Our Readers' Opinions
November 8, 2013
Is there no place for critical thinking in SVG?

Fri Nov 8, 2013

Editor: I was motivated to ask this question having read Cecil Blazer Williams’ column in THE NEWS of 01/11/2013, under the caption: OF REALITY AND WISHFUL THINKING. In that article, Blazer wrote: “The entire reparation process is being cheapened and vulgarized by individuals who suffer from the cancerous disease of Ralph-Hate… How backward and self destructive can we become.” It is not the first time Blazer is referring to black people as backward. During the Constitutional Reform debate, Blazer, in reference to others and myself, wrote that we should be “shipwrecked to an island called backwardness”. {{more}}

I find it difficult to understand the sycophancy of Blazer. Blazer was able to let down his bucket early o’clock, with a Master’s in Economics, as a dramatist, social activist and Political Commentator, and later as a lawyer. If Blazer, with over four decades of post-university education, cannot tolerate and or demonstrate a higher level of critical thinking, then who would?


None was more critical than Blazer of Dr Kenneth John during his tenure as chairman of the Public Service and the Police Service Commissions under the NDP. Under Blazer’s stewardship, both the Public Service and the Police Service have become apologies of what they ought to be. The following bear testimony.

1. Article 16 of the 2005 Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Government and the Teachers’ Union is being ignored.

2. Anesia Baptiste, then a public servant, was served with sixteen charges, having appeared on an Opposition NDP platform during the 2009 Referendum campaign, whilst public servants, Audrey Gilkes, Nicola Evans and Joy Matthews, among others, are not only hosting weekly Interactive Radio Programmes on behalf of the ruling ULP party, they also play leading roles within the party. To the contrary, they have been rewarded with promotion.

3. It is alleged that between 11/08/2009 and 23/12/2009, there were questionable transactions amounting to EC$43,555.38, among other things, between the Ministry of Agriculture and CARDAP, a company owned by then permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Allan Alexander, son of the Speaker of the House of Parliament, Hendrick Alexander. (SEARCHLIGHT, 07/12/2010). To date he is yet to be charged.

4. The Assistant Commissioner of Police is the Acting Commissioner of Police in the presence of the Deputy Commissioner of Police.

5. The director of the Community College, Laura Browne, is a retired civil servant, who has absolutely no experience at that level. She has not even been the deputy principal of a Primary School. My understanding is that four or five persons had applied for the position, including the deputy. To date none has had a reply. In the general Civil Service, persons without any clerical or civil service training are appointed to the post of Permanent Secretary and other senior positions. A classical case is the appointment of the principal nursing officer Audrey Gilkes to the post of Permanent Secretary.


The debate on Reparation may be considered backward thinking. When Ralph came to POWER in 2001, St Vincent had attained the following:

1. A fully functional educational system, ranging from Kindergarten to University.

2. A well formed and functioning Primary Health Care System and a fairly well established Secondary Health Care System.

3. A modern system of law and order.

4. A free trade and mercantile system.

5. A well-established sea and air transport and telecommunication system.

6. An established sea and air defense, under the responsibility of Britain and the US.

7. A fairly well-established and maintained road network system.

8. A well-established public service arrangement.

9. A Parliament and the power to make laws.

10. A populace with the will, the skill and the capacity to communicate and to migrate to the rest of the world.

This level of development could never have happened without the input of Britain and its allies. When one listens to Ralph and his sycophants, one gets the distinct impression that development, as defined by western societies, began in 2001. To the contrary, in many ways we have regressed. A cursory look at our roads gives one the impression that this country has been recently hit by a tsunami. Our roads, for the most part, are deplorable and in many instances impassible.

There has been no life individually or nationally without adversity. The tenacity of a person or nation is based on their ability to rise from a fall. Slavery and genocide may be considered the two greatest man-made disasters ever. However, what do we do? Live in the past, or do we prove our tenacity and move on? The call for Reparation is an act of living in the past. The Caribbean civilization is perhaps the smallest and youngest civilization in the world, but our level of development has surpassed many. This could not have been achieved without the help of our former colonial masters. There is much talk about what Britain has done to us, but I am yet to see or hear of any scientific planning for the way forward, by the reparationists, whether Reparation is achieved or not. This country, in 2007, received US$250,000 to commemorate the abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. To date, I see no evidence of it.

