CASTRIES, St. Lucia, July 25, CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony is urging nationals residing in the Diaspora to play a more meaningful role in the socio-economic development of St. Lucia.
“Whereas it is very common for remittance flows to go towards families and private investments, this government welcomes challenges by overseas associations to match funding for approved community and social infrastructure in our towns, villages and hamlets,” he told the 15th biennial Convention of the Union of St. Lucian Overseas Associations.
“There are substantial needs to bridge the knowledge divide, particularly in our rural and inner city communities and perhaps this association could be challenged to identify areas for specific intervention, particularly in health and education, where life changing projects can be collaborated along with the state,” he added.
Anthony said while he is aware that there is the will among nationals in North America and Canada and elsewhere to achieve these goals, there was also need to ensure that the efforts are properly coordinated.
He told the Convention of the various initiatives outlined in the 2012-13 national budget presented by his administration earlier this year to which members of the Diaspora can become actively involved.
He said the Small Business Assistance Component of the National Initiative to Create Employment (NICE) provides an avenue for nationals looking for new opportunities.
“This often skilled, tech-savvy remigration population is most welcome as it puts us into a position of brain gain. However, we must always remember that for our economy to grow we must be export oriented, seeking continuously to bring, or encourage inward flows of capital. This is the value proposition that we welcome such budding entrepreneurs to espouse.”
Anthony reminded the Convention that the Diaspora remains a central pillar for moving forward and attracting investment and urged them to use their positions of influence and contact to ensure the socio-economic development of the island.