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Time for reconciliation

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17.DEC.10

Editor: Our country has just concluded what was described “the mother of all election”. Although it was a rather peaceful general election, it was a vigorous but fierce campaign, and I dare say that the mother was clad with clothing of gutter politics in which some blood was shed during the four weeks of campaigning.{{more}}

As minor as the incidents may seem, it is not who we are as Vincentians. These negative activities do not characterise all Vincentians as violent people. Some of our citizens who misunderstood the meaning of free and fair campaigning took it a bit too far, sad to say, driven by hatred and perhaps motivated by what they heard on talk shows etc. However we want to describe the campaigns by both major political parties, it was a down right dirty shame by the few who stooped to very low levels in their quest to gain power. Some of our political radio talk shows went over board, marrying fact with fiction. This must never happen again in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This is not who we are as a people.

Congratulations to the ULP which won an historic third term in office and the NDP for putting up a tough show. They won seven seats and must be congratulated. This is good for democracy and our Vincentian politics. However, in order for St. Vincent to be governed properly, there must be reconciliation. I applaud the call for Sunday to be a national day of prayer and thanksgiving, but it must not be the end. We must be mature enough to put down our yellow and red shirts, pick up the blue, yellow and green and march on as one people united in the cause to take our country forward. Reconciliation must take place in the broader context of post conflict during the campaigning era, peace building and reconstruction. In essence it is a ‘process within a process.’

As I mentioned, it must not begin and stop at next Sunday’s prayer and thanksgiving service called by the Prime Minister. It should be a two part series that will be continued after next Sunday when we must also look at some of the challenges of reconciliation in a politically polarised St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We pride ourselves to be a God fearing, peaceful people. We must be mature enough to hug, kiss and make up for the better good of our country.

I suggest that Reconciliation will help us to find ways to live alongside each other, to develop the degree of co-operation necessary to share our society with each other so that we all have better lives together than we have had previously. The platform must be set by all political parties, churches, and other organizations for a process which must entail a number of activities like finding a way of life that permits a vision for the future, mending of broken relationships, coming to terms with the past, implementation of changes that have long term effects on the society politically, acknowledgement, remembering and learning from the past. Obviously, reconciliation is a voluntary process that can not be imposed, but I reiterate that the platform must be set for this to take place. The activities highlighted above require commitment and patience and mutual understanding on all parties involved.

The first element is that of healing the wounds of all those persons who were either beaten, or have been ridiculed by character assassination. Some may say this is politics! I dare to challenge anyone who says that this type of behaviour is conducive to winning elections. However, the latter seems to be the trend across our region these days. We must not permit this type of politics in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Justice must play an important part in the healing process. Perpetrators come to account for their actions, and this contributes towards the rebuilding of relationships based on equity and respect. It also addresses issues of retribution and/or mercy. There is no room for victimization.

Reparation must look into activities and programmes aimed at compensating the victims for the damage inflicted on them. Psycho-social approaches are used to achieve this.

I sincerely believe that we all want a better, kind and gentle St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This is not just a political slogan but it is what every peace loving Vincentian wants for his country. Regardless of which party we support, we must live and work along side each other for the better good of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Kervin C. Harry

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