Tourism And The Debate Over Education

EDITOR, The Tribune.

REGARDLESS of any political differences which might exist between me and the FNM administration, there are two cabinet ministers whom I am constrained to congratulate on performing their portfolios well and beyond expectations.

It is no secret that the Hon Dionisio D’Aguilar (FNM-Free Town), Minister of Tourism & Aviation is my “favourite” FNM minister. With his recent pronouncements on pre-school education and the ongoing construction at the Oakes Field Primary School, et al, the Hon Jeffrey Lloyd (FNM-South Beach), Minister of Education, is rising to the occasion.

Our economic viability depends heavily on tourism and the hospitality industry. Indeed, apart from the financial services sector and banking, tourism is the dominant factor from a pure economic position. The bulk of our people are employed within the tourism field and many of them earn good income while providing an ever increasing level of courteous and professionalism.

When the FNM first came in the Ministry of Tourism was obliged to downsize and rationalise its bloated and, in some cases, unnecessary work force. This, of course, was viewed by many, inclusive of myself, as potential political “victimisation”. I always thought that the manner in which this exercise was done was a bit inhumane and could have been handled better. The MOT is now ticking like a Swiss watch. Visitor arrivals are up and their satisfaction is way up there, unlike before.

Efforts are being made to identify an adequate private sector partner to develop the Prince George Wharf into a world class facility along the lines of NAD over at the Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling International Airport. The former minister and his crew “wasted” millions of dollars in taxpayers monies and we have nothing of value to show for it. Millions more were poured into the MOT headquarters at George Street and the work continues in fits and starts even to this very day. Where is Assistant Commissioner of Police, Paul Rolle, in all of this?

It is a pity that the FNM has not been able to get that hotel over in Freeport up and running but bear in mind that my own party, the PLP, was drop drop waddling with this project for many years and left office with it up in the air.

The PM spoke too soon last year when he predicted the opening of that property for December, 2017. The Pointe, despite the inordinate amount of Chinese labour is on track to open on schedule, creating more domestic employment and the development of condominiums, which must be serviced by locals.

As it relates to education, the minister, who comes across too often as arrogant and patronising, is getting his act together. I loved his remarks about the absolute necessity of placing all of our children into preschool facilities so as to ensure that they have the necessary educational and social skills that are required for successful entry into the formalised public and even private school systems. Without these, as the minister rightly postulated, many of our pre-schoolers are at a stark disadvantage....the results? On a national level....massive drop outs; lack of marketable skills and gross sexual promiscuity.

And so, Ministers D’Aguilar and Lloyd are to be congratulated on performing well within their respective ministries. Whenever the PM shuffles his cabinet, he would do well to retain these two gentlemen with energy; focus and determination, in their respective portfolios. The rest of them are disposable, especially the Attorney General and the Minister of Labour.



April 25, 2018.


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