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The week that was

The week that was


Minister of Agriculture Hon Saboto Caesar (left) with Managing Director of the St Vincent Chocolate Company Andrew Hadley


The St Vincent Cocoa Company (SVCC) invited a few lucky guests to unwrap a sweet belated Christmas gift: High-quality chocolate bars – made in SVG, from cocoa beans grown in SVG by Vincy farmers. The luxurious dark chocolate bar is the latest milestone on the growth of a viable cocoa industry in SVG.{{more}} Some of us will remember that in 2010, the Armajaro Cocoa company became a political football, with both parties claiming responsibility for attracting the multinational. Alas, local farmers didn’t find Armajaro’s offers sweet enough, and the conglomerate quietly sold off its stake to the SVCC. Now, with production and quality increasing, and with the launch of a new candy bar, SVG can compete with the new chocolate industries in Grenada and St Lucia; not just in the production of raw beans, but also high-quality, uniquely Vincy chocolate products.



Pannist extraordinaire Rodney Small keeps growing from strength to strength. Despite some inclement weather and the absence of his collaborator Skinny Fabulous, Small’s “Steel Expressions” musical extravaganza was once again a must-see Christmas treat. Although Small and his virtuoso pan playing remain at the centre of the Steel Expressions experience, he willingly shared the stage with a wide array of local Vincy talent – from traditional drummers to calypsonians to vocalists to even 11-year-old violinist Milan Compton. Small’s showmanship remains his calling card, and his imagination and ambition have Steel Expressions looking more and more like a one-night local music festival. We hope that this year, even more Vincies and visitors will enjoy this entertaining event. Well done, Rodney, and keep it up!


How bad was Ben Exeter’s December? Let’s see: First he lost his election. Then, this week, he lost his Court application that challenged the election result. Then, finally, he lost freedom, as the police scuffled him up and dragged him away from a demonstration and into Central Station lock-up, where he was charged with assault and resisting arrest. Ben has gone so far as to allege police brutality during his time in custody, but it seems that the biggest bruises were to his ego. No one would blame Ben if he considered “Exiting” SVG and re-migrating to his beloved Canada, where the cold weather and frosty business climate were much more welcoming than the Vincy electorate, judges and police.



The New Democratic Party had another disheartening week in its efforts to challenge the 2015 election results through a double-barrelled attack of street protests and legal challenges. The daily demonstrations outside of the Electoral Office have been dismally attended, sometimes with only five lonely protesters banging drums and shouting bullhorn allegations of fraud. Even the big demonstration scheduled for the opening of Parliament was a disappointment, as a modest crowd of semi-interested dissenters and spectators watched NDP parliamentarians march into Parliament, get themselves marked “present,” and then march out.

Considering the heavy advance hype of the big demonstration, including the providing of free transportation for protestors, the turnout may signal dwindling interest in the NDP’s long-shot challenge against the election results. Luckily for the party, Ben Exeter’s late arrest at the protest may have salvaged the day, because the newspaper headlines said “Ben Arrested” instead of “Protest Flops.” Nonetheless, the absence of the NDP rank-and-file from the recent protest actions may force the party to take a fresh guard and try something new in their maddeningly fruitless quest to form government.


If I had a question in SVG Parliament

I’d ask the Prime Minister if he still would have announced his intention to make Jomo Thomas the new Speaker of the House if Gonsalves knew that Thomas’ reported paramour, Shirlan ‘Zita’ Barnwell, would be named an Opposition senator. Gonsalves has had trouble bending Thomas to his will in the best of times, but now, with the Speaker’s gavel in his hand and passion in his heart, who knows where the new “Mr Speaker” will take the Prime Minister?

Media Watch

Modern media is a 24-7-365 affair. It never stops. Certainly, news doesn’t ever go on vacation. Which is why the practice of weekly or semi-weekly newspapers closing up shop and not publishing on public holidays seems as old-fashioned as a night-time flambeau. Our newspapers aren’t doing themselves any favours in this brave new media world with their weekly cycles, little-or-no Internet and social media presence, and traditional views about holidays and days-off.