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More independent thinkers needed!

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Editor: Let me take this opportunity to emphatically declare that I am an independent citizen who does not religiously support any political party. I am forced to do this since some of my writings have caused some critics to perceive me as affiliated to at least one political party. It is an indictment on us as a people when views expressed by independent thinkers have to be diluted and perceived as politically clothed.{{more}}

Has our social consciousness retrogressed to such an extent that we have to link every facet of life to partisan politics? Why do we compromise religion and intelligence in blind partisan support? This is most unfortunate, given the government’s policy of empowering Vincentians with education. Therefore, upholding a culture of snitching and dependence is hypocrisy. If we continue in this vein, the outside world will continue to regard us as educated fools.

Are we that naïve that we have to over-rely on EG Lynch and Burns Bonadie to formulate our opinions? Dr. Ralph Gonsalves or Hon. Arnhim Eustace do not hold the title deeds to St. Vincent and the Grenadines! SVG is still a free country-at least in theory. Everyone has an independent opinion and his/her views should, therefore, be respected. So, to disrespect others’ views as political worship is not only partisan but also unpatriotic. Aren’t we independent-minded enough to express ourselves as progressive Vincentians? It is vital that more young Vincentians become engaged in the national debate!

It is necessary that the voice of the youth be heard since successive governments have failed them miserably. This is evidenced in the almost non-existence of a physical education programme, especially in primary schools. It is punctuated by the present government’s education reform policy’s emphasis on academics rather than the holistic development of the child. The subsequent fall in standards of almost all sporting disciplines in schools can be attributed to haphazard planning, poor facilities and incoherent development programmes.

Additionally, the divisive politics practised by the ULP and the NDP continue to alienate Vincentian youth. Where is the National Youth Policy as championed by the National Youth Council for the past two decades? Youth and community groups have almost become invisible.

Despite the ULP’s strong policies and solid programmes, its human misgivings always ensure that they are thwarted. Its cause is not helped by a Prime Minister who is hell-bent on personalizing every aspect of national development. As for the apparent cowardice of Government MPs to challenge the Prime Minister on policy making issues, it speaks deafeningly of our quality of leadership. Martin Luther King Jr. warned: “In the end we’ll remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”

What’s new that the opposition NDP brings to the table? Have there been any fundamental change(s) in their policies since 2001? I am afraid it’s the same old khaki pants. They are still cursed with a contentious and boisterous St. Clair Leacock and the churchman Mr. Cummings who remains a stone’s throw away.

So, in this turbulent global economic climate, who do Vincentians rather trust at the helm of the country? I shudder to contemplate an indecisive Arnhim Eustace assuming the mantle in the midst of these uncertain times. It is against my nature to support such an uninspiring and initiative- deficient leader.

Despite their rhetoric, we’ll be ambitious to expect anything new from whoever wins the upcoming general elections.

Collin CA$H Haywood