fill out everyday forms, to understand and act on simple directions, to
systematically and sequentially follow instructions, to discriminate between
Where do we start this process of reconstructing citizens? It must happen at
many levels simultaneously. A sense of civic responsibility and historical
awareness must be developed from early. Even from the kindergarten classroom,
our children must learn responsibility by being given responsibility. Our
pedagogies of instruction in schools must help create voice for students –
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challenge their thinking, enlist their creativity, foster their curiosity. Student
Councils should be a formal structure in the governance of secondary schools. At
the level of the curriculum, the teaching of history and social studies must find
practical expression in community projects that a) expose students to the
governance mechanisms of the society (visits to Parliament, Govt departments
etc) b) engage students in national service and community development
initiatives. The recent publication of A History of St. Lucia by Harmsen, Ellis and
Devaux is a timely initiative that can lend substance to this educational thrust in
schools and in adult continuing education.
Examined in the wider context of electoral participation, the challenge is
therefore deeper than the mechanics of voting and points to the imperative of
revitalizing the democratic tradition and the reconstruction of our governance.
Michael Harrisi provides some critical theoretical pointers on what governance is
and why it is so important:
“Governance is not government… [Government] refers to the group
of men and women who hold office at any particular time, the
policies they pursue and the decisions that they make. Governance
on the other hand, goes beyond the functions of government and
refers primarily to the relationship between the people and their
government and to how this relationship affects and is affected by,
the processes by which governments make their policies and decisions
and seek to implement them... Good governance does not guarantee
good government but good government is not possible in the absence
of good governance”.
Harris speaks of 4 pillars of good governance:
1. Information ‐ the right to a free press and transparency
2. Consultation ‐ structures which allow citizens to express their views in
a systematic manner on issues affecting them
3. Participation – direct engagement of people in the processes of
government such as a more empowered form of local government
4. Accountability – the exercise of oversight and control
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Constitutional reform must take account of these pillars so that the architecture
of governance is strengthened. People’s participation must be shaped so that
citizens assume responsibility as easily and as equally as they exercise rights.
Alongside governance, the construction of identity is a matter of grave urgency.
Listening to recent news on Nigeria where Muslim extremists have declared war
on both the state and Christians we see a sad example of what happens when
sectarian identities supercede national identity. We all inhabit multiple tribes ‐
political, religious, social etc but there must be an overarching and inclusive
affiliation which constitutes our elemental identity.
In St Lucia, each of us is SLP or UWP or no P; we are Catholic or Adventist or
Evangelical; we are Rotary or Mothers & Fathers or some other group. But none
of these associations, by themselves, define us. In an ideal democratic
environment, it is our NATIONAL identity that provides the all‐embracing marker
that should bind us all.
The question we must ask ourselves is whether the nation state in the Caribbean
is capable of forging such an identity in the age of facebook? And this issue is
directly related to the arithmetic of elections that we earlier explored.
We are in grave and present danger of allowing our political and (to a lesser
extent) religious tribal affiliations to direct our national identity. The Caribbean
Heads of Government defined in 1997 the characteristics of the Ideal Caribbean
Person but it is regrettable that this philosophical statement has not been
appropriated by our education systems, our governance structures, and our
agencies of civil society as the guiding signpost towards a Caribbean civilization.
