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BEST WEEK EVER

BEST WEEK EVER

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The ongoing legal-political soap opera starring Otto Sam may be nearing its final act. Last week, the Court of Appeal tossed aside the Government’s challenge to an earlier ruling that Sam was “illegal[ly] and irrational[ly]” transferred from his post as a South Rivers head teacher to the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO).

Sam is a loud and persistent critic of the Government, and there is no line between his political and professional personas.{{more}} Whatever the legal arguments, conventional wisdom says he was transferred to a remote outpost of the Public Service after too many incidents of anti-Ralph activism in the heart of the Prime Minister’s constituency stronghold. Sam’s contrarian streak, unprofessionalism and martyr complex may make him a poor public servant, but the Government must still obey the law when dealing with political irritants. Hopefully, all the other aspects of this complex and seemingly never-ending case will be resolved soon.

Runner-up:

By now the entire country knows the story of Sweet-I Robertson, the one-time star athlete and top pupil who was paralyzed by a stray bullet. Sweet-I has endured tremendous physical and emotional pain, and countless medical procedures here and in Cuba. She has also benefitted from the warmth and personal involvement of Prime Minister Gonsalves, who has worked hard to improve the living conditions of her and her family long after the story of the 2009 tragedy faded from the headlines.

Now, Sweet-I’s latest chapter is a joyous one, as she has enrolled at the SVG Community College. Sweet-I will study English Literature and Sociology, braving a long and expensive commute from Chateaubelair to Villa in pursuit of higher education. If recent history is a guide, we can confidently predict another triumph over adversity for this remarkable young woman.

WORST WEEK EVER:

By now it’s a familiar cycle around the world: Schoolchildren star in explicit homemade pornographic video; video leaks and is digitally distributed to thousands of viewers; voyeurs who secretly watch the entire video – repeatedly – spew self-righteous outrage about the decline of civilization and a lost generation of youth; the would-be child actors are harshly disciplined, and everyone settles down to await the next bout of technological titillation.

Even as we become immune to these videos, the latest leak was shocking for its content, for the casually callous attitude of its narrators and multiple male participants, and mostly, for the quiet shame of its principal female victim. With the brazen attitudes displayed by many of the children in the video, it’s no wonder that it has been so widely distributed. But before the wave of suspensions, expulsions and criminal charges begin, let’s remember that these children are just symptoms of a wider illness that can only be dealt with through sex education, good parenting, and frank discussions about self-respect and the use of technology in an era of confusing mixed messages to our youth.

Runner-up:

Ivan O’Neal just can’t catch a break. Not only is his name the punch line of almost every political joke in SVG, but the self-professed leader of a purported political party can’t even park his van in peace. Thieves or vandals allegedly took a liking to his massive campaign vehicle, making off with key components of O’Neal’s mean green machine. Worse, with elections right around the corner, O’Neal has admitted having more difficulty than usual in assembling his usual motley crew of drifters and misfits to fill out his Green Party candidate slate.

A cynic may see a connection between Ivan’s van, his low profile and his quest for duty-free vehicle concessions or his sudden burst of front-page newspaper headlines last week. We just see another act in SVG’s own political tragicomedy.

If I had a question in SVG Parliament

…I would ask Arnhim Eustace to fully disclose his own assets, liabilities and banking records – and those of his entire slate of candidates – before he starts trying to use Parliament to broadcast the confidential banking information of private citizens.

Media Watch

It is elections season. The political meetings are coming fast and furious, and so are the outlandish exaggerations or lies from the political platforms. It may be time for print, broadcast and Internet journalists to have a little refresher on how to properly cover these events, instead of simply rebroadcasting each side’s political rhetoric as fact.

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