Minister of Finance, Hon. Camillo Gonsalves, on Monday, 5th February, announced plans to enhance existing roads and bridges, and seaports, to further improve the health sector, and to make green energy a reality in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
According to Minister Gonsalves, in 2018, around $100 million have been budgeted to execute the infrastructural development, which includes "commencement of construction of 45 kilometres of secondary and feeder roads, financed by Kuwait and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID); acceleration of the reconstruction and rehabilitation of roads, bridges and the stabilisation of slopes along major and secondary roads, with financing from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), World Bank, Republic of China, Taiwan (ROC), and from domestic resources; assessing the feasibility of a by-pass road to ease traffic congestion in Arnos Vale onwards to Kingstown.”
Seventy-two and a half, ($72.5), million dollars has been allocated to health and wellness, Minister Gonsalves stated. This amount, he reiterated, is evidence of the priority the government has placed on the health sector in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Of the $72.5 million, $34.4 million has been earmarked for hospital services, and to finance the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH), the hospital pharmacy, Chateaubelair Hospital, Levi Latham Health Centre, Georgetown Hospital, and the Modern Medical Complex; the opening of which is only weeks away.
In terms of climate change and the environment, Minister Gonsalves, who is the Minister with responsibility for Sustainable Development, emphasised that this year the focus will be on resilience, reconstruction and conservation. He prefaced this section by saying that the “future of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), is “green” and it is “blue”.” Green, because the Government is committed to “making SVG climate resilient, carbon neutral and ecologically progressive”, and blue, for the “value and wealth that can be generated from our oceans”, Minister Gonsalves explained.
With reference to the geothermal development project, the Minister said that this is still in the pipeline. He disclosed that the plan is to install 10 - 15 megawatts of geothermal energy in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Minister Gonsalves concluded that the government is committed to the decisions it has made in the 2018 budget.