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From whence we Came – A Letter from the Past


I have been successful in avoiding any mention of partisan politics thus far, however a reader of last week’s article “Politics in the Church” has sent me this letter which I have been given the right to publish unedited.

From whence we Came – A Letter from the Past

Dear Mr. Caesar,

When this letter reaches you it will be a few days before the next general elections. As a matter of certainty, we are not yet too old to forget, nor are we too young to be unable to recall our experiences of what life was in St. Vincent and the Grenadines just before the crumble of the New Democratic Party’s regime. {{more}}

Amidst our preparations for December 7th we should first take a look atthe not-too-distant past. It will indeed be interesting to see how our forthcoming Historians will describe the period 1995- 2000. There were echoes of corruption in high places, dissatisfaction among the masses, agitated unions and poor attempts to expand an education programme to meet the ever-growing needs of a rapidly advancing society.

In fact, entire documents outlining matters of corruption were printed at the time, and circulated in this nation, during the period of heightened dissatisfaction in our land, which eventually led to the Grand Beach Accord. Chief among matters were the ridiculously low prices for which lands were bought in the Grenadines by certain “high rankers” at “sweetie change” prices. Fraudsters from abroad had a field day in tricking the Government under the NDP into losing so many millions of United States dollars. It baffles me at all times when the present opposition party constantly draws comparisons with Barbados as it relates to aspects of development; I have one question, “Where would have Barbados been if they had an NDP administration with the levels of unaccountability, poor governance, corruption and multi-million dollar rip-offs as we experienced in St. Vincent and the Grenadines?”

I have not yet heard from the New Democratic Party an explanation of the Ottley Hall fiasco. I want to hear on the opposition’s platform about the cheque from NCB and whether or not “Bienvenido” ever existed, and if he ever existed where is he today? Why is the NDP silent on a comparison between the failed Colonial Homes Project and the successes of the ULP’s low income housing. Heavy talk is made about agriculture but the Opposition fails to show this nation what extensive diversification plans were implemented during their term of office. Trust is not lost tonight and regained tomorrow.

How then does the balance sheet look?

It is definite that the leadership by Dr. Gonsalves has been embraced by the people. Dr. Gonsalves is by all means a “working class” leader accessible to all for reasons which range from providing general guidance for University students with research work to providing personal assistance for many needy students in economic crisis. Imagine the Prime Minister you can call to discuss your assignment. Oh what a gift!

Prior to the ULP coming into office, a Prime Minister to my mind was a man who was often seen either half slumped in the back of a silver car being sped through the streets of Kingstown at breakneck speed only to be stopped at the now non existent traffic lights, or he was merely speckled among a group of army camouflaged suits.

“Long time”, to me a Prime Minister was a man who walked into the Parliament late and left rather early and answered questions however he liked or if he liked. As a child it appeared to me that Prime Ministers had the power to say whatever they wanted and have it passed off as “jokes”. The one which I will never forget was where it was said, “Can you explain to me why Jesus was not born in St. Vincent?” when the reply was that “There are no wise men or virgins here”. My baby sister was only about three years old at the time. Oh what a mockery! That was how I saw a Prime Minister in my formative years.

What I see today is totally different. I see a stern and extremely brilliant leader who leads from the front. He is well respected and spoken about by all on campus. He is a true West Indian icon.

We must never forget from whence we came.

Yours sincerely,