The Institute of Governance and Politics of Latin America and the Caribbean, launched here last week, has been established to fill the need for a deeper understanding of government, politics and the political economy of St Vincent and the Grenadines, the region, hemisphere and the world.
Spearheaded by Prime Minister and Political Leader of the Unity Labour Party (ULP), Dr Ralph Gonsalves, the inauguration of the Institute took place on August 17, 2023, at the Methodist Church Hall in Kingstown. It will be situated at the ULP office at Murray Road and will be overseen by a 16-member board of directors, chaired by Prime Minister Gonsalves. Leading the institute as its executive director and secretary to the board is Augustine Ferdinand, a 29-year-old University of the West Indies graduate.
While the Institute is an arm of the ULP, Gonsalves said most of its activities will embrace populations outside the confines of the party. “It is undoubtedly an inclusive entity, as you can see with the persons who are present here for the launch of this important institution.”
The Institute’s programmes will include “the philosophy, policies, programmes and structure of the ULP and comparative analysis regarding progressive political parties and movements regionally and globally.”
Delivering the feature address on the theme ‘Building tomorrow’s leaders … Today’, before a packed hall, Gonsalves said the institute will focus on “education, research, publication and advocacy”, and on “matters touching and concerning governance, politics and the political economy of our Caribbean and Latin American civilisations, and their historic and contemporary manifestations, inclusive of their dialectical interconnections between and within both our hemispheric civilization and others globally.”
Gonsalves highlighted the four functions of education that the institute will prioritize: imparting critical thinking, equipping individuals with production skills for a global economy, nurturing the Caribbean civilization’s values, and fostering a healthy mind in a healthy body.
“…Those are what they’re about and this institute will seek to buttress what the Education Revolution is doing.”
Prime Minister Gonsalves emphasized the institute’s significance in promoting accurate information, knowledge, and wisdom. He highlighted the role it would play in countering falsehoods and disinformation while fostering progressive thought and critical engagement. Through a multi-faceted approach involving various communication channels, the Institute aspires to make a positive difference for the region, hemisphere, and humanity.
“It is intended to be “part of the corrective to these dark and ominous political forces of backwardness and reaction, and delusion and to be a beacon which shines light to unearth information and aid knowledge, understanding and wisdom. It will lift the progressive consciousness of our people.”
The Institute will utilise every media, “including face-to-face engagements, traditional and modern communications conduits,” and will aim to make a difference for the better for the country, region, hemisphere and humanity, Gonsalves said.
The areas of colonialism, slavery, imperialism, globalisation, Caribbean civilisation, climate change, sustainable development, race and ethnicity, class struggles, theories and practices of economic development, regionalism, foreign policy, reparation, public finances, selling of passports and citizenship, parliamentary democracy and the rule of law, crime the relationship of the state, the market and civil society, the role of the church, and religion, are other areas that the Institute of Governance and Politics of Latin America and the Caribbean will delve into.
Other speakers at last week’s launch were executive director of the Institute Augustine Ferdinand and Government Ministers Keisal Peters and Benarva Browne.