The week that was
October 13, 2015

A one-on-one meeting with the leader of the free world is something that most people only dream of. There are many political and business leaders who would give their eye-teeth to just get a few minutes with the President of the United States. But for 12-year-old Vincentian Asante Alexander, all it took was a passionate letter and his own remarkable life story. {{more}}

Young Asante, who lives in Brooklyn, New York, is an athletic prodigy and a voracious reader. He wrote a letter to Obama and expressed the hope that they would meet someday. To Asante’s surprise, on a recent presidential visit to New York, Obama invited the young man to stop by for a chat. Asante is still savouring the memory of his meeting and he is surely the envy of his schoolmates. But given his own talents and confidence, it’s a good bet that this isn’t the last time we’ll see the name Asante Alexander in the headlines.


The Petersville School is 50 years old. In a nation that is just approaching its 36th anniversary of independence, Petersville’s birthday is a remarkable achievement. Never the largest school, and seldom the first name on parents’ lists of primary school choices, Petersville has managed to carve out a powerful legacy of sustained excellence. Many of SVG’s brightest and most innovative thinkers spent their childhoods at Petersville. The list of Petersville alums is enough to tell you about the long history and high quality of the school. At 50, Petersville is a few years older than the four to 11-year-olds that it nurtures, and well older than many of the schools in SVG. But we hope that Petersville is still in its infancy, and that it has many, many birthdays in its future.


Whatever the outcomes of the on-again, off-again strikes that may or may not be taking place this week, it’s safe to say that labour relations are at their lowest point in a long time. Not just relations between the unions and the Government – which will naturally go through cycles of feast and famine – but between the union leadership and its members, and among the unions themselves.

The teachers have called a strike, with some members saying they haven’t been consulted. The minibus association can’t decide whether or not they actually want to strike. And the president of NOBA is calling the head of the SVGTU a “snitch” that he can’t trust in battle. The disarray in the labour movement is allowing Prime Minister Gonsalves to skate around potentially difficult election-time decisions of whether to resist or cave in to union demands. Instead, he can simply step aside and watch them collapse under the weight of their own poor planning and infighting.


Vaults are suddenly an endangered species in SVG. First, a vault full of cash at the Community College wanders out the door. Then, last week, the vault at the Chateaubelair Post Office was dragged through the front door, despite the fact that the Chateaubelair Police Station was footsteps away from the scene of the crime! Whether these vault crimes are coincidences, copycat crimes, or the sign of a new criminal trend remains to be seen. But for the time being, instead of sticking your cash in a vault, it might be safer to stash it in your mattress.

If I had a question in SVG Parliament

…I would ask each member to stand up and give a five-minute pitch for why their party should be elected to govern SVG. Strip away the gossip and grandstanding and just give a concise plan of action. The majority of the electorate has already tuned out the usual political gimmicks of either side. We want to know which party is fit to govern, not win a rum shop argument.

Media Watch

Now that campaign events and political rallies are happening almost daily in multiple locations, how is the media deciding which events to cover, and how much coverage to give? A fringe candidate speaks to less than 10 people and gets exhaustive coverage, while a major party hosts hundreds and gets a short mention. A generic “stump speech” suddenly is covered in detail, while new ideas are ignored. We know that it is difficult to cover all of the political goings-on, but the media should give their audience a sense of the scope, scale or significance of some of these events. All rallies or speeches are not created equal.