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The PM’s Independence speech

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Independence time is here again, and the nation, even as it celebrates, awaits with anxiety the Prime Minister’s address on Independence Day, Monday, October 27. These are troubling times for us all, and Dr Gonsalves’ head must be “hot”. So, in order to ease him up (though we need much more of an “ease up” than he, so I should say, assist him), I have taken the liberty to prepare a light-hearted outline of what he can say to Vincentians on Monday. Read on!{{more}}

“Fellow Vincentians. If that term reminds you of the late Robert Milton Cato, remember it was he who delivered the first Independence address, and he is the person who I would like to designate as “Father of the Nation”, even though you do not seem, in majority to approve, so I must respect your feelings. I bring you greetings and congratulations on this the 29th anniversary of our country’s accession to formal political independence.

“The twenty-nine years since Independence have been marked by a maturing of the political processes which led us to take that step. Those three decades have not been without difficulty, though, and as I am fond of saying, we have had our advances and setbacks. Sometimes those setbacks have been of our own making, but the Almighty has, while blessing us, from time to time reminded us of our transgressions and his omnipresence.

“So we have had natural disasters, though good fortune has been more on our side than on that of many of our neighbouring islands. We have been spared the worst ravages. The Lord has even spared me and cousin Julian from political and social storms. Take the touch from Hurricane Omar, for instance. We needed to clean up our town and our market area and the bus centre, but politics in St Vincent and the Grenadines often stands in the way of progress. Julian would have had to do the dirty work, and though everybody, Opposition included, knew it was necessary, we would have had much political flak for it. Look at how God is good! He cleaned it up for us.

“That weather is another reminder to us of what the scientists call “climate change”. As we pollute our environment, it is affecting the climate, bringing all kinds of unpleasant and unseasonal effects. Not just physically, mind you, for whenever governments mess up, the political climate in my SVG is also being affected. My beloved teachers are causing me and my government worry and embarrassment with their industrial action. I boast so much about my Education Revolution, but they want to bring about a revolution in Education. I can’t sing no “Joy to the World” this Christmas. I appeal for patience and understanding.

“That understanding is very necessary because is not my climate alone has changed. Internationally, these are hard times, even the ice is melting in Iceland. For those people, banks used to mean the place where you catch fish but they get caught up in ‘financial services’ and abandon the fishing banks for money banks. Now all fall down. In the US, too, which used to mourn about the fall of the Twin Towers in 2001, the Multi Towers of finance capital crashing down on the heads of the American people burying their mortgages, pensions, retirement funds and jobs. We can’t help but become concerned. If the Lehman Brothers could fall, what can happen to the Francis Brothers?

“My Loyal Opposition don’t appear to understand the implications. I sure they going to step up warnings about the international airport. Damn Mitchell! If he had built it instead of the white elephants, I wouldn’t have that burden. Every day it becomes harder. Every penny going there means less available for Cooling the public servants or bringing Joy to teachers.

“Next year will be a monumental one in our politics, a watershed year. It will be the first time the Vincentian people will be called out to vote, not for a government, but on an issue, that of constitutional reform. It can determine not just the course of history but my own political fate, because if you don’t approve what I put to you, my own future in politics will be placed in jeopardy.

“That is the scenario facing us as we mark our 29th birthday…”

But maybe our PM doesn’t need a speechwriter! So I will let him do it himself. HAPPY INDEPENDENCE TO SVG!

Renwick Rose is a community activist and social commentator.