Our Readers' Opinions
August 11, 2017
Saluting Oscar Allen from under the zaboca tree

EDITOR: From my vantage point here, and on the basis of my interaction with him for a period of over 50 years, OSCAR ALLEN seemed to have lived a life, reflecting a pursuit of connectivity with the one unseen, who is God alone.

It is evident that he spent his last hours on earth, unswervingly faithful to the task of fashioning for us Vincentians, a society in which peace and justice could thrive, if they were anchored in the respect for the rights of all citizens, who were free to pursue their goals in the shelter of the overarching umbrella of freedom and equality, under the sovereign authority of Jehovah, the creator.

Incidentally, we seem to have fallen into a grove of short-changing some of our distinguished citizens after they had made worthwhile and sometimes self-sacrificing contributions to the development of our society. They are denied critical health care services, in the evening of their years.

I see some parallel in the failure, the shoddy management at our leading hospital, as was exposed by the letter from OSCAR, penned almost in the last minutes of his life, to the last days of my father, Leonard Providence. He took ill at his home in Troumaca, and was taken to the hospital in Chateaubelair, but within the hour he had to be sent to Kingstown. The Leeward Highway was at the time being resurfaced, so that from Barrouallie to Peter’s Hope, we had to be driving on the large stones put down for the base.

When I complained to the driver that he ought to slow down on that very rough surface, considering the discomfort my father was in, he advised me that the oxygen level was critically low. That exhibition of callous inefficiency has remained with me these many years.

Oscar’s last experience, fortifies me in the view that 38 years after becoming an independent nation, we do not measure up to the colonialists. We are not exhibiting the expected maturity; we lack the basis!

Even as we mourn the painful loss of our distinguished brother OSCAR, we must search the space for the others who once stood in solidarity with him, those who had strongly declared themselves to be committed to the effective liberation of our people, vowing to carry on the struggle, in the cause of which, some of our heroes of yesteryear had given their all.

But where are those others who are yet in the land of the living? Their seemingly sincere promises have not yet been honoured. They have now changed their apparel, so that they can blend harmoniously with the new “masses”. The farmers now see that they were indeed con-artists and that those outstretched hands, thought to be offering help, were “full of grease”.

There is copious documentation, covering a period of over five decades, testifying to OSCAR’s passion for the healthy development of our people. When this Vincentian society sets aside the time to search out and evaluate the contributions of its scholars, the name OSCAR ALLEN will stand out prominently, and the ideas he had espoused may well feature significantly in the conditioning of the psyche of that generation, so that the necessary shaking-up of the society could be effected at last.

Condolences to the members of his family. They should find consolation in the fact that OSCAR’s was a life that was honourably lived.

May he rest in peace.

Leroy Providence