Round Table with Oscar
October 4, 2011
Hogwash 4 – Nation Month

This month is our nation month. It marks 32 years since we pledged to each other and our land, a loyalty, a love and a resolve/determination for our freedom.

Certainly, as we face another perilous year, when we may not be able to count more/register growth in our economy and national output, nation time should be a sobering season when we downsize our egos, our needless consumption and upgrade our reaching out in companionship, “carpooling” and investments in truly judicious directions.{{more}} Ashley Caine recently advised/proposed a national policy conversation to identity our strategic commons or commonness and our non-strategic issues. The commons we must adopt together as our nation business; the others we may debate, disagree and dilly-dally with.

Sounds good to me for a start.

Issues in the Hogwash

Tell me if you see or smell the hogwash in these few issues that we can dilly dally with:

Hogwash 1. Which cocoa company to do business with?

I have seen a paper from a cocoa interest that came to us before Amajaro. It was an “indication of interest” and it said “Cocoa production in your jurisdiction/country has great interest and value to your nation. Let us explore it for the growing international demand.” That invitation came from an international business consultant to the Ministry of Agriculture and to the leadership of the opposition. It did not use political clout to enter the discussion. As we are still in the dark about how feasible, realistic or extortionary Armajaro is, I say put Armajaro in the hogwash and let us ask for more intelligence from the first cocoa company, not forgetting the small regional niche cocoa businessman who appeared on ‘Global Highlights’.

Armajaro: Hogwash debate

Hogwash 2. Which Argyle Project to build in SVG?

Reality is sometimes a painful and hurting teacher. Right now, our government’s International Airport project needs a review and I put it in the hogwash tray for debate. What is/are the motion/s placed on the round table? These are they:

1. The duration of the project. I move for a 2017-2018 date for finishing it.

2. The ownership of the project. The coalition of the willing launched and headed by Ralph Gonsalves, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez must be overthrown or expanded. Our argyle airport project must become a nation project with the colours of our flag, with a Board of Directors including personnel from the two leading political parties, the Chamber (CIC), the workers and a representative from the donors. That board must be headed by a reputable and sensitive Vincentian. Take your pick from Andrew Simmons, Sir K.D Venner, Gillian Nanton, or suggest your nominee. A third motion on the airport?

3. The political ecology of the project: The environment of the airport must be developed at the same time as the airport. That colonial estate zone, from Diamond in the South to Biabou in the north, stretching inland by road to overlook Buccament valley, is truly a nation-shaping Argyle project. Hogwash for Argyle.

What about the “Strategic Commons” that the nation must not dilly-dally with before taking action?

Non-Hogwash Priorities, Strategic Commons.

I do not have to give explanations for these strategic priorities. What I have to declare is that such strategic commons do not become topics for Parliament to debate and vote on as political party representatives. There will be non-party consultations for civil society/community studies on these critical matters, and civil society interests will join parliamentarians in Parliamentary Committees of the whole Nation. (Renwick Rose called for that couple years ago – he’s still a teacher).

Tell me if these matters are not COMMONS that the whole nation must embrace and resolve, God willing?

  • Crime, Violent Crime, Gender-Based Crime
  • Hunger, Livelihoods, Material Deprivation
  • Banana, Agriculture, Rural Renewal
  • Unity in the Nation, The Spirit of the Nation

As I explained 4 weeks ago, hogwash is what you get when you clean out a pig pen. I don’t intend that hogwash will touch any of the 4 commons matters that I have listed above. Instead, serious study, mobilization of our communities and concentrated nation action are the steps to take. Let us enter this nation month, October 2011, soberly and seriously.