Never a dull moment
R. Rose - Eye of the Needle
May 3, 2024

Never a dull moment

The past week and a half in St Vincent and the Grenadines has brought yet another mixed bag of news – good, bad, and decidedly ugly. On the positive side there have been updates on the progress being made locally to ensure that our country is prepared to fulfil its obligations to host a leg of the T/20 World Cup Cricket. Brightening this update were plans announced for a unique twinning of Carnival and cricket. All this followed a regional conference on cricket at the level of Heads of Government.

Some of those Heads had also attended a broader regional gathering, not on cricket but on the wider integration movement under the umbrella of the Venezuela-led ALBA initiative. It was good to observe the level of solidarity expressed by leaders, some of whom would not be classified as “radical”, but who displayed understanding of the real threats to the development of the region. They also spoke against unfair actions- as in sanctions against certain countries, but also in making it difficult for small countries to pursue independent development processes.

But as happens so often there were negatives as well.

There seems to be no end to the continuing occurrences of violent deaths and even drowning with a case of “robbery with V” thrown in for bad measure. Clearly, we are far from out of the woods where this cycle of violence is concerned, and it continues to put a dampener on our attempts at development in peace and security.

To add to the negatives, there was the inconvenience experienced by the students of two secondary schools.

The students had been transferred to temporary buildings on the site of the decommissioned E.T Joshua Airport because of the need to reconstruct their aged and dilapidated buildings. However, they found themselves infested by fleas and had to be sent home for the infestation to be addressed. Unfortunately, in the case of one school, when the students returned, the fleas were still there forcing another disruption at a most crucial time.

Yes, we can truthfully say that in SVG, there seems to be “never a dull moment”.

Yet, despite all the negatives, it is important not to lose sight of positive developments. Take the cricketing developments for example. There is no doubt that there is support and enthusiasm for the World Cup hosting, and not just among cricket fans. Over the years as the facilities at the Arnos Vale site deteriorated, so too has enthusiasm waned, and many fans must have welcomed the news of the return of cricket at the highest international level to our shores.

But there is also a worrying side to it, a side with big dollar signs on it. Because even from official statements, it is by our standards a substantial financial investment, and the reported cost overruns are only increasing the concerns. There are even people who are adopting a negative approach to the matter, ignoring the positive long-term results which the initiative can bring. Perhaps we were not paying enough attention to announced plans, but the disclosure of the provision of swimming pools as an entertainment enhancement, as is becoming the modern fashion, has only helped to heighten fears.

That is why it is so important to inform our people step by step to avoid the possible damage by mischief-makers and not be afraid to own up to any setbacks and mishaps.

The bold idea to link the World Cup trophy tour to the launch of Vincy Mas 2024, can bring positive results if we would temper our enthusiasm, keep on feet on solid ground and not get led away by any “Superbowl” fantasies. What I find interesting is the announcement that the CDC would attempt to cash in on the massive global exposure provided by the trophy tour to, among other aspects, feature the roots of our Carnival- the moko jumbie, Boozie Back (originating from “bruise the back” under slave whippings), Bum drum etc. I have been literally crying in the wilderness year after year for this grounding in our roots, so I am happy to hear of it. I do hope that this will not just be for this occasion but would provide the opportunity to keep our history and roots in carnival.

On the negative side we are still to see a roll-out of a clear strategy for dealing with the violence and murder plaguing the society. In the meantime, the politicking around it and the finger-pointing continues, but these are of no help to us. It is time for the leadership of both political parties to realize that we are all hurting from the ongoing cycle of violence and murders. Rather than simply accusing each other of having no plans to deal with the situation, what about a “tete a tete” on the issue,trying to arrive at a national solution? This can be a first step in a national dialogue leading to action.

The tendency to confrontation rather than solution is very much alive in our society. I applaud the SVGTU and its president in taking up the flea infestation case and seeking urgent attention. What my simple mind cannot understand is why is there no dialogue between the union and the Ministries of Education and Health on such an urgent issue? Are we doomed to be forever shouting at each other across a divide?

True, there may never be a dull moment, but never let those moments pass without seeking consensus and common solutions.