Our Readers' Opinions
April 30, 2010
Some advice to Andrea Bowman: “Call Bequia!”

by Dr. Richard A. Byron-Cox 30.APR.10

Making a virtue out of disadvantageous situations is second nature to true champions. So it’s left to Ralph to show whether the referendum licking was fatal or merely a bruising battle that strengthened his resolve to win the war by stopping an advancing NDP, convinced that they have him cornered this time. I am one of those who ceaselessly entreat Ralph to listen more if he is to check this threatening NDP avalanche, for ultimately; it is the vox populi that decides.{{more}} Of course, he ignores this upstart; “this dancer with some residual feeling for the NDP,” and those other “nonentities.” But out of the blue comes a nondescript old lady from Bequia, a clandestine latter day Esther, to whom he readily lends an ear.

So Ralph now sees the wisdom of removing $1 service charge at the Grenadines pier. Cousin Julian’s sole focus now is keeping the party in full swing, and fully charged. But a ready supply of Campari, a bar, karaoke and plenty money is no guarantee the party would remain in charge. The little dirt roads would now be paved or fixed. Allegations of police brutality while persisting have decreased. VAT has been removed from more basic-basket-food items. Here come wonderful people’s candidates in Ces Mckie and Maurice Slater, and if my Marvin Gaye links are right, Ken Boyea might well join the ULP line up. There is emerging evidence that his often unruly tongue is now more inclined to subject itself to his very tutored and sophisticated mind, as seen in his tentative steps at mending fences with teachers, he not too long ago dismissed as votes he didn’t need. And there is more, like for example the 32 million to be poured into health. These are all welcome flexibilities from a previously stiff-necked Ralph, proving that he can be made to listen. But he needs to go further for he is not out of the woods yet.

He must swallow infantile foolish pride and rebuild that universal coalition that swept him to power in 2001. Some who were then crimson red have faded to washout pink, disenchanted, demoralized, disenfranchised, totally dissatisfied. Others have turned yellow, jaundiced victims of the NDP’s unrelenting attack on his person, as well documented by Jomo in “Do what is required.” But this is only part of the story. Major onetime supporters are now hammering Ralph. Of course, he can argue that the likes of Junior and Mathew are bitter, or is it sour, as they have “turned” while he remains unspoilt even if battered. Or that those having for years subjected him to the Modern Prometheus treatment must now frankly admit he does have a heart. But what does he do about the likes of Jomo, who agrees that as regards policies and their implementation, Ralph is the best; and who declares no animosity, but yet demands his removal? These people while no multitude are a screaming crowd, town criers with influence, some heard day in day out, insistently calling for his head.

I have always said and I repeat now, the answer is listening to the people. It’s time for Ralph to find his way once again into their hearts. He must rebuild that beautiful rainbow that I saw upon my return to SVG just after the 2001 elections. This is fundamental to our country’s betterment. He must not risk that because of his personal maltreatment of Mr. X or Ms. Y (which I too experienced), our nation is exposed to another Ottley Hall, or the give away of the international airport; the way our strong rum business and public library were given away. Ralph must be determined to truly listen and to change course when necessary. The level of personal hate towards him is almost at boiling point in some quarters. How else can we explain that there are those who are willing to surrender to the sale of our passports and ending the education revolution solely to hurt him? It’s really frightening when a leading opinion maker declares: “the ULP deserve to lose” if Ralph is not removed. It’s obvious that for him the national interest is secondary. Ralph is the problem! So it’s time for another linking of hands and hearts with the people. And this time, the script must be different. Instead of going with pre-designed prescription and his Jesus complex, Ralph must be prepared to do analysis and make diagnosis. He must be prepared to really listen. And just like how he realized from the wisdom of the shadowy Esther from Bequia that the $1 should be removed. So, too, he would realize that allowing the sale of rum near GHS is tarnishing the ruby (the education revolution) of his golden crown of achievements. And believe me, nothing would please the intellectual pigmies more. Defeating this revolution and keeping people in ignorance is the Olympic goal of these intellects from Lilliput and its suburbs?

But who is this Sharps boy to advise Ralph. I do believe the Mrs. Bowman would take more kindly to my words knowing that it’s all done in the national interest, and that I have my beautiful Raeisa at her GHS. I remember when Rae was less than 1 year old, a politician opened something like a cement plant in the same area with terrible consequences for the residents. I know, for I lived there at the time, and thank GOD that Rea didn’t have to, for who knows what would have happened to her infant lungs. So my advice Mrs. Bowman is: find and call the nondescript Ms. Bequia, Ralph’s eminence grise. In so doing, you might well save a great part of our future, and Ralph’s education revolution without being called “terrorist!” as happened to those of us who dared oppose the Tobago Cays deal.