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Poor, but not impoverished; penniless but not hungry

Poor, but not impoverished; penniless but not hungry

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EDITOR: Jesus said, “The poor you have with you always.” This statement was not a command for us to create poverty, but one for us to be compassionate.

On a visit to a certain community in St. Vincent, a five-year-old remarked, “These people must be very poor.” The reason given was that there were no fruit trees around any of the houses.

With the advent and proliferation of Poor Relief, the spirit of self-sufficiency, independence, self-reliance and self-help are crying out for air to breathe.

History has shown that Vincentians have always been an independent people. Who has created such widespread poverty and for what purpose? Is Poverty the new culture? Is this the designed hidden curriculum taught in our schools?

Traditionally, each family grew crops, kept poultry, sheep, goats, perhaps a cow, and possibly a donkey for transport. Those on the coastline or river bank have fishing skills. No one was hungry except the old and feeble. And even then, the family, neighbour and church played their role.

Although money was scarce, people were able to feed themselves and provide for important occasions like weddings and feasts. Those of us old enough to remember long for the good old days. We wonder, “how long can we remain in our present impoverished and penniless state.”

Anthony Stewart, PhD

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