The following graphics depict the construction of our key identities showing how
the predominance of a particular affiliation will provide distinctive texture to our
expressed identity. This is not an abstraction – we can think of particular
individuals whom we know who illustrate by their words and in their deeds the
identity types depicted here. The Lucian Nationalist for example is someone
whose affiliation of national identity is far stronger than their political allegiance
or their religious association or their sense of Caribbeanness. More often this
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identity type is found outside of St. Lucia – and is strongest among persons who
faced with their otherness in the Diaspora, find refuge in nationalist expressions
of identity as a zone of comfort and validation. The Partisan Lucian places the
greatest valuation on the political tribe and is most forceful in their expression of
nationalism when their party is in power – so their recognition of and
participation in national events (Independence etc) correspond to the cycles of
On the economic front, Leon and Smithii (2011) at the First Caribbean Roundtable
on Development asserted that:
“For Caribbean economies to realize growth with equity, we have to
reframe our thinking about growth, and we must recalibrate our
socio‐political‐economic strategies in the context of global
competitiveness. A holistic approach to growth requires strong
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policies for macroeconomic stability, a proactive effort to foster
competitiveness against global partners, a social agenda that can be
communicated and received as reasonably fair, if not equitable, and a
governance structure to engender trust and respect authority. The
imperative to act is urgent; the question is do governments and the
people of the region have the will to see this through in a timely
It should be noted that Gene Leon is Resident Representative for the IMF in
Jamaica (and, I might add, a St. Lucian economist of the highest distinction). The
prescription being proposed addresses the three domains that I referenced earlier
in a formula that speaks to growth + equity + a recalibrated political‐social and
economic strategy; contextualized with competitiveness.
Employment and sustainable livelihoods are the keys to development and equity
in the Caribbean today. As the economic crisis deepens in the OECD countries,
addressing unemployment and creating jobs of lasting value will be an increasing
challenge for small vulnerable economies such as ours.
The reality of the challenge is conveyed in the following statistics from the St.
Lucia Government Statistics Department:
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Between 2001 and 2010, our population increased at a rate of 5% but the labour
force increased by 15%. A positive note was the increased participation of
women in the labour force which largely accounted for the increase in the Labour
Force Participation Rate from 61.5% to 67.8%.
The matter of grave and urgent concern is the unemployment rate which
increased in 2010 to 20.6% ‐ a total of 17,607 persons outside the rhythm of
Why must we address the large unemployment problem? For many reasons:
Work is the foundation of society, family and self worth ‐ 17,000+
unemployed persons means 17,000+ individuals who have no legitimate
means of earning a living
Providing employment is to broaden our economy with more hands at
work, increased production and a bigger national pie. It is to create an
earning capacity for the 17,000+ who will enter the cash economy, buying
food, clothing and other goods and services
Conversely 17,000+ unemployed is 17,000+ individuals locked out of the
economy and a large potential pool that sooner or later will be drawn to
take by force what they can’t earn with pride.
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These are the basic reasons why our private sector must see the issue of job
creation as a critical element of doing business and why they must play a
proactive partnership role. Removing unemployment is expanding demand in the
market, it is reducing the incentive for crime, and it is creating sustainable
Of course it is not quite as easy and simple as this ‐ because the jobs created must
be productive, they must add value to the economy it they are to be sustainable.
But I have deliberately engaged in this simplification so that we keep the big
picture and the essential principles in mind.
The 2010 Census provides an instructive picture of the configuration of
employment in St. Lucia which highlights why the solution to solving
unemployment must involve a far stronger relationship between Government and
the Private Sector (including the self employed). 77% of the employment in this
country is provided by the Private Sector; 18% by the Public Service and 5% by the
civic sector. This brings into question the assumption of overemployment in the
public sector – undoubtedly there is room for rationalization and efficiencies but
the ratio of private sector to public sector employment is not as distorted as
popular opinion believes. The next level of analysis of this data would be to
examine the type of employment and determine whether the majority of these
jobs represent sustainable livelihoods. What are the factors likely to affect these
jobs in the future? Does our job type profile show an economy geared for 21st
Century growth or are we standing on the shifting sands of jobs on their way to
My argument centers on what we need to do to address the knowledge, skills and
attitude requirements to empower that 17,000+ not simply to find but to create
and to keep jobs in a volatile globalized economic climate. In other words, how
do we educate for today and tomorrow? How do we reposition that army of the
unemployed for more sustainable job possibilities in niche areas of the global
economy and how do we educate our children so that they grow up secure and
confident in the assertion of their Caribbean identity but thinking and acting
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We can only begin to frame answers to such questions from a clear and rational
understanding of exactly who is the population of St. Lucia and how that
population is segmented.
