By Urban Dolor
Saint Lucians continue to benefit from the goodwill of the Taiwanese government and people. The people of Gros Islet will experience that goodwill directly with the opening (on Thursday 18th July 2019) of the six thousand square feet Resource Centre on Dauphin Street. It is our understanding that the Taiwanese have generously agreed to provide furniture and equipment that will make the building operational. We must be thankful for this and other benevolent gestures that profit the people of Saint Lucia.
We know that it is politically expedient for successive governments to construct and furnish such physical spaces. We must, however, recognize that physical spaces are not sufficient to warrant our people’s development. In the Gros Islet constituency, there are diverse Resource Centres in places such as Monchy, Grande Riviere, La Bourne and Riviere Mitant. What is critical are the programmes that will give meaning and purpose to these buildings. Let us be clear, the best-designed motorcar is useless without a driver and fuel.
We should be realistic and accept that effective representation entails providing buildings that constituents will use. Effective representation also demands that provisions be made to ensure that there are government planned and sustained activities which will add social value to the buildings. It is not enough to rely on the flawed logic that the activities will emerge because the buildings are there. This Human Resource Centre in Gros Islet has been in the making for almost ten years now. Can anyone show us the plan for its sustained use or maintenance?
When a Hospital is opened it is known that it will be used 24-7 to care for the sick. Similarly when Fire stations, Prisons, Airport Terminals, Court Houses and so on are opened they each serve respective purposes that will keep them utilized an acceptable per cent of the time.
We are told that part of the space in the Human Resource Centre may be used to house an ITC centre (when the computers remain in the building). Our purpose must be crystal. It is gross inefficiency to plough such a massive amount of resource (over 1.5 million dollars for the Gros islet Resource Centre) into any structure that will be used primarily for occasional activities such as dances, weddings and queen shows.
The expectation is that the Representative for Gros Islet will use the capacity within his Ministry of Social Justice and Equity to ensure that there are Ministry driven programmes that will help give purpose to this building.
For example, the government may initiate programmes that will help the citizens understand what equity entails. Additionally, the government can develop programmes to foster social justice, help generate trust among the citizens or promote caring behaviour for our vulnerable citizens.
The fervent hope is that this opening ceremony will not be one of the few times that the building makes the news and that the Ministry in particular and Government, in general, will establish initiatives to make full use of these Human Resource Centres that are strewn all over Saint Lucia.