Our Readers' Opinions
October 14, 2016
A 30 million cage for the poor, black residents of Canouan?

by Dr Richard A Byron-Cox

Recently, PM Gonsalves announced that investors on Canouan will spend 30 million to improve the lives of the residents. As he calculated, the press ran with it like Bolt on the final leg of a 4 X 1. Nobody dropped the baton, proving Kant right that they lack courage to use their own reason! Indeed, sections of the press (for entertainment consisting of sandwiches and a chance to pose on a hotel bed) embraced this lightning-flash fictitious privilege, prostituting journalism without a blink. Even Judas would be appalled!! So, the Canouan residents are locked out of any say in the disposal of their lands, and worse still, in determining their destiny! Exceptional callousness!!{{more}}

Dr Gonsalves admitted he flew here, there and everywhere to ensure the investors accommodated each other. Further, with the Canouan residents demanding their rights, he met with the investors, while emphatically rejecting any such meeting with the residents. This from a man who boasts, “I report to you on my work….” Is it that he thinks them absolutely stupid, knowing not what is good for them? Or so beneath him, he doesn’t have to speak to them? Or is it that he now openly practises the ULP’s version of democracy: namely, one dollar, one vote??

But back to the 30-million dollar possible Chernobyl style encasement of the residents. I went to Canouan and saw maps showing the south and north of the island have been sold off, a process initiated by Mitchell and completed by Gonsalves. The people are, for all practical purposes, penned in with a tiny unworked quarry spared as cemetery. So, is this “investment” for reinforced concrete to ensure their only escape is to answer the dust to dust, ashes to ashes call? Further, isn’t “the investment” a mere 300,000 inflated 100 times to hoodwink a gullible public divorced from the reality of the injustices being meted out on the residents? I know what I am asking here!! I saw two concrete fish stalls in Canouan which investors claimed cost $10,000 apiece. Anyone in touch with Vincentian reality knows these were priced using the Zimbabwean inflation rate.

So, we have rich, white, foreign people, who should be asking permission to use our beaches, telling us what to do and seemingly aided by our Government! The right to fish and to go on the beach when we want are now denied and/or decided by them, with our PM telling us to simmer!! Terry Bynoe and Debra Foyle-Snagg are pariahs for taking the principled stance declared by Anthony “Gabby” Carter, “That beach is mine!!” And apart from the lukewarm efforts by Jomo Thomas (Gonsalves’ Speaker), and yours truly, to say a word or two in defence of our people’s nobility, the so-called progressives, and those who claim to love SVG and its people so much have swallowed their tongue. From church leaders to trade unionists are all in the ‘ostrich’ mode, some out of shameless cowardice, others because the PM has granted them some shut-mouth job, or some meaningless recognition!! Gonsalves, I must agree, is a boss at institutionalizing people! Mitchell it was who diagnosed this breadfruit mentality syndrome affecting more than 99 per cent of us. But Gonsalves uses it to maximum effect and advantage!!! God help SVG.

But as bad as all related above sounds, the real bloody day (could be Sunday, Monday, any day) is still to come. Terry Bynoe has already been warned by police, “This will end bad fo’ all ah you down here!” So, when will the police begin terrorizing, possibly murdering the residents of Canouan as they stand up for OUR rights? Can’t happen, you say. Well, history (1935 and 1975) testifies that it did. And just for the record, 1975 happened under a Labour Government, with my first cousin, Renne Millington, ending up dead as a consequence!! I know that when the residents on Canoaun are gunned down on that bloody day, somebody will explain: “It was a decision of a junior police officer.” Sounds familiar? Yes, Billy Joel is right: honesty is indeed a lonely word. This is why we will NEVER see integrity legislation!!

I salute Terry and Debra, stalwarts in this fight for justice, for, as Kant says, “If justice perishes, human life on earth has lost its meaning.” And, there can be no justice in a cage, even if it’s Gonsalves sanctified and comes with a 30 million price tag! It is time you too stand up!! If need be, we MUST form a “human shield” around our beach!! We must not betray Chatoyer!!