We are fortunate to have one of the most advanced Departments of Statistics in
the Caribbean headed and staffed by professionals who are widely respected in
the region and beyond for the quality of the data collection and analysis that they
undertake. But that data intelligence must be utilized for the purposes of a better
understanding of our population trends and characteristics and their implications
for tomorrow which must be addressed today. If we are to put our people at the
center of the development agenda, then it must start from a clear understanding
of the multiple complexions of the St. Lucian populace and the needs which must
Allow me to skip some of the more basic population indicators such as size of
population, age composition etc to delve into particular elements of its
composition which carry deep implications for how we shape our survival and
developmental options (and I wish to also express my indebtedness to my
esteemed colleague Edwin St. Catherine for assisting with the excavation of these
How do we earn?
Women’s participation in the labour force has inceased in the past decade
As indicated earlier, the private sector is the engine of employment in St.
Lucia providing 77% of the jobs, the public sector 18% and the civic sector
5%. Within the private sector job cluster the self employed made up 31%.
In the past decade there has been a drastic decline in employment in the
agricultural sector (dropping from 22% in 1994‐2000 to 12% in 2007) and in
manufacturing from 10% to 6%.
On the other hand, construction related employment increased from 9% to
13% and tourism from 9% to 12%.
St Catherine (2011) identifies some other details which imply strong policy
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These indicators suggest vital strategic initiatives which need to be addressed if
we are to improve our survival chances and become competitive. The
Equal pay for equal work legislation to remove discrimination of women;
The shaping and implementation of public sector reform as an urgent
challenge of modernization in consultation with the public sector unions.
That this sector employs the most professionals and technicians suggests
that the introduction of efficiency and effectiveness measures on current
levels of employment could have a major impact on the conduct of
government business and the satisfaction of citizens
A review of other service sectors which provide significant employment for
professionals and semi‐professionals (such as ICT and professional services)
to determine what is required to increase opportunity in these areas while
nudging them to more tertiary levels of operation (e.g. from data entry
operations to applications development).
Joint strategies with the private sector to upskill in the large employment
sectors (e.g. agriculture and construction) to increase productivity and
output particularly where they can impact import substitution or foreign
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The Challenge of poverty
The interconnectedness of factors that translate social vulnerability to
crime and disease must be taken into account in shaping our survival
options. A starting point is the convergence of data available from the
census and from a multitude of studies to infuse these strategies with
multisectoral breadth and depth.
The poverty map of St. Lucia brings together in a Geographic Information
System format the available data on poverty level and other social
indicators for all communities in St Lucia.
The converging of these data sets – poverty, demographics, infrastructure – will
provide unquestionable indications of what needs to be done where, with whom,
for whom and how. The envied success of countries like Singapore and Finland
are not the outcome of hit and miss policy but the consequence of well conceived
social and economic engineering and strategizing. We have the tools and the
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human capacity to define our own destiny in our own image and likeness instead
of slavishing seeking to mimic, import and replicate.
All of the poverty reports consistently identify Gros Islet and Castries as the
districts of relative privilege – highest educational attainment, highest degrees of
access to the internet, greatest density of computers within households and so
on. Examination of the poverty map in more granular detail however reveals
pockets of depravation such as Americ and Assou Canal in Gros Islet and Trou
Rouge, Faux a Chaux and Bagatelle in Castries.
The deeper excavation of the data confirms that Castries is a capital in urban
decay... the population of Castries City and Castries suburban declined in the past
decade by 66.5% and 28.6% respectively, while Castries rural increased by 62.5% ‐
the lure and the illusion of opportunity in the City.
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remarkable consistency about the geography of disadvantage in St. Lucia.
Whether viewed from the perspective of internet access:
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Or viewed from the perspective of educational level:
Juxtaposed against this disturbing picture of low attainment of higher education
and the rural disadvantage is the hemorrhaging of the most educated at
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The brain drain which now constitutes a major human resource challenge for
many developing economies will remain a permanent demographic tendency
until we are able to provide sustainable opportunity and a quality of life that
makes people want to remain or to return home. Caribbean policymakers are
becoming increasingly conscious of the value and potential of the Caribbean
Diaspora as focal points for penetration of metropolitan markets, as
concentrations of patriotic goodwill and as an economic resource. Caribbean
people have always been a migrant people and we must embrace the migration
phenomenon as the connecting passage between individual ambition and
collective progress. Far greater than the receipt of remittances is the potential for
direct diasporic investment – a more dependable form of foreign direct
investment. Indeed Sir Arthur once asserted that given a choice between
domestic capital and foreign capital, our preference should always be the
domestic investment and the Diaspora represents that native accumulation of
foreign earnings that could move us from beggars to shapers of our own destiny.