Ralph Gonsalves constantly refers to right thinking people as “backward and colonial minded;” yet he has chosen to make the great sacrifice of having his two teenage children to read for their A-Level studies in “backward colonial” England. Of his five children, none has gone to Cuba or any of his ALBA and Non-Aligned nations to study. Two have already studied in the US and one at UWI.


Like Reparation, PM Gonsalves is CARICOM’s self-appointed spokesperson on marijuana. His advisors are Ras Franki and Bunny Wailer. They implore him to advance the debate on the legalization of marijuana at the CARICOM level. (See Bunny Wailer’s letter to PM Gonsalves. SEARCHLIGHT 10/09/2013).

Marijuana is classified as a No 1 Drug on the WHO Dangerous Drug list. I am yet to hear health professionals clamour for its legalization. They know the dangers of the drug. Ask any psychiatrist or health worker, the social worker, the school counsellor, the secondary school teacher and the distraught parent or guardian. They have the experience. They know that:

“Chronic marijuana users may exhibit apathy; dullness; impairment of judgement, concentration and memory; and loss of interest in personal appearance and a pursuit of conventional goals.” (GOODMAN AND GILMAN’S, THE PHARMACOLOGICAL BASIS OF THERAPEUTICS).

When health professionals and social workers are confronted with the fact that alcohol is legalized, they intelligently answer the question thus: Then why do you want to add more misery to the lives of our children? PM Gonsalves will simply not engage us in these topics, because we are too “backward and colonial minded”.


While Blazer can only see us as “backward”, follow the observations of his colleagues and scholars.


” ‘I fear for this society’, Justice Bruce-Lyle stated on Friday, October 25th, 2013. ‘Our society is heading down a precipice.’ ”


” Campbell said we are now living in a society that is ‘lawless, callous, and violent’. He said in today’s society, our people are ‘less friendly, less tolerant, less loving, less trustful and less fearful of God. ‘I do not like what I am seeing in this country today,’ Campbell remarked.”


“Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Nicole Bonadie-Baker lost her temper at the 2013 Schools’ Independence Rally, describing the gathering of children as disrespectful, unmannerly and quickly ‘becoming a lost generation’. She also took a swipe at the misbehaving children’s parents. ‘Children and young people, you are becoming a lost generation.’”


Among other things, Johnson wrote: “Crimes in SVG have reached an alarming level. I have written on this time and time again. Killings are not restricted to lovers’ quarrels. The dastardly crimes frequently make headlines in the newspapers. People are tired of the killings. As to burglary, that is affecting many persons in SVG. Some person’s houses have been broken into more than once. Isn’t this enough to cause panic? One more death or one more burglary is sufficient to cause an overpowering of fear.”


With the foregoing, are Blazer’s comments not giving credence to Jomo Thomas’ article in THE VINCENTIAN of 10/02/2012, under the caption: RACE, CLASS AND POLITICS, when he wrote:

“Gonsalves’ put down of sections of segments of the black population, particularly his political opponents are now legendary: ‘Bush will not see Eustace if he and Eustace were walking down the street at midnight,’ uncultured and untutored, chattering nabobs, etc. To what extent are these statements… calculated as mind-bending techniques intended to work on the psyche of the population? Are these insulting political darts intended to make us less confident in ourselves or intended to convince the black majority that they lack the intelligence to lead our country through good and bad times? When we join with Gonsalves and use words like dotish, silly and lazy to describe Eustace, are we not perpetuating the myth of black leaders as unintelligent?”

For Blazer, a black man, to describe black people as having a “cancerous disease of Ralph-Hate and backward”, is clearly the work of a servile self-seeker.

Matthew Thomas