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Of heritage, heroes and honours


Tue May 28, 2013

Editor: The current debates on the selection of the next national hero have spawned several distinct schools of thought among which are those who believe that we should stick to the criteria and procedures set out in the national legislation; those who accept the legislation with some amendments, such as extending to persons alive; the call for creating a new system of honours that would include junking of the Queen’s honours (such as knighthoods) and lately the caution that we should not confuse national heroes with sainthood.{{more}}

While the debates on these issues will continue long after the selection is made, Vincentians have been presented with the names of Milton Cato, Ebenezer Joshua, George McIntosh and Dr J.P. Eustace from whom a choice will be made. No doubt each of these gentlemen has made a contribution to national development of some sort, but after some analysis of their records presented in lectures and public debates, it is my opinion that Dr J.P. Eustace is way ahead of the pack. Leaving aside his religious stature (an excellent candidate for sainthood, if he were a Catholic) he was truly a revolutionary in the sense that he pioneered a system of education that opened the way for children all ‘classes’ to benefit from secondary education.

The other candidates have made their mark through being political leaders, and that to my mind is the problem: they all have carried baggage which some would wish they had junked during and after tenure in office. No need to repeat what’s been said of Cato and others, except to say that while they are being credited with certain national policies, we should not forget that they were surrounded by other politicians who might just have been creative in policy making. On the other hand, Dr Eustace’s legacy lives on untainted and growing, that’s why he has my vote.

Dr Arnold Thomas

Former Professor of Political Science and OECS diplomat