Story dey fuh talk…
Dr. Fraser- Point of View
October 26, 2023

Story dey fuh talk…

I continue from where I left off on 13th October- “The Other Side of Independence”. Tomorrow we will all be Vincy to our bones. Our national colours will send the message. The Independence Parade and Message

with goodies to offer, singing our national anthem lustily, tasting our Vincy dishes, taking pride in seeing what we produce, and participating in the other celebratory events – What

a day of rejoicing that will be!

We would at the end of it have celebrated a 44-year-old-identity, even though we might disagree about what that identity is. What are our expectations of a 44-year-old being/entity? A sense of maturity, a feeling that you have taken control of your life, that you have been very productive in efforts to sustain your life, annoyed with those still begging for you ask to what use do they put what might be given to them. How do you live with your brothers and sisters and with others who inhabit the space that you call your home?

So, 44 years have passed and hopefully our country, our land and society, all of us, have acquired the tools to move gracefully on. The focus is on us, the people who make up this country. We should no longer speak as individuals for we cannot do individually what needs to be done, a collective effort is needed. Are we satisfied with how things are moving and with our level of involvement? Surely, the fact that this year we have broken another record with our homicide rates must be of concern to us. In fact, we are just short of matching our 44 years of existence as an INDEPENDENT nation. We should be alarmed that, per capita, we are in the top group with our level of homicides. We might disagree with the actual numbers we assign to the unemployed, but accurate/reliable statistics are hard to come by. A census is currently being undertaken. I hope it is not finished for no one has contacted my home. Hopefully, it is just that they have as yet not gotten around to us, for most of the day someone is in the house. We, of course, recognise the importance of having accurate census data. There is controversy about the poverty rates, the last Poverty report has as yet not reached the public. Information leaked has, however, painted a damning picture of the levels of poverty. We should not hesitate to make such information available for it will equip the decision makers with the data to be able to target areas of higher poverty levels.

We are putting a lot of effort in developing our tourism product for we are still lagging in this area. Hotels are being built, other things are being put in place, we are told. Hotels will not our tourism product make. People will not visit us because there are attractive hotels and available space. There are others who are much better endowed in those areas. We are also quite aware that we cannot put all our eggs in one basket, for tourism is extremely vulnerable, to the weather, to the state of the economies of those countries from which our visitors come and among other things to war. Ukraine and Russia might seem far away, but our global village is becoming smaller. The Middle East is at the point where the Hamas- Israeli struggle could become part of a much larger conflict with our next-door bigger brother becoming heavily involved. America claims it is defending democracy, Israel their democratic partner. But in September the Israeli Supreme Court had begun to hear the first challenge to Netanyahu’s divisive judicial overhaul which would weaken the Supreme Court and concentrate power in the hands of the Prime Minister and his allies. America is on the other hand in a total political mess. In this year 2023 some States are banning books, books I read in school, like Animal Farm and Tom Sawyer and books by Nobel Prize Laureates including the now deceased Toni Morrison. I raise these to emphasize the fact that as part of the global community we face challenges almost every hour of the day.

But we have to do what we have to do to defend our space and work on those things over which we have control. This is not possible with a divided nation. Our celebrations will continue over the weekend. On Monday when we get back to work, we will share with our friends the good time we had celebrating our independence, whatever independence means beyond a date. Much of this we would have known from Facebook, even about what they ate on Independence Anniversary Day. Some of this would definitely have been inflated to make the experience better than it really was.

But what next? Commercial interests will begin to focus on Christmas and remind us that we need to throw out the not so old and to bring in the new. In many cases, we don’t have to pay a cent until February 2024. Our nation, through us, get its priorities screwed up and spends its money, which is our money, on things and projects that might have a political value for some, but do not satisfy the real needs in the society. If we have convinced ourselves that poverty is not a major problem, then it will not be seen as a priority. So, we go round and round the mulberry bush even when we do not have “a cold and frosty” morning. But we will do some mental gymnastics and convince ourselves that we have progressed beyond our wildest dreams. Do you see the number of vehicles on the road, some say! Until another time, for “story dey fuh talk, but time no dey fo tell tell em.” Why are we still avoiding a national conversation on the real state of things since independence?


  • Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator and historian