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Bar: The Girls’ High School anniversary present from SVG

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Dr. Richard. A. Byron-Cox Fri, May 21, 2010

The bedrock of much of SVG’s females’ success is celebrating its 100th anniversary and one would assume that having cradled from the likes of Norma Keizer and Fleur Byron-Cox Odlum, to Honorable René Baptiste and Ambassador Betty King, it deserves rewards matching such legendary contribution. But guess what? We have decided on an anniversary gift of a rum bar as adornment to its front door, and all this in the middle of a daily-glorified education revolution, and with a PM who confesses undying love for our youths.{{more}} GHS, having spent 5 scores years nurturing sober-minded, balanced and exemplary young women, must now keep in its very bosom a rum court with the attendant sludge. If ever there was a spit in the face as a thank you, this is it!!

Of course, there have been all kinds of “justifications” offered as if these make this miscreant act right, moral and ethical. But these arguments lay bare the truth that we are now mostly a people concerned with power and profit at the expense of being principled and proper. “Anything to make a dollar.” So there is the utterly foolish notion that being a father will in and of itself command ethical behavior from the owner. This notion lines up in the top 5 of the most blatant disrespect of people’s intelligence I have ever heard. Is it that incest and other forms of child abuse by fathers and grandfathers alike are an intense pink diamond in SVG? Isn’t it known that mothers and grandmothers have often turned a blind eye to these terrible atrocities? So what’s this rubbish of fatherhood being proffered as indisputable evidence of innate goodness towards children? I am dumfounded! Lest this be misconstrued, I here am discrediting the notion, not the character of the owner, of which I know nothing. However, operating a rum bar in an exclusive education zone makes me wonder what’s next.

Many “rationalizations” are spouted such as there are rum shops near many schools; if children want to drink “yo can’t stop them even if yo’ pray;” and “licka” would be served only after 6. But even if these were justifications (which they are not), they cannot make wrong right. Are we saying that instead of addressing these problems we must rather institute them at every school? Does a Christian nation in place of repenting of sins, races headlong to becoming another Sodom and Gomorra? Do right thinking people consciously move from bad to worse?

Authorizing this rum bar would be an absolute abuse of power and total betrayal by the powers that be, of our children’s faith and trust. But it wouldn’t be a first. 1975 saw teachers being tear-gassed and jailed. This was abuse of political power, of our teachers and students. Indeed Renny Millington’s death is a suspected consequence of this abuse. It was abuse of the police force and of legal authority. It was a betrayal of the trust placed in the Labor Party after the fiasco of the Mitchell junta; a betrayal of our people’s hope for better after that 72 to 74 nightmare. And it was a betrayal of the trade union moment and some of the noblest servants of our country by a so-called labor government.

Mitchell’s 15 seats in 89 brought absolute abuse and total betrayal never before seen in a democracy. It was classic! 14 little boys gave assent that one man could authorize the “lick up” of our treasury, our beach at Ottley Hall, our National Commercial Bank and liquidation of checks and balances on the spending 200 million on a capital project. This spineless, gutless and brainless cluster of amoeba totally betrayed the people’s trust and faith in them to be our voice in the legislature; betrayed our democracy by agreeing to remain silent regardless; betrayed the mandate we granted them.

These are just two examples but believe me I could easily demonstrate that there are many more. Ottley Hall was not just an abuse of power, but of our land, our money, our people and our system of governance. That craven 14 not only betrayed our faith and trust; they betrayed our franchise. But worst of all, they gambled with our children’s future. Were it not for Ralph, we would be paying 300 million for Ottley Hall that is worth not even 10 % of that. If this is not endangering the future of our children, please tell me what is?

And so here we are at another moment of history, when the political powers that be must choose between absolute abuse and betrayal of our children; and, doing what is right based on morals, ethics, decency and principle. Are we going to see the sanctioning of a rum bar in the heart of an education zone to please two or three, ignoring the wishes of many thousand of parents and students, and hundreds of teachers, simply because Ralph and the ULP have political power so to allow? Are we going to see the trampling of common sense, a welcoming handshake to further moral decadence, and the usual refusal of power to listen to reason? Are we going to see the betrayal of our students’ expectation and hope that leaders would set the best example, because those leaders are in truth rulers, incapable of listening? Doesn’t respect for our children’s innocence and dignity, recognition of GHS’ and the other schools’ contribution to this nation, and common decency from our political masters require them to do the right thing?

This bar signals the beginning of a new moral low, the end of which is too frightening to even imagine. God help us, for once we begin, there is no way back. GHS and all well-meaning people must reject this present as belittling, demeaning and insulting. A deliberate abuse and betrayal!! A poisoned challis offered as a present.

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