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Our darkest hour: SVG is being mauled; it stands before the proverbial crucifix

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by Matthew Thomas

It galls me to hear that Mount Wynne/Peters Hope, an area of over 400 acres of prime real estate, with 260 plus acres as beach front, is to be sold to a group of unknown white foreigners, under the pretext of hotel development.{{more}}

What is even more galling is that through the grapevine, I am hearing that covertly, hotel development is only a front; the main objective of acquiring the land is for the production of medicinal marijuana. To rub salt into the wound, it is believed that the labour force will be had from among the youngsters now farming in “The HIlls”. The assurance is that since the production of medicinal marijuana will be done under strict protected legal conditions, there would be zero tolerance of any farming in “The Hills”; hence the youngsters will have no alternative but to work with these developers.

Mount Wynne/Peters Hope

On the 2nd and 5th July 2013, respectively, I published in both the SEARCHLIGHT and THE NEWS, an article entitled: LET MOUNT WYNNE/PETERS HOPE BE OUR DISNEY LAND. In that article, I lamented the fact that Carnival has outgrown Kingstown. I outlined several reasons. I thought that Mount Wynne/Peters Hope would be the ideal place, not only for Carnival, but for a football and track and field stadium, coupled with other sports and games, including water sports. In order to boost our tourism, the Mount Wynne harbours are ideally suited for land reclamation, creating a lagoon for smaller yachts and a modern cruise ship berth. As one listens to the daily tirade of both political parties, one gets the impression that they have either lost their way or they have nowhere to go.

THE ULP AND DEVELOPMENT

The ULP has embarked on a sporadic harum-scarum style of development with no long-term effect. In 2000, while I was still an ardent supporter of the MNU/Labour outfit, Godwin Daniel advertised for sale a plot of agricultural land of approximately 85 acres situated between Lowmans Wd and Massy. I personally made an intervention and Godwin’s preference was to sell the lands as a block. I thought then it was an ideal plot to be acquired by Government for the purpose of a home for the homeless, dubbed: SCHOOL OF REHABILATION AND SOCIALIZATION. In May of 2000, while ULP was having a convention at the Richmond Vale Acadamy, with Dr Kenny Anthony of St Lucia as the featured speaker, I took agriculturalist Clive “Bishi” Bishop and Renato “Natto” Gumbs to evaluate the land and make recommendation to the ULP. Today, 15 years hence, the plot of land has grown into a forest, still to be sold, while we watch our young men and women who have “fallen through the cracks” sleep like sheep and goats on the pavements, and terrorize the citizenry daily through begging, larceny and arson.

In Buccament, the land was taken away from the Rasta bretheren, unknown to them for hotel development, because according to Ralph Gonsalves and Julian Francis: “The picturesque Buccama Valley was too good to be used for subsistence farming.”

The Argyle International Air Port (AIA), which is now a panacea, is an afterthought. Nowhere in the ULP 2001 manifesto was the AIA mentioned. One would recall that the US$26M that the NDP had secured for the further development of the ET Joshua Airport, that within the first 100 days, PM Gonsalves was able to get the Taiwanese to divert the money towards the building of the Cross Country Road. Fifteen years hence, not a sod of soil is turned.

When one observes the panache of PM Gonsalves, one would swear that life in SVG started in 2001, especially when it comes to education. SVG’s only Community College is the “best in the world”, but still not good enough for his children, since he has sent his last son and daughter simultaneously to “BACKWARD COLONIAL ENGLAND” to study for their A-Level education. Unfortunately though, there are those who follow him blindly, not knowing or pretending not to know that Grenada has four A-Level Colleges under the name of the TA Marryshow Community Colleges and a University, THE ST GEORGES SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, which offers a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree. The Tilman Thomas administration in 2012 gave as a grant 88 acres of land to UWI for the building of a campus. St Lucia’s SIR ARTHUR LEWIS COMMUNITY COLLEGE has long been offering Associate degrees, and the MONROE COLLEGE in St Lucia offers both Bachelors’ and Masters’ degrees; yet ours is an EDUCATION REVOLUTION!

THE NDP AND THE WAY FORWARD

Unfortunately the NDP does not offer much hope. Their NEW TIMES programme has become a diet of lamentations. When asked about their plans, invariably they would say that if they reveal their plans Ralph would steal them. They are virtually asking the electorate to buy the figurative: “PIG IN A BAG.” Opportunities come their way daily, but go a-begging. Their only hope is that enough people will get fed up with Ralph and vote him out. They really do not offer the leadership that one expects from an Opposition Party. A classical example of their state of inertia is in THE VINCENTIAN of Friday, 5th December, 2014: VOICE OF THE NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY, a weekly column written by the NDP, an article entitled: “THE ULP BUILDING MOMENTUM TO THE NEXT GENERAL ELECTION.” I make the following three quotations: (1)”The ULP is a modern day progressive political party.”

(11) “In at least one constituency, known NDP supporters were seen in red T-shirts, clearly showing that they had shifted their allegiance to the ULP, based on the quality of the candidate.”

(111) “Truly our country has undergone tremendous progress over the last 13 years under the ULP ADMINISTRATION.”

Clearly there seems to be a mixing up of the articles because when one looks under the ULP column, the article entitled: “VICTIMIZATION IN MAYREAU is most likely the NDP’s article, an article, however, that Ralph can live with. I have read every publication of THE VINCENTIAN since then and to date there has not been a retraction by the newspaper. My only conclusion is the NDP has not read the article, or if they did they are comfortable with it.

THE YOUNG GENERATION AND THE WAY FORWARD

Not since the days of Post Emancipation and Adult Suffrage have we seen such docility and political inertia among our young intellectuals. They are surely not worthy of the struggles of their forefathers. To whom much is given, much is expected. They will one day realize, sooner rather than later that the sour grapes they now suck will put on edge the teeth of their offspring. Washing one’s hands from the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.

In light of the above, I greatly honour and respect the political activism and contributions made to this country and the region by the likes of Dr Kenneth John, Parnel Campbell, Eddie Griffith, Kerwin Morris and John Cato, among others, for their role in joining with others within the region and the diaspora during the period of the Black Power movement in educating the black man as to his history and development, a struggle their offspring now take for granted.

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