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Happy Independence

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Another year of nationhood has rolled by and as we reflect on the past 12 months we reflect on our fortunes and misfortunes, our blessings as well as the bad times.

We look at our errors and ask why and where did we go wrong, not to cast blame, but to find out how not to travel the same road again.

We reflect on those whom we lost, the tragedies of our nation as well as the new comers and new developments that have graced our shores.

We reflect on the nature of “independence” recalling the wisdom of a Caribbean statesman that we should be a “friend of all but satellite of none”. {{more}}

Not too long ago President Hugo Chavez stood on the neutral ground of the United Nations and uttered unthinkable and undiplomatic comments calling President Bush “the devil”.

The world drew its breath in utter horror and when countries like St Vincent and the Grenadines threw their support behind Venezuela for a seat on the United Nations Security Council, there was a hush across the globe.

Was it a wise thing to stand behind the man who insulted the most powerful politician in the world? Would there be a backlash?

The picture from the United Nations of the Comrade hugging Chavez made people go “hmmm …”.

A verbal personal request from Prime Minister Gonsalves to President Chavez saw US$800,000 in road building equipment sail in St Vincent a few weeks ago.

Would there be a backlash, people kept asking and the press probed?

Just last week the US Ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean flew over to St Vincent bringing with her two generous cheques in US dollars, one for the government and another for the National Trust.

The two demonstrated the nature of “independence” – being a friend of all but satellite of none. The United States was comfortable with St Vincent and the Grenadines as was Venezuela.

Independence also connotes unity – a people focused on a similar goal, living and working in harmony but that is Utopia.

Life is not perfect but it should be balanced.

There are many ills in the society and care must be taken that as progress sets in and development takes place that St Vincent and the Grenadines does not follow the path of other “developed” countries.

neighbours talk less with one another as the country develops. In fact, people don’t even know who live next door. On the road, people pass each other like exams. No longer do they say “good morning”. In fact, they might not even have seen the other person pass by.

The great Big Apple had become an impersonal city, the residents not being their brother’s keeper any longer but after the unfortunate and tragic events of 9/11, New Yorkers and the entire America became united. Americans became their brother’s keeper.

No one would ever want to wish such tragedy on anyone or any nation and history has several purposes; one is for others to learn from the experience of others.

As St Vincent and the Grenadines celebrates its 27 years of nationhood, our Independence wish is for neighbourliness to reign in our beloved nation and among our friends and relatives in the Diaspora.

Happy Independence to all Vincentians at home and abroad from all of us at the SEARCHLIGHT.

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