It All Begins With You(th) … NCPC Empowerment Series Continues

Sons and daughters of Saint Lucia;

Love the land that gave us birth;

Land of beaches, hills and valleys;

Fairest isle of all the earth!

If you were to ask the average Saint Lucian, “What does patriotism mean to you?” very few would be able limit their response to just one answer.

Patriotism, is a word which evokes so many thoughts and feelings. For a small island nation like Saint Lucia, coloured by a rich history of trials, triumphs and resilience, patriotism has evolved to mean so much more than pure love, loyalty and devotion to the ‘land that gave us birth.’

Today, when we speak of patriotism, the following questions come to mind; “How can we can help our country to grow and develop? What value can we add to our country? How can we improve/enhance the way things are done? How can we ensure that the generations that follow will be able to enjoy the same (if not better) quality of living than what we currently enjoy today?”  

In the National Competitiveness & Productivity Council’s (NCPC’s) quest to fulfil its mandate of promoting greater awareness of productivity and competitiveness in St. Lucia, significant emphasis is being placed on cultivating an environment which fosters/encourages the necessary mindset change required for an improvement in productivity.

Consequently, on the eve of Saint Lucia’s 38th Independence Anniversary celebrations, the Council relaunched its “Empowerment Series.” The series which was officially launched last year, targets youth island-wide and seeks to encourage them to embrace the attitudes and values which will lead Saint Lucia into a more productive future.

The boys of the St. Aloysius R.C. Boys Primary School were the eager audience to the NCPCs first Empowerment presentation for 2017.  Anybody passing by the school on Monday, February 20th, would have been treated to a chorus of over 400 boys, clad in their black and blue school uniforms, proudly belting out the verses of the Saint Lucian National Anthem.

img_20170220_091901

Scores of R.C. Boys look on in interest

Like many other schools on island, the activities at the all-boys primary school earmarked for this week  centred on the island’s observance of its 38th Independence Anniversary.

The week was ushered in with a school assembly, which sought to highlight the country’s journey towards independence. Co-ordinator of the assembly and Teacher Ms. Wheatney Francis, animatedly narrated the history of Saint Lucia; from being inhabited by the Amerindians, to colonialism and the Anglo-French wars to gaining Associate Statehood and eventually independence from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 1979.

Ms. Francis’ narration set the perfect tone for the lively presentation on ‘Productivity and patriotism’, by Ms. Renita Shivnauth, which ensued. Ms. Shivnauth, 2013 Junior Tourism Minister, a public speaker and NCPC Productivity Ambassador, warmly greeted the “Sons [] of Saint Lucia” and immediately caught their attention.

img_20170220_092125

Productivity Ambassador, Ms. Renita Shivnauth addresses R.C. boys

In addressing the young boys, Shivnauth explained how words of the national anthem, a symbol of national pride, which they were all quite familiar with, was also a blueprint for living a productive life. The boys looked on with interest, excited to hear more.

Renita emphasized that by the very act of going to school and acquiring knowledge and skills, these young men were preparing to make a contribution toimg_20170220_092128 the country. She said, “Boys, you each have an important role to play in our country’s growth. For our country to thrive you must continue to work hard and understand that each of your actions, no matter how small has an impact on not just your future but that of your country. You do not have to wait to be older to be productive. I want to encourage you to dream now. Set goals and continue to pursue these goals until you have achieved them. You are the future of Saint Lucia.”

The presentation by Ms. Shivnauth was very appropriate particularly in light of the theme for Saint Lucia’s 38th Independence Anniversary; “I Am Saint Lucia”. The theme encourages deep reflection on not just what patriotism means but what is required of us as patriots and citizens of Saint Lucia. As we reflect on our roles, the link between productivity and patriotism is further brought to light.

Advertisements

Patriotism: The Foundation of Productivity and Competitiveness

 

independence-banner-2“Your pride for your country should not come after your country becomes great; your country becomes great because of your pride in it” Idowu Koyenikan.  The end result of increases in productivity and enhanced competitiveness is a better standard of living for the average citizen.  Put simply, productivity means making the best use of the available resources to achieve a better outcome. Competitiveness on the other hand, focuses on developing optimal conditions in the country that promote economic well being. These two concepts are closely linked as increases in productivity in a country will lead to a competitive economy.

To the average businessman, vendor, farmer or civil servant these terms may seem very abstract and may not be relatable to them. However, it is important that our citizens collectively understand productivity and competitiveness and their importance in ensuring that we build a stronger economy. That is, we must be cognizant of the fact that- productivity and competitiveness helps ensure that there are better social amenities, better roads, jobs, a better health care system and opportunities for our children to become skilled, trained and educated.

As such, it is vital that all walks of life unite and join in the quest of advancing Saint Lucia economically.  This therefore calls for all segments of the population to get involved as everyone has an important role in creating a more competitive country. That is, it is the responsibility of our leaders to cause changes while the workers are the ones actively implementing these changes. The electorate is responsible for demanding accountability and change. Our youth is also responsible for embracing the importance of skills, training and education as they will be the future engineers of a competitive Saint Lucia. As such, we see this concept as being applicable to the entire citizenry.

In order to build a more competitive Saint Lucia, there must be a shift in mindset and culture to one of uniting to build a better Saint Lucia. Citizens must understand that they are not just employed to receive a salary but rather for the advancement of their country. Our actions therefore have a greater societal impact which will determine and affect the way we live, the opportunities available to us and more importantly the amount of money we have in our pockets. And so, a labourer who is constructing a school building should not see it as just carrying blocks to get paid on Friday. A conscious productive citizen will see this as constructing the right environment for his children and grandchildren to be comfortable when learning so that they can thrive and be champions of their own success.

Patriotism involves a desire to see one’s country thrive. Efforts to enhance Saint Luciai-am-saint-lucia holistically must encompass citizens actively and collectively working and acting in our country’s best interest. This involves being a productive worker, keeping our surroundings clean, getting involved in community work etc. Patriotism promotes unity which is the key to success. It therefore encourages citizens to work diligently for the betterment of their homeland. Patriotism serves as a motivator as it drives people to work hard which leads to a successful nation. Apart from hard work, patriotism pulls people together when their country is faced with external threats such as natural disasters or other global crises.

There should be a continuous and concerted effort to awaken a patriotic conscience among Saint Lucians. This should be done through continuous reminders on social media, through television and radio programs, students should be taught thoroughly about the value of patriotism, also our people can be informed about their social duties through newspapers, billboards, advertisements etc.

In conclusion, patriotism promotes a powerful, productive and competitive nation, as it continuously motivates us to work for the betterment of the country. This betterment can advance Saint Lucia to a more productive and competitive country. It is a positive step in making Saint Lucia more united, strong and a more unbeatable nation within the region. Therefore, to promote a more developed, united and competitive country, it should start with awakening a patriotic principle of our people. Happy Independence Saint Lucia!

 About the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC)

Established in October 2013, The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) is responsible for the identification of key issues related to competitiveness and productivity in Saint Lucia.

The NCPC and its Technical Secretariat is committed to providing the necessary advocacy and research to produce timely and effective recommendations to policymakers on issues that affect both competitiveness and productivity on island. For more information about productivity or on the NCPC, visit www.stluciancpc.org; www.facebook.com/stluciancpc, call 468-5571/5576 or send an e-mail to stluciancpc@gmail.com