Our Readers' Opinions
August 13, 2004
Who will save this nation of ours?

Editor: Our nation seems to be fast heading along a path of political suicide, suffering nervously from a serious bout of political party madness.
The sad symptoms of divisiveness, blind allegiance, greed, maliciousness and foolish pride are causing a type of sickness that has never before been seen in our nation. {{more}}Many are tempted to ask, like calypsonian The Man Age, “What’s Up Doc?” But I believe we must stop pointing a finger at an individual without recognizing our collective responsibility.
Some of us have actively contributed to the madness while others of us have passively prodded it along with our deafening silence. Now we must all look ourselves in the mirror and ask, “What is my legacy?” What will I be remembered for? What will my descendants say of my contribution to nation building?
I believe the day of reckoning is on the horizon, and every Vincentian MUST begin to question his or her role in bringing the nation to its knees. No doubt our nation is falling on its face and is heading for rock bottom, even at a time when positive developments in governance, education, culture, housing and healthcare are taking place. We must then seriously consider why? International political and economic forces have certainly played a role in our country’s demise but we cannot as individuals escape blame.
We have replaced love with a brand of callousness that is frightening. Our sense of community has almost been eroded and is seemingly being replaced by the American value of individualism. This is almost understandable, but not forgivable, from the perspective that we have been trained to accept and believe that anything foreign is better than our own. The days when we believed that it takes a village to raise a child have been usurped by our cut-throat approach to personal advancement. Fewer and fewer persons seem to be willing to give up anything unless there is some cutback, payment or personal gain. One can probably argue, not soundly, on the side of those who are unemployed or underemployed, that basic survival takes precedence. But then we must ask what of the others?
As calypsonian Ipa suggested in a song a decade or so ago, we have got to put country first. It will take a collective effort and a change of attitude towards development from each of us. No longer can we depend solely on others and those on the outside for deliverance. We have got to begin to tap into our creative genius and develop programmes and produce, with an authentic Vincentian stamp, that caters to our needs. We must develop a taste for things local, and create and keep wealth circulating in our country. All Vincentians must work together for the betterment of the nation.
We must demand and support policies and programmes from the government that guarantee our right to a life of dignity; fight to end exploitation in all forms; and demand assistance from those businesses that are all too happy to take our money, but often are reluctant to assist a worthy cause. We must demand that institutions where we save our wealth invest in sound local initiatives, rather than seeking foreign investments; demand a new sense of social and political awareness and consciousness building from our media and political parties, so that we truly understand the nature of our place in the vicious global order. We must, therefore, with the spirit of Chatoyer, draw on the strength of our ancestors who did more with less, and fight now to do more with more.

Sherrill-Ann Mason