The week that was
April 12, 2016

This is the time of year when Vincy schools are recognized for their athletic prowess. The boys and girls of the Buccament Government School ran away with the primary schools athletics championship, while the Saint Vincent Grammar School edged rivals Saint Martin’s for the secondary schools boys’ title and the Girls’ High School returned to winners’ row ahead of the Central Leeward Secondary School.{{more}} On the cricket field, Georgetown Secondary School crushed Sandy Bay Secondary to take home the Under-21 cricket title. All of these boys and girls will be on cloud nine for weeks to come, and taking full advantage of their bragging rights and local celebrity status. They’ve done their part. Now, it is the part of sponsors, trainers, and Ministries of Sports and Education to nurture SVG’s abundant athletic talent, so that we can excel regionally and internationally.


Lots of people are angry about the recently whitewashed stone wall at the top of the Sion Hill intersection, but we say kudos to corporate good citizen Flow for tackling the eyesore. In the lead-up to the 2015 General Elections, the political parties oversaw the complete vandalizing of Sion Hill with ugly political graffiti. The NDP, whose leader is the MP for East Kingstown, and whose office is located at that intersection, was the chief culprit. The ULP also got into the act, and made their own defacing contributions to the intersection. Now Flow is catching some flack for covering the graffiti — and the attractive stonework— with a thick coat of white paint. We agree that the white wall is less attractive than the original naked stone masonry. But there can be no doubt that the newly-painted white wall is infinitely more attractive than a wall of misspelled political slogans. The graffiti was on the wall for close to six months, and no one — residents, NDP, ULP, or Government — was doing anything about it. Flow did something. For that, they deserve credit, not criticism.


The tragic news about the drowning death of 15-year-old Akeili Latham could not be any worse. Latham was part of the Saint Vincent Grammar School’s “Young Leaders” programme, and was on a school-sponsored trip to Bequia when he drowned. Akeili’s death is the third drowning in recent weeks, at popular beaches and recreation areas across SVG. What makes this drowning particularly tragic is the element of school supervision. Whether the Grammar School had adequate supervision and safety measures for the field trip remains to be seen. This may well have been an unavoidable accident. Before we accept that story, however, hard questions need to be asked about the measures and procedures that were in place for the trip. Akeili’s death demands no less.


If you thought that the sidelining of Vynnette Frederick would bring a welcome dose of maturity to the public face of the NDP, think again. NDP activist and radio personality Colin Graham, who is widely expected to succeed Frederick as the party’s public relations officer, continued in the well-established tradition of NDP spokespersons, sticking their foot in their mouth. Graham took to his Facebook page to clumsily accuse a judge of colluding with ULP lawyer Anthony Astaphan in a judgement that cast serious doubt on the viability of the NDP’s election petitions. Everything about Graham’s rant – from the accusation itself, to thinly veiled threats of violence, to the renaming of Astaphan as “Ass-to-fan” – was immature and impulsive. To his credit, Graham quickly apologized for his statement, in a contrite Facebook post that was very un-Graham-like in style. But the apology almost doesn’t matter. In an environment where people continue to harbour serious doubts about the NDP’s internal discipline and readiness to govern, the last thing they need is yet another blowhard shooting off from the lip.

If I had a question in SVG Parliament

…I would ask what spurred the sudden doubling of the Governor General’s housing allowance, from $2,000 to $4,000 per month. The Prime Minister said that the GG didn’t ask for the raise. If not, who did? Seems odd that this raise – amounting to an extra $24,000 per year – would just randomly happen without something to prompt it. If not the GG, who asked for the raise, and why? Wouldn’t the GG be happier if we used that money to hire four more YES workers?

Media Watch

The practice of the wholesale copying and pasting corporate press releases onto newspaper pages is lazy and borderline unethical. It is also a regular thing in the SVG press. Last week, on one of its “Local News” pages, the Searchlight ran an article headlined “SVG says hello to the new Flow.” The “article” was full of the syrupy, fawning language of professional PR agents. It even ended with a paragraph saying “the new brand is dynamic, confident, inspiring, and one that engages the consumer totally.” What happened to journalistic objectivity? With the LIME-FLOW merger still a controversial topic in SVG, the Searchlight should have assigned a real journalist to this story, instead of just regurgitating a press release. At the very least, they should have told readers that they were about to read an advertisement, not a news story.