Associated with Sir Arthur’s call for the preferencing of domestic capital, is the
contemporary necessity of aggressively supporting and promoting the
entrepreneurial outliers in our Caribbean. There are an increasing number of
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indigenous Caribbean corporations that have, against all odds, transformed
themselves into globally competitive enterprises. Here in St. Lucia we have Baron
Foods which has gained regional and international recognition for the quality of
its manufactured food products and which enjoys distributorships across the
entire Caribbean as well as the US, Canada, Germany, the UK and France.
Companies like SM Jaleel in Trinidad & Tobago with subsidiaries in five major
Caribbean countries (Jamaica, Barbados, Surinam, Guyana, St. Lucia), but also in
South Africa, India and Saudi Arabia. Their extensive marketing network spans 8
states in the US, 10 countries in Latin America, 10 provinces in Canada, 2
countries in Europe, 17 countries of the Caribbean and their products are sold in
over 60 countries worldwide. The Jaleel example is also illustrative of the
dynamic between competitiveness and innovation because this
internationalization of operations would not have been possible without
innovation – they were the first drinks manufacturer worldwide to can juices
without preservatives using liquid nitrogen (1983) and they designed the lightest
weight plastic bottle in the world (1993). And just this week in the news was the
thrust by Rituals to open 50 Ritual Coffee Houses in India, and expansion into
Nigeria, Guatemala, El Salvador and the United Arab Emirates. A major effort of
Ministries of Trade in the region should be the facilitation and support to such
entities and the integration of their production base with primary agricultural
products grown in the region.
4 Human resource development (education +
employment/entrepreneurship) the CORE element of any strategy...
From the decade of the 70’s we have repeated the mantra that the most
important thing in the development of a country is the development of its people
but we have never undertaken an analysis of national development priorities
from the empirical starting point of who are the people, what are their
characteristics and what are their needs.
The examination of the truths embedded in the 2010 national census should
support the conclusion that Education is the CORE factor in development and that
unless we address human capacity social and economic progress is hamstrung.
Sir Christopher Ball put this succinctly:
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"the quality of the education and training of the workforce is the
single most important characteristic in determining economic
competitiveness. Though not by itself a sufficient condition, a world‐
class workforce is certainly a necessary condition for national
economic success. Learning pays ‐ and nothing much else does so, as
we move towards the twenty first century."
An intense focus on the nexus between education, human resource development
and employment/entrepreneurship is the core element in the integrated
strategies that were first enunciated by Sir Arthur and echoed by a succession of
St. Lucian economists including Leon already cited and then proposed by
d’Auvergne with the Quadrant development plan under Sir John Compton.
An underlying subtext of this discussion is that equity is essential – no society can
survive and thrive without providing opportunity for all. Diffferent ideologies
have taken divergent approaches to how this is to be achieved but it widely
accepted that compensatory mechanisms are necessary. All of the census
statistics that we have reviewed tonight cry out for equity – geographical equity,
educational equity, job equity, equity in the provision of public goods and
And in the sphere of education, there is a relationship of equity to quality. We
cannot speak about quality without attending to equity. If we examine the
statistics of performance in education anywhere in the Caribbean including St
Lucia, we will find that social and economic disadvantage always work against
performance… rural and poor is a real disadvantage and it takes an exceptional
ability coupled with strong home support inspite of these hurdles to triumph..
that is why if we are serious about improving quality we must make equity a
primary consideration. Interestingly one of the key architects of the successful
transformation of education in Finland Pasi Sahlbergiii recently reported that in his
view, the most important dimension of that effort was the emphasis on equity:
“Decades ago when the Finnish school system was badly in need of
reform, the goal of the program that Finland instituted, resulting in
so much success today, was never excellence. It was equity.”
