The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Rick Wayne

Among the sev­eral lessons fel­low in­hab­i­tants of this Rock of Sages have taught me by ex­am­ple is the fol­low­ing: once a Rock dweller has ar­rived at a decision (I almost wrote “has made up his mind” but of course that would be far­fetched, to say the least!) come hell or high wa­ter he or she will cling to it.

Nowhere in this world have I bumped into peo­ple more con­sis­tent. Who cares if the great thinker Emer­son be­lieved “a fool­ish con­sis­tency is the hob­gob­lin of lit­tle minds, adored by lit­tle states­men and philoso­phers and di­vines.”

I can just imag­ine some doped-up reader ask­ing: When did Nurse be­come a great thinker? And what the hell is he say­ing, any­way? For your ed­i­fi­ca­tion: I re­fer to Ralph Waldo Emer­son, not Emer­son Nurse our beloved mu­si­cian.

As for what Emer­son meant to con­vey, this is how one ex­pert tells it: “Only lit­tle minds, like those of politi­cians, philoso­phers, di­vines and lit­tle states­men, worry about seem­ing con­sis­tent. Great minds just follow what­ever they think at any given time.”

Con­sider the amended Fi­nance Act that on the one hand in­sists in two of its three clauses on par­lia­men­tary ap­proval in ad­vance of giv­ing gov­ern­ment guar­an­tees. What then to make of Clause 3 that seems to hand the fi­nance min­is­ter a dic­ta­tor’s free­dom to give loan guar­an­tees to any­one he chooses, on what­ever con­di­tions he sees fit?

The cur­rent prime min­is­ter, who was the op­po­si­tion leader at the time of the 2011 amend­ment, re­cently told the House he knew the adjustment had been in­spired by the costly Rochamel de­ba­cle, there­fore he had sat “de­lib­er­ately silent” while stu­pid­ity ruled the House. In other words, he had per­mit­ted a self-con­tra­dict­ing law to make its way to the se­nate and onto our statute books, fully cog­nizant of the con­se­quences.

Petty, you say? Conniving? Reck­less? Vin­dic­tive? On the oc­ca­sion when the bristling prime min­is­ter re­called his own de­lib­er­ate si­lence, he had also re­minded the at­ten­dant au­gust body that “the au­thor of ‘Lapses & In­fe­lic­i­ties’” had to no avail writ­ten sev­eral news­pa­per ar­ti­cles un­der­scor­ing the flaw in the law.

How­ever con­ve­nient was his state­ment, it was also un­de­ni­able that “they amended the law and made it worse!”

Chances are the prime min­is­ter knew not that I had also reached out per­son­ally to the in­volved se­na­tors and mem­bers of the day’s gov­ern­ment, per­chance to per­suade them to do the right thing. There is in­deed a process by which laws can be re­worded. In­deed, the King gov­ern­ment had used it in its at­tempt to make the orig­i­nal fi­nance act wa­ter­tight. Oh, but how badly they had failed.

My pleas fell on ears con­cerned only with fool­ish con­sis­ten­cies. Ev­ery­one I talked to blamed his or her col­league. Even now, although the prime min­is­ter has brought the torch of truth to bear on the cited fi­asco, there has been no fur­ther of­fi­cial word about this af­front to the na­tional in­tel­li­gence.

We move on. Know­ing in ad­vance what would be the re­sult, I called Ti­mothy Poleon on-air the other day to ask why, if in­deed Jounen Kweyol is as im­por­tant to the na­tion as so many bibu­lous pro­mot­ers loudly pro­fess, is the lan­guage not taught in our schools? Why are there no great kweyol vol­umes at our main li­brary? Where are our kweyol his­tory books; our kweyol gram­mar books, kweyol text­books, kweyol sci­ence and math books? Where are the pub­lished kweyol nov­els by Saint Lu­cian writ­ers, where are the kweyol ver­sions of Man on Mon­key Moun­tain?

I added: “Why are there no kweyol songs on the lo­cal hit pa­rade? Why are there no Saint Lu­cian stars fa­mous for singing only in kweyol? Why no kweyol con­certs and tours? Why is Jounen Kweyol treated as just another car­ni­val?

I also took the op­por­tu­nity to speak up on be­half of the sac­ri­fi­cial hogs so closely as­so­ci­ated with the big day!

The re­ac­tion was pre­dictable: Rick just eh like our cul­ture. Rick have a Yan­kee ac­cent. Rick is dis, Rick is dat. No one even at­tempted to ad­dress my ques­tions. Ah, no, some­one ac­tu­ally did. He agreed with most of what I’d said and then laid the blame on oth­ers who quite likely have never heard of Saint Lu­cia.

The more things change . . . OK, so last week we talked the talk in the House of Ebola. Let’s move on to the walk­ing the walk. I dare to sug­gest some mean­ing­ful ac­tion, if only to in­ject a lit­tle con­fi­dence into our peo­ple that our con­cerned gov­ern­ment is well-po­si­tioned to han­dle an Ebola-re­lated emer­gency. Then how about do­ing for Ebola what we very of­ten do to prove our readi­ness for other pos­si­ble dis­as­ters?

Let’s pre­tend the au­thor­i­ties have been given rea­son to be­lieve a pas­sen­ger on an air­line sched­uled to land at He­wanorra might be in­fected. Let the most se­ri­ous games be­gin, with the press in attendance, start­ing with a sim­u­la­tion of would hap­pen on the air­craft. What about fel­low pas­sen­gers? How would they be pre­vented from pan­ick­ing? Would the sus­pect pas­sen­ger be quar­an­tined even be­fore the air­craft landed at He­wanorra? How? Do air­planes carry Ebola hab­er­dash­ery and ap­pro­pri­ately trained fit­ters? Who re­ceives the pas­sen­ger on ar­rival? Where do we take him or her? Who foots the med­i­cal bill? What if a pri­vate hos­pi­tal or staff at a gov­ern­ment fa­cil­ity should refuse to deal with the sus­pected in­fected?

Of course this be­ing the Christian Rock of Sages that pro­duced two Nobel win­ners, I would not be sur­prised to dis­cover we have an all-pur­pose re­sponse: shut ev­ery­thing down and or­der the pi­lot to turn his damn plane around with all its pas­sen­gers, in­clud­ing re­turn­ing Saint Lu­cians from New York where, re­port­edly, there has been one case of Ebola. All for the common good, of course!

How pre­pared are we for an Ebola emer­gency? Con­cerned minds want to know!

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