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Dr Gonsalves on retreat

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by OSCAR ALLEN 4.MAY.07

I RECOMMEND retreats. Last weekend the pastors of the New Testament Church of God went on a retreat. A couple weeks ago the NDP leadership went on a retreat. Retreats bring physical, moral, spiritual and yes, business benefits. In a week of retreat the more than sixty presbyters and deacons of the Methodist Church from Trinidad, Tobago to St. Lucia were contemplating the work of God and their faithfulness to it. As I see it, retreats worked for Jesus Christ and his disciples, as well as for other leaders both then and now.{{more}}

Me too, I am at present on a kind of working retreat. I have things to reconsider, to pack over, to throw away and to reimagine – mundane things and complex things. Retreat is not a bad thing.

Dr. Gonsalves is on a retreat in Cuba. True, he has to come and declare some practical political, economic gains and policy initiatives that are the result of this time in Cuba, but if the time and space in Cuba are not occasion for retreat, then they were a waste and all now, Dr. Gonsalves would know that time is a treasure uncertain.

Let us permit ourselves a licence to speculate on a retreat programme for Ralph Gonsalves as a person, as an academic and as our Prime Minister. Now none of these three Ralph Gonsalves is separate from the others. They are all one person and when we speak of Ralph Gonsalves, we mean also the person and the various interactions that make him up. A person on retreat still carries his/her goings on within.

A Retreat Programme for Ralph Gonsalves

A fitting goal for the person of Ralph Gonsalves could be to reinvent his person. In addition to full recovery from the effects of his recent accident, for which we all pray, we would recommend a reinvention of the physical body of the comrade.

Dr. Slater has already told us that a slimmer, less risk burdened Ralph is possible. I do know that his elder brother Thorald did reshape his body gracefully. It can be done by Ralph and by many more of us!

Cuba would make another really valuable contribution to the region if it gave opportunity to engineer the health and wellness and second emancipation of Ralph Gonsalves – the person.

Retreat issues for Dr. Ralph Gonsalves the academic include developing a new and clear theoretical foundation for the policy and programme of the Unity Labour Party government. The theory, the vision and the dialectic within the world framework are all calling for a mind and a voice to move beyond the outdated mouldy rhetoric and the unguided pragmatism of do everything possible by every means available. Already Dr. Gonsalves has offered in crude rhetoric the notion of a post-colonial process. He must seek help to fashion the theory and make it consistent with the practice or vice versa.

Another academic issue is to take what he has said and written on colonial slavery and its aftermath, and compose a contribution that will be notable both for its substance and the forward motion that it makes from a Caribbean people’s perspective.

As Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Ralph Gonsalves must focus his attention on two matters: he must deepen his attention on building a party that is united, conscious, informed and outreaching, rather than sectarian and selfish. He must also put his mind and spirit to bring into being a Vincentian national movement – including other political parties and forces in order to pursue justice, and to undermine and overthrow the crime complex. the national consensus must also create and share a vision for our youths and elders – that takes them to new collective heights, and also critique the old development model that offers brand name monuments and postpones people’s development.

The retreat programme is heavy, but so also is Dr. Gonsalves. To be fair, let us say that a new model Ralph, a more thorough and respectful intelligence and a broader politics is what we look for from the returning Prime Minister.

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