Propelled by a catchy song and music video featuring Zionomi, Ricky T, Q-Pid, Marianne, Scady, and Courtney Louis and produced by Louis, the National Savings & Investment Knowledge Building campaign was launched Wednesday March 9. The event took place at he Vieux Fort Primary School. So important is this scheme, hat the Governor of the ECCB, Sir Dwight Venner, flew to Saint Lucia to attend the launch. Also present was the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Stephenson King, other government officials, principals, teachers and 400 students representing 80 schools from infant and primary across the island. The aim of this new campaign, which is funded by the OPSR and conceptualized and designed by Orange Media Group is to engender healthy savings and investment habits nationally.
The Director of the Office of Private Sector Relations (OPSR) Jacqueline Emmanuel gave a power point presentation on the OPSR and the broader initiative called STRIDE, an acronym for Strengthening Trade through Rural Investment and Development of Entrepreneurship.
“The focus has been on export, entrepreneurship, motivating businesses and helping them save. And this is where the savings and investment project comes in,” she said later describing it as foundational. “What we have realized is that many people come to us with ideas but they don’t have money and sometimes they want very little money to start a business. Typically small business starts with your own money, money from family from friends and we believe that if Saint Lucians are disciplined savers they will become much more successful business,” the OPSR director offered.
“The OPSR believes that the time is now to go back to basics and strengthen the foundations by putting on this campaign of savings and investment,” Emmanuel expressed.
Sir Dwight Venner for his part thanked the OPSR and the Government of Saint Lucia for inviting him. He then offered his view of where we are situated in the region and in the world. “Because Saint Lucia is not an island by itself and because we are a very small island we have to appreciate that we operate in a regional and international environment that can have significant impacts on us,” Venner said Wednesday. Expressing that the world was going through what he describes as “a wrenching process of change” posited that we must all be aware of it if we are to take the necessary decisions at the individual or household level at the business level, the firm level and the government levels to survive and prosper
Following Venner’s remarks, three short skits by Zenaida Theatre Company were then presented. These were thoroughly enjoyed by the audience, judging by their response and seemed to have driven home the points on savings in a very creative manner.
Earny St Catherine of Orange Media Group then presented an overview of the Savings and Investment campaign. His company he explained will act as the consultants carving the communications strategy for the promotion. On Wednesday Orange Media presented a song by Invader to promote the Savings and Investments drive and another featuring an all-Star cast of Saint Lucian talent with an accompanying music video. A mascot called Dollar Bill was also on show at the launch.
In delivering the final remarks Wednesday Prime Minister Stephenson King speaking directly to the students said: “Today’s exercise is intended to change your habits to change how you think about yourself, and how you behave in as far as money is concerned.”
“I have a challenge for you,” he then told them and offered to match a start up savings of the 400 students of an initial EC$10, with EC$10 by government making it
a four thousand dollar contribution from government. This King said, would start the campaign in a meaningful way. The applause from the students marked their approval before they were treated to refreshments and a requested encore of the My Money music video. They were also presented with paraphernalia marking the campaign by the OPSR and Orange Media Group and were implored to spread the word amongst their fellow students.