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Evil Stalks this Land!

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The state of SVG is rotting from head to tail and it appears as if evil stalks the land that someone once called ‘home of the blessed’. There is certainly never a dull moment as we move in between natural disasters and ones that are manmade. We experienced a volcanic eruption while we were in the midst of a pandemic that we were certainly not handling well. We already have about 16 homicides for the year. In the news recently were stories of brother killing brother, women complaining about police brutality, a worrying story of a businessman at Diamond being threatened and shot allegedly by a Government Senator and senior member of the Office of Public Prosecution, with the police reluctant to bring charges. A request by the Leader of the Opposition seeking withdrawal of the senator from parliament was met with his suspension from parliament. A protest calling for the senator to be suspended until her matter was investigated was met with strong police presence as if we were in the midst of a riot. With the exception of St Lucia, we have the highest number of Covid-19 cases recorded, and, at this day of writing the highest number of active covid cases, 224, even higher than Barbados. The country is listed at level three by the US’s Centre for Disease Control, with cautions about travelling here. There is a cold war between government and people about taking the vaccine and about being tested, While we seek to control the pandemic and to rebuild after the eruption, with these issues dividing the country we face an enormous task.    

     In the olden days, the people would have called on the Shango man’s assistance. Today, we have national days of prayer, suggesting that we think the solution is beyond us and we are left with no alternative but to call for divine intervention. This is really passing the buck for the God to whom those of us who are Christians worship, has given us the tools to address the many challenges and issues that we have. But it is even more complicated because we have created gods on earth and worship them, waiting for whatever they have to dispense.

     This country needs to wake up. We are moving into our 42nd year of Independence, surviving to a large extent by begging. We even seek ambulances and police vehicles that are being discarded elsewhere. It is as if independence means little to us. There are many things that are going wrong in the country. We operate as though laws and jobs are there for only a selected few. Many of us realise that things are not going the way they should, but opt to remain silent and hope to be rewarded for our silence. The most silent among us are those who have benefited from an education provided from the public purse. Obligation to country seems to matter little.

     2020 was difficult for us; 2021 will be no different. There has to be a rethinking on how we go about our business.

Let us not blame our economic woes on the pandemic and the eruption, but remember that even before those, we were going no where and doing so fast. Those two events would certainly have affected our economy, but we were already on the slippery slope. We treated the pandemic lightly when it started, and did not do the kind of preparation we needed to have done for the likelihood of an eruption, despite adequate warning from the volcano. Public communication has been a disaster throughout.  Even the resettlement leaves a lot to be desired, for persons affected appear not to be involved. It is time to meaningfully involve the people and to stop the rot!

Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator and historian

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