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The configuration of the Ministry of Education with HRD and Labour makes the
challenge of articulating this integrated human resource strategy and people
focus easier and allows for the multi‐sectoral assault on inequity, low educational
and inadequate skill levels.
The essence of that challenge is summarized in this slide:
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I want to conclude with a quotation from a facebook post by a young St. Lucian
Loverly Sheridan who is destined for distinction – a world traveller and author.
Her aspiration summarizes all what I have tried to say about our survival options:
“Throughout my travels and even as i´m living abroad, i´ve always
maintained a great sense of pride as a Saint Lucian, and continue to
find ways to uplift and showcase us as a people. We are truly a
unique and beautiful people. As a child, i loved to read. It helped fuel
I want to get kids reading again. I want to make it fun, and help them
to be able to identify with the characters in the book. I want them to
have a sense of pride of who they are, and not feel like they have to
seek it in other cultures. I can already see how we are losing our
sense of who we are as a people. I want them to know that there is a
whole world out there, and it is theirs to see and conquer.
I want them to know that there are great schools not only in North
America, but in China, Africa, India, Australia, Japan, and other places
in the world. The opportunities are endless, if they are willing to
apply and believe in themselves, work hard, and have faith. I want
them to know that they are not limited to any space or place, or even
their circumstance and that the world is evolved enough to
accomodate and educate us all!
I want them to dream knowing that their dreams can come true, and
that they can achieve anything they set their minds to!”
Loverly’s impulse is that of a St. Lucian who has seen and is interpreting the wider
world – like Walcott ‐ from the rooted comfort of her own culture and who
wishes to share that understanding. Her elemental lesson is that the world is a
global village with many pathways and that we are as beautiful and as capable as
any who walk them. But ability to turn options into reality depends on the
assuredness of our self‐awareness, the power of our dreams and the conviction of
P a g e | 29
our aspirations. On this journey, we must be guided also by Naipaul’s ominous
reminder that “the world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow
themselves to become nothing, have no place in it.”
Harris, M. “The Political Foundations of Economic Transformation” in Trinidad & Tobago Review, Dec 2011. Pp 12-13.
Leon, H. And Smith, R. “Macroeconomic Stability and Growth with Equity.” Paper presented at First Caribbean Development
Round Table, Trinidad & Tobago, Sept 13 2011.
Partanen, A. “What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland's School Success” in
ST. LUCIA’S SURVIVAL OPTIONS
2012 Sir Arthur Lewis
Dr. Didacus Jules
– THE CORE OPTION
End of North Atlantic hegemony/Rise of Asia
Over 1 2 of world ‘s
population lives in urban
areas but account for
75% of global
80% of global
Top 25 cities create more
than half of world wealth
Population growth = increased pressure for resource exploitation
Violence + genocide
Instability and nuclear proliferation
Globalization of Labour Markets
cruise ship industry)
‐ Dr. Natacha Mortley 2012
4 Deep Drivers of Globalization +:
The end of the North Atlantic hegemony/Rise of Asia
Globalization of labour markets
Sachs, Jeffrey (2007) The Future of Globalization http://www.academicearth.org/lectures/the‐future‐of‐globalization
A Poem About Technology
A computer was something on TV
From a sci fi show of note.
A window was something you hated to clean
And ram was the cousin of goat.
Meg was the name of my girlfriend
And gig was a job for the nights.
Now they all mean different things
And that really mega bytes.
An application was for employment.
A program was a TV show.
A curser used profanity.
A keyboard was a piano.
Compress was something you did to the
Not something you did to a file.
And if you unzipped anything in public
You'd be in jail for a while.
Log on was adding wood to the fire.
Hard drive was a long trip on the road.
A mouse pad was where a mouse lived.
And a backup happened to your commode.
Cut you did with a pocket knife.
Paste you did with glue.
A web was a spider's home.
And a virus was the flu
Memory was something that you lost with age.
A CD was a bank account.
And if you had a 3 1/2" floppy
You hoped nobody found out.
