The week that was
August 23, 2016

(Most) secondary school students are breathing sighs of relief after the release of this year’s results from the CXC Caribbean Secondary Educa­tion Certificate (CSEC) exams.

The biggest smiles are, no doubt, coming from young Eric Febuary of the Mountain View Adventist Academy, who bagged an astounding 20 passes, including 17 Grade 1s. Other students, like Jessica Prescott (12 subjects, 11 Grade 1s), Sujith Nedd (14 subjects, 12 grade 1s), Alron Harry (13 subjects, 12 grade 1s), plus Gerard Porter and Geran Maule (12 subjects, all grade 1s) show the tremendous promise and potential of our youth.{{more}} However, challenges remain: while most schools seemed to improve their overall pass rates, there are still some where your child would have a roughly 50/50 chance of passing his exams. There are subjects, like math, where a CSEC pass is still an all-too-rare occurrence.

While we celebrate the exceptional students and schools, let’s not forget the young men and women who will need further opportunities and assistance to reach their full potential.


Howie Prince and Lou-Anne Gilchrist are now “Excellencies,” having been appointed as USA representatives by Foreign Minister Louis Straker. Prince, who will replace Selmon Walters in New York, and Gilchrist, who fills a vacant post in Washing­ton, DC, will be the new faces of SVG in the United States. As with most of SVG’s diplomatic hires, Prince and Gilchrist are competent professionals with little formal training or experience in their new fields. We hope both are up to their challenging tasks, and that Prince, in particular, has learned from his unfortunate gaffes to the press in the wake of the De­cem­ber 2013 floods. Minister Straker has also tapped Ells­worth John to replace Dexter Rose as our ambassador in Cuba. John is the rare Vincy diplomat with a long résumé in foreign and regional affairs, befitting the importance of our relationship with a rapidly-changing Cuba. With Minister Straker recently visiting Asia and Africa, and hosting guests from the Middle East, we hope that our little country will soon expand our presence overseas to these potentially valuable outposts.


Everyone knows that SVG is a dangerous place to drive, with narrow, steep roads on the edges of cliffs and full of hairpin blind corners. But the death of Kiara Shortte, who plunged to her death over a Marriaqua embankment, is the latest sign that more must be done to keep our motorists safe. The list of vehicles that have run off roads is troublingly long, and littered with the names of the dead. Also, the Government can’t simply brag about the number of cars that have flooded SVG recently without also talking about their plans to deal with the influx. The broken or missing railings; the pitch-black, unlit corners; the unpunished, reckless drivers; and the lack of road safety legislation all say that this issue is not a priority for policymakers. Hopefully Kiara’s death will be the tragedy that spurs some long-overdue action – from motorists and ministers.


NDP leader Arnhim Eustace has admitted that his party received a $1.3 million influx of cash from a mysterious donor during the last week of the 2015 election campaign. Let’s hope that donor kept his receipts, because giving a million dollars to a party that hasn’t won an election in this century must be one of the most careless acts in the history of political donations. Not only did the NDP lose the election, but, if memory serves, there was no sign during the last week of campaigning that the party was flush with cash. After the election, the NDP hasn’t had the funds to sustain a serious protest action, pay decently to mount successful election petitions or fly a sick activist off to get medical attention. So, the question is: What was the money spent on? Was it spent at all? More importantly, was there a promise in exchange for their million-dollar windfall? Political donors, no matter how reckless, seldom give that kind of money without some expectation. He who pays the piper calls the tune. Would “Mr Clean’s” government have had to honour promises to secret financiers even before it came to office?

If I had a question in SVG Parliament

…After claiming that the Government’s cybercrime law placed the entire nation in peril, and after highlighting a bunch of clauses that should be revised, we all want to know: Why didn’t the NDP attend any of the committee meetings that revised and amended the bill before it was passed in Parliament? We thought that maybe the non-attendance was party policy, but the Opposition has indicated that it will participate in committee meetings on the upcoming occupational health and safety bill. Is there a guiding policy in the Opposition’s actions? We’d love to hear it.

Media Watch

There are some newspapers in SVG that are quick to cry foul when an advertiser pulls its business from their publications. The suggestion is that some advertisers are trying to control the editorial content of the paper. But there is another suggestion worth considering: that some advertisers are tired of sloppy, scandal-focused publications that don’t take the time to get the facts right. A free press is important. But press freedom is not subsidised by compulsory donations from the private sector.

Advertisers are also free to put their money where they see fit.