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From whence cometh our second National Hero?

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Fri, Mar 30. 2012

Editor: The national heroes’ debate is making the usual rounds as Vincentians scrape the barrel in search of a second national hero. It must be noted that our lone national hero is representative of the Carib nation from South America to the Lesser Antilles, rather than the Vincentian people.{{more}} In essence, we are still in search of a bona fide Vincentian Hero who epitomizes the collective ideals of the nation. Isn’t it incredible that after almost 180 years from emancipation of slavery and 32 years of political independence we are still suffering from an identity crisis?

Historically, our culture of promoting foreign elements and encouraging local mediocrity has impeded our capacity to express ourselves as a nation. This is evident in our pursuit of happiness in which we continue to perpetuate the relics of chattel slavery, alienating our compatriots in the process. This selfishness manifested itself in the case of former West Indies (Vincentian born) speedster Winston Davis who repeatedly suffered at the hands of insular selection panels. We made our usual noise in a teacup as Malcolm Marshall and Milton Small were given nods ahead of Mr. Davis despite his record breaking 1982 regional Shell Shield Tournament in which he scalped 33 wickets from 5 matches!

Arguably, around that time, Mr. Davis was a more lethal bowler than future hall of famer Malcolm Marshall, but with ineffective local cricket administrators to champion his cause, a grave miss-justice was allowed to flourish. Given his potential, isn’t it conceivable that Mr. Davis would have risen to the summit of Windies fast bowling supremacy? Wouldn’t he have attained National Heroes status if it wasn’t for polarized regional cricket politics and the apathy of local administrators? If we were a nation with a distinct national identity, Mr. Davis’ case would have been staunchly defended since more national pride would’ve been at stake.

Indeed, our national identity is further obscured by prolonged political tribalism entrenched throughout our plural nation. The practice of divide and rule and political leaders exalting themselves as demi-gods at the expense of nation building is synonymous with SVG’s political independence. In this scheme of things, dissenting voices are muzzled, while supportive voices are rewarded with perks and promotions. As a result, the social infrastructure of the society has been eroded since all aspects of functioning are manipulated by the political directorate. Ironically, the leading candidates vying for national heroes status are the chief architects of this political divide.

Obviously, George McIntosh, Robert Milton Cato and ET Joshua are the leading candidates bandied around for National Heroes status. In fact, given the government’s propensity to manipulate and polarize, it is reasonable to presume that Robert Milton Cato will be our next National Hero. This I’ll reject wholeheartedly since it was by political accident that RMC oversaw our political independence, thus becoming SVG’s first Prime Minister. Why would I support Mr. Cato’s candidacy when, a lawyer by profession, he literally endorsed and accepted Monarchial laws as our country’s constitution? The folly of such backwardness was unraveled during the 2009 Referendum, where it became painstakingly obvious that it is nigh impossible for us to detach ourselves from the queen’s frock tail.

It speaks volumes of us as a people when politicians are the predominant candidates we can dig up as we scrape through the country’s barrel for our next national hero. We continue to betray the legacy of Joseph Chatoyer since we unwittingly encourage politicians to be the facilitators of chattel slavery in the state. It is on this premise and his pioneering effort in promoting Vincentian and black identity that I endorse Captain Hugh Mulzac for consideration as our country’s Second National Hero.

Collin CA$H Haywood

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