Our Readers' Opinions
September 18, 2015
A love letter to my sisters and brothers of Sharpes

My fellow Vincentians, warm greetings from Bonn, Germany.

My brothers and sisters from Central Kingstown, very special greetings! And to you, my soul and heart, you the people of Redemption Sharpes, this is my love letter to you!

Yes, it is because of love for my country and my wish for a better future for all Vincentians that I am forced to write you this letter. I plead with you to please lend me your ear. Or as we say in Sharpes, “please gimme ah hearing. Please!”{{more}}

I need no introduction. Central Kingstown is my backyard with Sharpes being my home. I am sure many would agree that I might have run more laps on this park than any other person. And from Curtis “Fame” Joseph to Desmond “Puff” Providence can testify of my true love and respect for this community and each and every one of you. This is so because I was shaped here in Sharpes. I am a product of Sharpes. You and this place are always on my mind, heart and soul. So you and I are one! This we cannot escape.

Soon we will be called to the polls by Prime Minister, Dr Ralph Gonsalves to vote for a government to manage our country for the next five years. The ULP is asking you to vote for Mr Beresford Phillips. I beseech you to vote for him. For other Vincentians he is Mr Phillips; for us, the people of Sharpes, he is “Beebs.” Our Beebs! He is no make-believe Central Kingstown man. He is not an imposter who declares that he is better than you and therefore too bright to represent you. Beebs is a bona fide Sharpes man. He was born and bred here among us. He, like you and I, played on this very park.

Bees loves and has always loved Sharpes and Central Kingstown. I don’t have to tell you that he has tried in many ways to uplift our community. I don’t have to tell you that he runs businesses, providing employment for many. You know he knocks some dominoes at Munroe’s shop sometimes. And, I know of the many people he has assisted using his hard-earned money to provide for their needs. It is really a measure of the man that I have never heard him boast about the help he has given to anyone. He is simply too humble to be boastful. But above all, he is one of us, a symbol of our determination to succeed! He, like many others that we have produced, is proof positive, to quote Brother Bob, that something “good can come out of Trench Town.”

We all know that Bees is a serious and constructive person. He does not believe in “Rude Boyism” and “Bad manism,” for that takes no one anyway. Development is not about going into Parliament and cursing and disrespecting the nation; and then, following that up by telling people about their mommy. As a matter of fact, we know in Sharpes if you disrespect a man’s mother, that is serious, real serious! We need to show that Central Kingstown has better to offer the Parliament and this nation than people who would disrespect your dead mother! Yes, we can and will offer better! Better from among our very own! Better in Beresford “Beebs” Philllips! A general in decency and respectability from among us!

Sharpes has given this nation from Maurice “Sketch” Edwards, director general of Finance and Planning to Kenneth Providence, who played for the Windwards cricket team. We surely can do better than sending someone to Parliament who disrespects from our National Hero to our mothers. We surely are sensible enough to say you have embarrassed us enough! We want a representative interested in a better future for our children, who put the country first and not his party, as calypsonian Ipa instructs us to do.

My brothers and sisters, you know that it is education that has made me who I am as a professional. We need to continue our escape from ignorance. Indeed, when I was a boy running around this park, one of the things I used to hear people like Ms Amy Providence of real blessed memory say is, “ignorance is a curse!” And, we also need to continue our escape from poverty and violence. An example of “rude boyism” and “bad manism” cannot help us in this escape. It is the Education Revolution, decent housing, more and better jobs that will make us escape. This is what Beebs and the ULP offer us. Remember Hebrews, Chapter 2, verse 3, says “how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?” But here I am not talking about salvation of the soul, for that is between each of us and our Maker. I am talking about our economic, social and political salvation. So ask yourself how can we continue to escape poverty, ignorance and violence if we neglect this political salvation that is being delivered each and every day by the ULP?

People of Sharpes and Central Kingstown, I got an opportunity and held on to it and so changed my life. I would be ungrateful, wicked, evil, and would betray you and your children if I do not try my best to see that your children get the same or a better opportunity. I would be downright selfish and bad minded if I do not try to seek to promote betterment for you, the people of Sharpes, whom I claim I love. And so I write this love letter to you, my sisters and brothers, my neighbours, for I am instructed by the Bible in Mark, Chapter 12, verse 31, that the second greatest commandment is to love my neighbour as I love myself. That love tells me that you and your children should have the same opportunities or better than I had. This is why we need Beebs! This is why we need the ULP!

The ULP is committed to providing opportunities in every field to and for our people. And as Buju Banton says, opportunity is a scarce commodity, so when it comes we must grab it with both hands and hold on for life! Beebs is our opportunity to say we join the rest of this nation in our march to progress in the interest of our children and grandchildren. We must do like the wise virgins in Matthew 25 and oil our lamps before the door is shut! Please, please, vote Beebs, vote the ULP, vote Ralph to keep the doors of opportunity for our children and grandchildren open!

And talking of Ralph, our beloved Prime Minister. Firstly, please forgive me for calling him Ralph, but I call him that out of deep love. In the same way I call Dr Castro “Fidel.” Anyone who knows me knows I have loved Fidel from since I was 14. That hasn’t changed and will NEVER CHANGE!! So too, calling him Ralph underlines my love for our PM.

So, before I am finished please allow me to say something about our Commander-in-Chief, Ralph. I know I do not have to tell you that he is a gifted intellectual. I do not have to tell you he is the greatest living Caribbean leader, outside of Fidel. I do not have to tell you that he has transformed housing, health, physical infrastructure and created the miracle called the Education Revolution. Even Judas who betrayed Christ would admit these things if he were to come back alive. Indeed, even those who have disrespected our National Hero, and our mothers and their sacred graves, are forced to admit that Ralph has done a miracle in building our international airport.

But while I admire Ralph and thank him for all these wondrous works, this is not the main reason why I love and support him. No. I love and support Ralph because of his deep, abiding and genuine unconditional love for, and faith in our country and its people. Of this, I have no doubt whatsoever!! I admit that when I see his love for our people it has brought me to tears many times. This love is in his head; just listen to how he speaks with excitement, commitment and conviction when he discusses his faith in our people, in particular the young. This love is in his heart; just look at his embrace of little children, the lives to live programme, the home help for the aged and much, much more. And this love is in his soul; just look at his determination that we be lifted up as a nation in love. Indeed, the central element of the ULP’s campaign this time is “Labour loves you!” This is the first and only time that love is the heart of a political party’s campaign in the history of this country. Ralph’s love for his country and people is complete. It is perfect!!

I am not trying to make Ralph a saint, for we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. I am simply stating an elementary truth. His love for this country is boundless!! He loves each and every one of us. He is in politics because of that love. I have seen this man so tired, his eyes and face sometimes show a man overworked. Yet, he fights on, bleeding himself because he loves his people so much. And, Christ himself teaches in John, Chapter 15, verse 13 “Greater love has no one than this that one lay down his life for his friends.” Ralph lays his very life down for his country and his people! Love is the greatest force on this earth and it shall prevail. Ralph is full of love and he shall prevail!!

Before closing, I state here that no one asked me to write this love letter. But some things did. Those things are my beliefs in honesty, justice, truth and an undying patriotism which demands that I be my brother’s keeper.

In closing, I ask you to touch the brother, sister, comrade, friend, just the person next to you and say “We deserve better, better must come, better has come, because Beebs is better!! And Beebs is here!

I love you, I always will!!


(Dr Richard A Byron-Cox is a Vincentian residing in Germany)