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Reparation? Introspection


EDITOR: Vincentians continue to ride ‘piggy-back’ on the trials and sufferings of many the world over. We do that with a fair deal of success by astutely using our ethnic identity and quoting what has been written about those who have.

To ensure that there is never a rebirth of slavery and the deprivation that it carried with it, we in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines with little or no memory of those realities should long have conditioned the inner most part of us to ensure that none of us would ever fall victim, in whatever shape or form of deception it presents itself.{{more}}

Reparation calls for a number of things, among them, compensation and to do penance. Introspection on the other hand calls for, among other things, examining ourselves in the peace and quiet of our lonely room. This trust for reparation for the most part is strongly rooted in prolonged deprivation of education, social and cultural expression and basic respect for our forbears.

Colonialism and slavery were barbaric acts on defenseless people. The turn of the 1960’s started the process of self-determination in the British West Indies. Self-determination was made easy for us, not because of our personal efforts.

My article in the Searchlight of July 21, 2006, “Library, Hall of Peace, The Cenotaph, Euphemism”, certainly embodied all that has just been mentioned. With introspection, it should not be too difficult for the proponents of reparation to critically analyze the long-lasting social and environmental negative effects that those three acts have brought to bear on us. To what extent the physical ambience of our nation’s capital has been diminished?

Reparation – haven’t we been receiving reparation without the tag? How effective have we used them? Might we for a brief moment focus our attention on the airport in Bequia. That airport was a gift from the European Union (EU) to the countries of the OECS who then decided that it should go to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. That airport was commissioned in 1995. To what extent have the nation benefited? It seems that Dr. Ralph Gonsalves’ ULP government by trying to sell off crown lands in Bequia to pay for the Argyle airport, may well be throwing a monkey wrench in the works that would have made the airport viable in the future.

This call for reparation must start with introspection. Take for instance, the Ottley Hall Inquiry, exclusively for what came from the lips of those in whom we entrusted our future for 10 years, 15 years, 17 years as parliamentarians and Cabinet members: “they did not know what was going on”. In the general elections of 2005 those very persons were involved in the selection process of candidates. What should our expectations for the future be?

If we work form the premise that the person who we send to Parliament 1984 – 2001 (NDP Government) were the best the nation had to offer, then surely introspection should become the order of the day. Not Reparation.

Stanley M. Quammie