In reflecting on the theme for the commemoration of the third anniversary of the Saint Lucia Development Bank (SLDB), three salient principles come to mind:
First, there is the concept of fostering and nurturing and all its psychological and social tenets and ramifications. How do we foster and nurture? How do we build personality and character? How do we discipline? How do we shape attitudes? What kind of attitudes do we shape, embrace and encourage as individuals, as parents, as members of diverse communities, as a people, as an organisation – and as persons working at a development bank?
Secondly, there is the concept of a developing nation – nationhood … nation building. What is nation and nationhood in the context of globalisation? How do we assert our own uniqueness, our own cultural heritage and identity – our mores and values as a people? How do we compete for our own space and right to that space in an increasingly global community, where borders are no more; where principles such as territorial integrity and sovereignty that were once sacrosanct and inviolable, in the context of international law, appear to be “a thing of the past”? Concepts such as independence, interdependence and political maturity come to my mind.
And thirdly, there is the concept, or rather the sub-theme of a challenging global environment. Never before has the entire human race been faced with such profound anxieties. During the greatest economic depressions that the world experienced, during the devastating world wars that the human race endured, there were many oases; there were many pockets of calm and peace and relative prosperity. However, given the increasing and phenomenal interconnectedness of nations through trade, finance, information and communication technology, ecology and politics, there is hardly a safe haven now. We are no longer immune to the problems of other parts of the world.
Clearly, our economic , social and political survival can no longer be assured by the old ways of doing things – the old ways or working, the old ways of thinking and interacting with each other and other peoples; the old attitudes. Global competition for instance, demands that we adopt new attitudes and approaches to work; new attitudes and approaches to education and training. The global economic challenges demand that we reinvent ourselves.
In the political sphere, the global challenges demand that we re-examine how we conduct our politics and relate to each other; how we build and sustain institutions and how we bring people together.
What then is our role first as individuals, as citizens of this “nation,” as workers, as employees of this development bank in fostering and nurturing a developing nation in a challenging global environment? I do not profess to have any of the answers to the several questions raised above; neither do I propose to prescribe any solution. Rather, as we mark the third anniversary of this organisation – The Saint Lucia Development Bank, I merely would like to invite you the staff of this organisation to ponder on our theme.
I thank all of you who have so far laboured in bringing the Bank to where we are at this time and congratulate you for whatever modest achievements that we have had. I wish all of you a happy anniversary; a happy independence anniversary; and I exhort you to continue to reflect and build this organization for the good of this nation.