The week that was
August 18, 2015

It’s becoming more and more difficult for Kyle James to surprise us with his academic achievements. In recent years, he’s been tops in Common Entrance, CSEC exams, and the valedictorian of the Community College’s 2015 graduating class. Now, the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) results are in, and, wouldn’t you know it, Kyle is on top {{more}}again, with straight ‘A’ profiles in Mathematics, French, Chemistry, Physics and Communication Studies. His goal is to become a chemical engineer. If history is any guide, he’ll excel in that pursuit as well.

It was a great year overall for CAPE results, with Vincy students passing 89.42 per cent of the exams in the 21 subjects attempted. The results are the best in the last seven years, but there are still unacceptable problems. Only 45 per cent of students passed Unit 1 in Math, and just 57 per cent were successful in Unit 1 of History. When the students are this bright, and the overall results are this good, those low pass rates suggest that the Community College has some work to do with the quality of its Math and History instruction.


Our rare Saint Vincent Parrot is unique to SVG, under threat as a species, and notoriously difficult to breed. Which is why the birth of “Mustique Springer,” a Vincy Parrot born at the Houston Zoo in Texas, USA, is cause for celebration. The Houston Zoo has managed to successfully hatch four Vincy Parrots over the last four decades, with the latest being the offspring of a mother who was also hatched in captivity.

Given the long odds for successful captive reproduction, it might be too early to say that the Government’s well-meaning four-year-old programme that sent 15 parrots to Germany for breeding is a failure. But it’s worth asking why we didn’t send our birds to the Houston Zoo, which has a track record of success, instead of Germany’s Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots (ACTP). We hope the answer to that question doesn’t involve the free pick-up trucks with ACTP logos that we see regularly parading around Kingstown.


It’s not normal that stealing two tomatoes will land you in jail for two years. But that’s exactly what happened to Sheldon Hackett, who swiped the fruit, valued at $10, from a Kingstown vendor. Hackett had run afoul of the law before, and was living under the shadow of a two-year suspended sentence for a previous crime, meaning that any infraction – however minor – could land him in the slammer. It’s beyond us why a convicted criminal with a suspended sentence would think it’s a good idea to engage in petty theft in public and in broad daylight. He’ll have two long years to consider the wisdom of his little tomato heist. Some people just don’t appreciate second chances.


For a few weeks, Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace and some of his supporters were consumed with tales of a senior police officer who was supposedly engaged in some sort of criminal conspiracy, and who was allegedly caught with stolen goods. The saga was elevated from talk show fodder to Parliamentary debate when Eustace asked PM Gonsalves why the “senior officer” hadn’t been charged for his role in the theft. It turns out that there was no police involvement whatsoever, and that the only similarity between the senior officer and the thief was that they had the same surname. This is not the first time that similar names have dumbfounded Eustace: Just a few months ago he was claiming election fraud and double voting, when the truth was simply that – surprise, surprise – some Vincentians share the same name. A person of Eustace’s stature and authority should really get his facts straight before making claims that are so easily disproven, and which may seriously injure the reputation of the “senior officer” who was innocently dragged into this sordid rumour.

If I had a question in SVG Parliament

…I’d ask the Opposition, which has raised a number of pertinent technical issues with the Geothermal Bill, why they skipped all of the Select Committee sessions on the bill. As we understand it, Select Committees are where you hammer out these technical issues in private. Why show up at the 11th hour with issues that could’ve been resolved months ago?

Media Watch

The Vincentian’s annual Carnival Souvenir Magazine used to be an exciting, glossy keepsake that memorialized each year’s Vincy Mas celebrations. Today, like all magazines, the publication is under threat from the Internet and social media, which has free, permanent and up-to-the-minute Carnival photos and videos. The Souvenir Magazine’s stale layout of poorly-shot, microscopic photos and clumsy language isn’t helping to close the gap with its modern competition. Here’s hoping for a new and improved 2016 edition.