The danger of the single story
“the absolute necessity to
promote and defend the
sovereignty of this
family and also the absolute
obligation to discover those
strategies which will
ultimately lead to unity of
action in all major areas
of our economic, social
and political life”
Rt. Hon. Errol Barrow 1986
“Advocates of the balanced growth
alternative are also always advocates of
political federation or unions of
states; in the absence of such a political
framework the criticism of growth via
exports rests on unspoken and non‐existent
‐ Sir Arthur Lewis – The Nobel Lecture 1979
"Sir Arthur Lewis ‐ Prize Lecture". Nobelprize.org. 23 Dec 2011
HISTORICAL VOTING PATTERNS 1992‐2011
PARTICIPATION IN ELECTORAL PROCESS & PARTY SHARE
Jamaica turnout ‐
just over 50%
Lowest since ‘49
% votes cast
Governance on the other hand,
goes beyond the functions of
government and refers primarily to
the relationship between
the people and their
government and to how this
relationship affects and is affected
by, the processes by which
governments make their
policies and decisions and
seek to implement them
THE IDEAL CARIBBEAN PERSON
THE LUCIAN NATIONALIST
THE PARTY LOYALIST
“For Caribbean economies to realize growth with equity, we
have to reframe our thinking about growth, and we must
recalibrate our socio‐political‐economic strategies in
the context of global competitiveness. A holistic approach to
growth requires strong policies for macroeconomic stability,
a proactive effort to foster competitiveness against global
partners, a social agenda that can be communicated and
received as reasonably fair, if not equitable, and a governance
structure to engender trust and respect for authority. The
imperative to act is urgent; the question is do governments and
the people of the region have the will to see this through in a
Leon & Smith 2011
Census Labour Force Indicators, 2001 and 2010
Household Population 15yrs & Over
Employed Labour Force
% of Population Under 15 years
Labour Force as a % of Household Population
Labour Force Participation Rate
Source: Saint Lucia Population & Housing Census 2010
Population increase of 5%; labour force increase by 15%
Increase in Labour Force Participation Rate from 61.5% to 67.8%, reflecting
increasing participation of women in the labour force
Number of persons
Employment by Industry Group
Agriculture from 22% to 12%
Manufacturing from 10% to
Construction from 9% to 13%
Tourism from 9% to 12%
Other sectors from 50% to
Poverty map makes
the case graphically
pockets of poverty
by community –
Gros Islet town
The changing dynamic of the Capital
urban flight = urban decay?
Estimated Estimated Estimated Change:
Household Household Household 1991 to
Population Population Population
Percentage of households without internet connection by District
2001 vs 2010
…an IT infrastructure issue…
Castries Anse La
Canaries Soufriere Choiseul Laborie
Source: Saint Lucia Population & Housing Census 2010
• Internet is the superhighway of C21 – rural access an
• Measures for increasing access to the internet without
ownership of computer critical short term imperative
Source: Saint Lucia Population & Housing Census 2010
Population by Highest Level of Formal Education and District, 2001 &
LEVEL OF EDUCATION
Castries Castries Castries Anse La
Canaries Soufriere Choiseul Laborie
Dennery Gros Islet Average
Percentage of Population 2010
Pre-primary (Infant) or
Upper Secondary (Forms 4
Post Secondary, Non-Tertiary
Source: Saint Lucia Population & Housing Census 2010
Inter-Census Emigrant Population by Education
migrated in last 10
Source: Saint Lucia Population & Housing Census 2010
"the quality of the education and
training of the workforce is the single
most important characteristic in
competitiveness. Though not by itself a
sufficient condition, a world‐class workforce
is certainly a necessary condition for national
economic success. Learning pays ‐ and
nothing much else does so, as we move
towards the twenty first century."
Sir Christopher Ball
“Decades ago when the Finnish school
system was badly in need of reform, the
goal of the program that Finland
instituted, resulting in so much success today,
was never excellence. It was equity.”
Pasi Sahlberg (Finland)
Population by Highest Level of Formal Education 2010
Adult Continuing Education & Opportunity
"The world is what it is; men who are
nothing, who allow themselves to become
nothing, have no place in it.“
VS Naipaul (A Bend in the river)