Special Feature
April 8, 2011
Election Day

Last week:

I had arrived in England on a cold, summer day.

…I felt like I could have a new beginning. One of the questions I was asked when I applied for my student visa was whether or not I would return to St.Vincent when I was finished. My answer of course was yes; but in my mind I was thinking ‘return? Yeah right. A heard of horses could not drag me back to that Island.’{{more}}

…Now I finally had a chance to advance without being lumbered with my dysfunctional past. Surprisingly though, after a few weeks, I found myself missing home….

…I became a volunteer at a centre for disabled teenagers. The experience was enlightening. I met young people who had every right to be angry, bitter and discouraged; but instead were empowered with a resilience, strength and positivity that made me marvel….

…Finally I started to feel like I had found my niche and I began to look for ways to extend my stay in England after I had completed my studies. I would have found a way; but life doesn’t always work out as it should….

…It is amazing how one midnight hour phone call can change your course….

“I don’t mind if my life goes in the service of the nation. If I die today, every drop of my blood will invigorate the nation.” Indira Gandhi — said the night before she was assassinated, October 30, 1984.

I started this journey because I wanted to make a difference; to change the very way Vincentians viewed politics and politicians. I wanted to go down in history as the prime minister who was led by God; who genuinely cared about the people. I wanted my actions to force my opponents to love me; to eradicate partisan division.

There were times when I’d lost my way… my faith… my focus. There are times when I had abandoned my dream.

When I went to the UK to study I had found a comfort zone, a sense of belonging and usefulness. Life would have been easier; perhaps even better – if I had stayed there. But I suppose it was not in God’s plan for me.

I had already lost one brother and getting that midnight call about Hezron was a directive to return home and accomplish what I had started in my mind. Hezron was going the wrong way and had been stabbed in a village brawl over, guess what? Yeah that’s right – politics.

It had been a close call but he had survived with a slight limp to remind him that violence was not a voice. After his recovery, I had gone back to the UK to complete my education. Then I had returned home with the mind of an entrepreneur. I had built my empire and shared its profits with the people who lived and understood the suffering of my childhood.

I had kept the idea of romance and relationships locked away in a guarded vault. It was the only way to remain focused.

I had not seen or heard from Christopher for years; until that day, in March, when we had bumped into each other in Middle Street and the past had heaved and writhed like a once dormant volcano coming alive.

In a second, everything I had accomplished… I had hoped to accomplish was brought into question. I was reminded of what I had traded for my success. The utter darkness of that awareness had hovered over me like a cloud waiting to burst and shower me with acidic rain.

We had started talking – there were many words; but none that said ‘I am about to get married’. It was a girl from Jamaica – where he had been studying. Their wedding pictures were in one of the papers and that should certainly been the end of it – but it wasn’t. Somehow, by a series of unfortunate coincidences and downright ‘dotish’ decisions, we had end up political enemies by day and adulterers by night.

My brother had found out and it had shaken the respect he had built in his heart for me; but for the most part our sin had remained in the shadows of the unknown. Still, as I step out onto the podium to address the nation as prime minister I feel naked … exposed.

I wonder if Indira Ghandi, or Margaret Thatcher or Dame Eugenia Charles or Mary Robinson or Janet Jagan ever made the kind of mistakes I had made. I certainly did not feel fit to walk in any of their shoes; but as the sun sets on my election day I vow to myself to do everything in my power to earn the respect and admiration of my people.

I might be a spinster but I would always be engaged and fully dedicated to the leadership of this country; I might be childless but I would be a mother and provider to every child in need….

When you think about it, this big old world that God made is truly amazing: how a day could start with a Rasta, man with not a care in the world, quietly pushing his cart through the air of discouragement in the still sleeping streets and end with a shout of hope and victory.

What an election day!

The end…