We can become a thriving country!
Freedom Speaks Column
We have lamented the fact that our country has not made much development progress in the last two to three decades and as for that matter the country has regressed in many ways. However, the Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) has not just been pointing out the failures of our country, but we have also been talking about what a DFP government would do. We will now intensify that discussion by launching a series of articles on the kinds of sustainable development policies and strategies that the Dominica Freedom Party will pursue should we get the nod to govern this country once again.
Let us start by laying out the broad vision which we had indicated from time to time in previous articles. The Dominica Freedom Party envisions citizens and residents thriving and living harmoniously with dignity in their land of beauty and splendour – Nature Island of the World. We all want a better quality of life for ourselves but we also want our children and their children to enjoy a better quality of life than we enjoy now.
A strong nation is built by carefully balancing the pursuit of economic, social and environmental policies and strategies that will lead to a better quality of life for all citizens and future generations. But putting in place the appropriate policies and strategies towards optimizing sustainable development, requires a sound understanding of the root causes of our underperformance. In much of my previous work as economist working for regional institutions as well as working as an independent consultant, I have deduced that there are a few root causes or binding constraints that hinder the progress of nations in the Caribbean.
These challenges appear to be common across government ministries and agencies. Moreover, these challenges are also common across countries, but some challenges are more intense in some countries than in others.
These root causes of underperformance in relation to sustainable development or the binding constraints to development includes, limited access to resources; inadequate or ineffective policies and strategies; sub-optimal prioritization of expenditure; inadequate coordination across government agencies and weak national development strategy implementation mechanisms; human resource capacity limitations; poor perception of government; the dominant negative cultural values and attitudes that exist within societies; and bad governance, especially political governance.
It is to be particularly noted that, if bad political governance is pervasive, it undoubtedly accentuates all the other constraints.
The policies and strategies that we will discuss in a number of articles over the course of the rest of 2020 and much of 2021 will be those that seek to address all the challenges listed above. We will divide our discussions under the three major dimensions of sustainable development – the economic, the social and the environmental; but because governance is such a huge influencing root cause of underdevelopment, we will also dedicate a series of discussions to address that area.
Next week we will begin to discuss policies and strategies to spur economic development but it must be recognized that one of the important constraints to be addressed is the negative economic cultures that have become dominant in our land.
Some of the negative economic cultures that can prevent a nation from attaining its full potential are the systemic poverty culture; the passive services culture; the envious culture; the culture of corruption; and the extractive culture.
We had started a discussion on these in February and March 2020, so, next week we will review our discussion on economic cultures and talk about the kinds of strategies that can be employed to reverse them.
If the nation embraces the positive economic cultures - the dream culture and the commonwealth culture, we will do much better. Both negative and positive economic cultures exist in all nations, but it is the dominant cultures that determine a nation's prosperity.
The Dominica Freedom Party understands that our land needs healing. The reality is clear – poverty, high unemployment, low economic vibrancy, weak government fiscal situation, citizens lack of confidence in hospital care, moral and social decay, communities that are not visually attractive, litter in public spaces, indiscriminate dumping, and corrupt political governance among other realities.
The state of our nation is grim and worsening - we all know it! That is why many of our young people want to escape this land! But there is hope and so keep reading our articles over the next twelve months as we lay out for you the path that a DFP government would take to restore dignity to our people.
Kent Vital Political Leader Dominica Freedom Party.