The week that was
June 28, 2016

Ariena Wilson led a class of 724 Community College graduates, who will be going on to universities or the world of work. Wilson, the valedictorian, was full of youthful enthusiasm and optimism when she told her fellow graduates to aim for the top of the ladder in their respective fields. The truth is a little more complex, with a difficult economy and a lack of experience ensuring that most graduates will start at the bottom rung and work their way up.{{more}} Still, let’s not forget that 700+ Community College graduates, not to mention 1,400 CPEA passes – with top performers scattered across the country – are new phenomena in SVG. The future is looking a lot brighter than the past. Congrats to Ariena and the Class of 2016!


Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves was doing a good job of pretending that he wasn’t bothered by the NDP’s election petitions, but his frequent threats of a snap poll – just months after his December 2015 victory – suggested that he was sweating a little bit. Now that the law courts have joined the international observers in sweeping aside the NDP’s claims, Gonsalves can relax. He’s won four elections in a row, with the 2015 results slightly improved over his 2010 numbers. If he makes it through to 2020, he’ll be SVG’s longest-serving PM, with a few eye-catching legacy projects under his belt, and only Opposition diehards questioning his legitimacy. Not bad for the so-called “One-term Papa.”


Where do we begin? Maybe with Judge Cottle’s terse dismissal of the NDP’s election petitions that Arnhim Eustace had promised would elevate him to the Prime Ministership? Or maybe with Eustace’s sheepish return to Parliament after a six-month boycott? Or maybe his attempt to imply that Prime Minister Gonsalves had done something untoward in receiving a $5,000 cheque from PDVSA SVG two years ago, when in fact it was just the company paying for the travel expenses of Gonsalves and other board members to a conference in Venezuela? The cloud of bad news that hangs over Eustace has become so commonplace that it’s almost not newsworthy anymore. But you can’t help but wonder whether his party – and the country – deserve something better.


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Samuel Commissiong’s long career as a lawyer has had a few highs and lows, to put it mildly. But last week may well have been the lowest point of his membership in the legal fraternity. First, Commissiong was completely tied into knots during his testimony before a visiting British High Court. By the time the foreign lawyer and judge were done bamboozling poor Sam, he was admitting that his own affidavit was untrue. Then, to make matters worse, Commissiong walked out of the courthouse frying pan and into the legal fire, getting slapped with four criminal charges of multimillion dollar tax evasion. Ouch! It’s true that Commissiong was charged alongside his client Dave Ames, the shifty proprietor of Buccament Bay Resort. But while Ames is chilling elsewhere, Commissiong is facing the fire at home, alone.

If I had a question in SVG Parliament

…I’d ask the Opposition: where have you been? After a six-month boycott of the Parliament, the Opposi­tion team reappeared and participated actively in the debate. But none of the Opposition parliamentarians took the time to explain where they’d been, why they returned, or what happened to make them back off of their pledge to boycott Parliament until new elections were called.

Media Watch

Social and traditional media lambasted reigning Soca Monarch Skinny Fabulous for skipping this year’s competition and performing instead overseas. But Skinny – who has dominated the competition for most of the last 10 years – told the public over a year ago that he wouldn’t perform at the 2016 competition. Since he told us that he was taking a break from the Soca Monarch show, he has all right to ply his trade elsewhere. The bigger question that the media should be asking is: why? Why are Skinny, Luta, Jamsey P and Problem Child all opting out of Soca Monarch, when they have popular Carnival songs on the road this year? The answer to that question will produce a better Soca Monarch next year.