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Things that concern me

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Fri, Jan 27. 2012

Editor: When I resumed active writing on Friday, October 30, 2009, I resolved to positively contribute to the national debate. I was of the view that the national discourse was too superficial, contentious and politically-oriented. Therefore, I proceeded to ventilate my views through the local weeklies as a civic minded Vincentian who yearns for a better society.{{more}} It is on this premise that I refused to be lured into an unnecessary argument with a predatory writer who erroneously claimed that I paganized Christ (the Virgin Mary’s first born) by attributing human status to Him. The same Christ condemned the self-righteous Scribes and Pharisees (educated fools) who impressed others through pretentious glory-seeking. However, I would encourage like-minded persons to follow Christ’s lead and rebuke their brother with love.

However, my main purpose for writing is to express my dismay at the plethora of social decadence that prevails within SVG. Among these is the high incidence of unplanned pregnancies and HIV infections among the youths. With heightened advocacy on family planning awareness and safe sex practices, one is baffled at the shocking level of promiscuity and numerous cases of unplanned pregnancies among this productive age group. In most cases, these unfortunate victims, stuck in the low income bracket, are forced to derail educational and economic opportunities. Consequently, the accompanying HIV infections continue to ravish this youthful population who are misguided by a myriad of sex-driven icons. Indeed, the muted concerns by health officials regarding high HIV infections among pregnant mothers point to an imminent human disaster of pandemic proportions.

Another area of concern is the escalated crime rate that has engulfed the state and transformed it into an island of fear and lawlessness. This is reflected in the nature of crimes which have increased in sophistication, audacity and heinousness. Evidence of this was highlighted in the recent ATM scam and the brazen jewellery thefts commuted at high noon in capital Kingstown. However, the problem is compounded by the frequency in police brutality which has since become the norm. Amidst cries of consternation, the reported cases of brutality at the hands of those who have sworn to protect and serve, continue to mount. It is difficult to dismiss these claims since the constabulary does little to allay fears but much to promote a persona of invincibility and antagonism among a besieged nation.

Despite the CWSA General Manager’s succinct justification for the exorbitant increase in water consumption bills, I am troubled by its impending effect on a cash-strapped population clutching at straws to make ends meet. Whilst it is true that the service provided by the CWSA is of the highest quality, economic prudence should have dictate that the fallout caused by the global economic meltdown should have been the main indicator determining rate hikes. It is grossly unconscionable that a government that professes to champion the cause of the poor can contemplate such drastic rate increases on the heals of a salary freeze. Isn’t it unfair that “brokes” Vincentians should be forced to foot the bills created by default government payments? Instead of the 15% to 20% increase, couldn’t a 5% to 10% increase sustain operational

cost at the CWSA and SWMU? Priority should have been given to the recovery of outstanding monies owed to the CWSA before legislating such draconian increases.

The perceived bias of local news entities towards differing political views cannot escape my foreboding mind. The alleged practice of a local newspaper to breach journalistic ethics in its consuming anti-government stance is severely undermining its credibility. It is a popular view that this newspaper gives priority to news and opinions that adversely affect the image of the Prime Minister. Conversely, popular sentiments also suggest that while being sympathetic to the cause of the ruling ULP government, another newspaper company trivialises the newsworthiness of the opposition NDP. However, it is not my place to meddle with the editorial direction of any newspaper, but rather to avail them of prevailing national as well as Diaspora views.

After all, these are some things that concern me.

Collin CA$H Haywood

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