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The week that was

The week that was

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BEST WEEK EVER:

Catholicism has not traditionally been associated with embracing science or modern technology. But the students and staff at the St Mary’s Roman Catholic School are clearly breaking with tradition. St Mary’s RC has repeated as champs of the National Science and Technology Fair, besting 17 other primary schools and 11 secondary schools to cop the grand prize. St Mary’s submitted a whopping 66 projects to the Technology Fair, by far the most enthusiastic participation in the competition.{{more}} But there was quality amidst the quantity, as young RC student Zane Edwards also won a trophy for the most outstanding primary school entrant. Although the Science Fair organizers were bragging about the increased participation in the event, there are still too few schools competing. Let’s hope that next year, other schools take a page from the book of St Mary’s RC, and encourage their students to embrace science and technology.

Runner-up:

Awareness of SVG’s unique history and ancient indigenous heritage should get a boost with the construction of a new Cayo Village in Argyle. During the early phases of the Argyle Airport construction process, workers stumbled upon a major archeological find: the remnants of a 13-building indigenous village that dated back to the 16th century. Now, with the guidance of a professor of Caribbean archeology from a Dutch university, locals and foreign university students are recreating a smaller replica of the original village, just a stone’s throw from the original site. The hope is that the replica village will spur greater local interest and knowledge of SVG’s original peoples, as well as attracting some tourist dollars from those arriving and departing from our new airport. All that remains is to rename the new airport after our national hero, Paramount Chief Chatoyer, and we will have done our part to honour the ancestors and atone for our disturbance of their resting place.

WORST WEEK EVER:

We’re just a year removed from the painful Chikungunya outbreak, and our old nemesis the aedes aegypti mosquito is back in the news again, this time carrying a new virus: Zika. By most accounts, Zika causes a pretty mild illness, unless you happen to be pregnant. Then, there is a possibility that Zika may be linked to a serious birth defect that causes children to be born with shrunken heads and brain damage. The evidence isn’t clear on the link between Zika and the birth defects, but as always, the hysteria is far ahead of the facts. Zika is already confirmed across the Caribbean, and anyone who thinks it isn’t already in SVG – or won’t be here soon – is sticking his head in the sand. The Health Minister is full of youthful optimism and naiveté, but his confident declarations won’t amount to anything if a bunch of deformed babies start showing up at Milton Cato Hospital in nine months time. Better to hope that the link between the virus and the birth defect is false, and to do what we all can to keep mosquitoes under control. Don’t forget: aedes aegypti is still carrying Dengue and Chikungunya as well.

Runner-up:

Depending on your politics, Leon “Bigger Biggs” Samuel is either justifiably paranoid – based on his self-proclaimed history of past victimization – or he is an attention-loving irritant, who “cries wolf” at every opportunity. Last week, Biggs, who owns a popular fried chicken joint at the edge of “Little Tokyo,” was screaming to anyone who would listen that Minister Julian Francis was coming to shut his business down over some allegedly trumped-up planning violations. Biggs’ evidence? Well, he’d seen Francis walking around in Little Tokyo, in the vicinity of his eatery. Turns out Francis was looking at a shed built by a completely different business, which Francis had already mentioned on the Parliamentary floor. Francis was also doing some groundwork for his ambitious 2016 plan to clean up Kingstown. Biggs’ business was a non-factor. Biggs’ assumption that the entire Government dedicates itself each day to crushing his every attempt to make a dollar is mind-boggling. Remind us again why Biggs is so powerful or rich or influential that he would merit such attention. Oh, and remind us the last time he made any concrete blocks. Remember his crusade to get his sand-mining licence back? Well, he’s been granted permission to mine sand for over a year now, but the only thing he’s made is fried chicken.

If I had a question in SVG Parliament

…I’d ask Luke Browne, the Minister of Health, to give us a specific, daily, schedule of when and where the Vector Control Unit will be doing its mosquito fogging. And while I’m at it, I’d ask him if there is any link between the chemicals used in the fogging and any lasting respiratory ailments or other illnesses.

Media Watch

Why is it that every minor personnel move at Digicel, LIME, and a few other companies, gets major coverage in our newspapers? Every routine job promotion or transfer is faithfully reported, complete with photos of the new Deputy Assistant Manager of Customer Conversations and his biography. The question is: who cares? Is it just that these companies send out press releases, which the newspapers then republish? Or is it that the media really think that there is an interest in these internal personnel shifts? If so, please tell us the next time a grocery bagger moves up to cashier at Greaves supermarket. We’re dying to know.

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