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December 4, 2015
The coming elections and the battle royal at Sion Hill – Part 1V

by Dr Richard A Byron-Cox

Luke Browne literally forced himself into my and John Public’s consciousness through sheer academic brilliance. It began when he wrote his O Levels, hitting everything to the boundary, and climaxed with his Rhodes scholarship to Oxford. We therefore need not tarry as regards his academic qualifications. I met him in the flesh on his return from school, through introduction by Sehon Marshall.{{more}} I knew him right away, as his picture had graced the front pages quite a few times. He didn’t know me; after all I am no Rhodes Scholar; but he greeted me with a genuine open slightly boyish smile, which said wholeheartedly, “I am really happy to meet you.” I confess “my spirit took him right away,” as old people in SVG would say. Since then I have met him twice more and that smile of joy, life, honesty and love only got broader. Now, what has this to do with political representation? Here is the answer.

I am of the firm conviction that the image you display to the public tells a lot about you as regards your heart, mind and soul. If you lack joy and love you cannot share them. Take a careful look at the pictures of Arnhim and compare them with those of Luke. Arnhim is always angry; when not angry he is “dead,” and when not angry or dead he seems lost. Luke is always smiling. He seems to be saying “life is exciting and hopeful, come join me, let’s share.” You cannot represent people if you are not truly opened to them. You must lift them up even by your demeanour. Many residents of East Kingstown face various challenges and their representative must by conduct say to them that regardless of how difficult, life is a great journey, and we will struggle, cry, overcome and laugh and dance together. This is Luke’s philosophy.

Luke has great faith in our better tomorrow, demonstrated in his work with the young, and his clear plans for the constituency. After the storm that seriously affected the constituency, Luke came clearing drains, sawing fallen trees, doing what he could to support the people. He knew that recovery will come once there is unity in purpose. With these and other actions, especially his summer work with young children, he inspires hope, but more practically he engenders cooperation and collaboration in the community. Contrast this to Arnhim’s attitude and performance. His seems to always be saying that Armageddon will happen anytime now!! So, he has done nothing! He refused, until very recently, to open a constituency office, even though the people’s money was given to him so to do. I have never heard of a single programme run by Arnhim over the last 15 years to help the youths of the constituency. If he did so, I shall be happy to be advised and render an apology accordingly.

Then there is the key issue of respect and love for the community. Luke has never tried to belittle the people of East Kingstown or sought to use their challenges as some political football to gain mileage. Arnhim, in a determined effort to embarrass the Government, went about preaching his chicken-back juice tale and how people put their refrigerators on only on weekends. He could not see that he was making the entire community he represents “look shame.” The question must be asked, how can you want to represent people when you pay scant regard to their dignity and nobility? And how can you love a community which, when threatened with deadly violence, you refuse to inform the police so that relevant action may be taken? Where is your concern for law and order in and for the lives of young men of the community? Arnhim should know that representation is serious business, not some theatrical or circus!

History is replete with examples, from Frederick the Great of Prussia, to Russia’s Peter the Great, of the role of political leadership in stimulating renaissance in society. East Kingstown needs leadership and representation that inspires a renaissance in community life in general. I recall as a boy and teenager that Sion Hill gave to SVG some true greats in every field of life. In athletics, there were the likes Donald Peters and Shaka James, among others. Indeed, no community could beat Sion Hill in the annual road relay. In cricket, we got Winston Davis and some wonderful teams over the years. This community, a powerhouse on the football landscape, produced such talents as Morie and Sheen Millington, inter alia. Cyril ‘Scorcher’ Thomas and the Sion Hill steel band are among the great musical offerings from the area, and there have been many artists working in the visual arts, carnival, poetry and theatre. Arnhim was blessed to have represented a community of such great talent and possibilities. Sadly, he did nothing to promote this in 17 years as parliamentary representative. He never understood his representation as a vehicle to promote their culture, aspirations and ambitions, i.e. to energize the life of the community. This is terribly tragic!

Finally, Luke is on the side of history. The ULP is transforming this country, laying the basis for a great future. I need not discuss any of the achievements made by this government; they are there for all to see! What is important is that the people of East Kingstown support this progress politically by sending an energetic, hopeful, talented and full of love Luke as their representative. The constituency must embrace this very bright spark that will help ignite a renaissance, a new age of creativity. Arnhim is politically now a Dark Age remnant, a past East Kingstown must let go for the renaissance to begin.