The Minister of Planning and Sustainable Development, Dr Bhoe Tewarie, and the Minister of Finance and the Economy, Larry Howai, are loud in their praises of the Government's involvement in building new infrastructure. Both see this as economic development or rather, initiators of economic development.
The referenced infrastructure projects include the Solomon Hochoy Highway extension to Point Fortin, the dualling of Rivulet Road, an aquatic centre and port facilities. The Minister of Planning reminded us also of the five growth poles and that consultations are taking place with the stakeholders (those involved on the ground with these projects) and hopes to provide a draft strategy by early 2013, possibly on how this growth is to take place.
Surely Minister Tewarie, who has the responsibility for sustainable development, recognises that nothing he has spoken about relates to sustainable development, which in our case implies the creation of an economy that is independent of the declining energy sector.
Though Dr Tewarie is not a development economist his job demands that he informs himself of the fundamentals of sustainable economic development and in particular the seminal role that the Government has to play in this economic transformation. Both Dr Tewarie and Mr Howai are focusing on the trappings of economic development; construction provides jobs, infrastructure encourages development or possibly on the general election.
However, sustainable economic development is the brainchild of special people who we may have few of at present and who we have to create and nurture. An economy, in which knowledge is paramount and local and international linkages abound, derives sustainability and competitiveness as a matter of course. Economic development is not the ability to borrow money to build a highway or a port or provide make-work.
The foundation, on which such an economy is built is the subsector of our human resource that has the experience, knowledge and imagination to generate innovation and the creation of novel economic enterprises. From this resource pool flow the economic entities and the demand for the necessary infrastructure that is directed by economic development and not as at present where infrastructure is expected to generate economic development.