The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

By STAR Re­porter

De­pend­ing on when you tuned in to Thurs­day’s TALK, hosted by Rick Wayne, on DBS, you may have formed the im­pres­sion that the host had gone Christian. But hold on.

Be­fore in­tro­duc­ing Dr. Stephen King, the night’s guest, the host cited the fol­low­ing quote by Thomas Paine. “To ar­gue with a man who has re­nounced the use and au­thor­ity of rea­son, and whose phi­los­o­phy con­sists in hold­ing hu­man­ity in con­tempt, is like ad­min­is­ter­ing medicine to the dead.”

Dr. King read­ily agreed, then added that as a pathol­o­gist he had learned that dead men do tell tales, and there was much to be learned from the dead. The host went straight for his guest’s jugu­lar: “I can think of a num­ber of projects in which you in­vested much faith, yet they never got off the ground.” He re­minded King that in 1997 he and Dr. Bris­tol were cer­tain some­thing ter­rific was about to hap­pen to lo­cal health care but to date lit­tle had changed.” King con­curred, “but to say there have been no fun­da­men­tal re­forms may not be true.” Wayne re­minded him that women con­tin­ued to die in this en­light­ened age dur­ing child­birth. He cited a young man who was stabbed in the stom­ach and died 17 days later, after he was treated for in­di­ges­tion.

King agreed that the re­forms were mov­ing too slowly. “Do you ever see your­self as an eter­nal op­ti­mist as op­posed to a re­al­ist?” Wayne asked.

King ad­vised that peo­ple must live life “with a heavy dose of faith. You must have faith be­cause the day you lose faith is the day you give up; and you must never give up. Yes, I do be­lieve things will im­prove. I am op­ti­mistic, yes, but I am also re­al­is­tic and prag­matic. I am not go­ing to roll over and play dead.”

“Would you de­scribe me as a man of faith?” Wayne asked.

The an­swer came out faster than the speed of light. “No!” Guest and host almost fell out of their chairs, so hard were they laugh­ing.

“But Doc you know that can’t be true,” Wayne said. “Ev­ery­thing I have ever done in my life was based on faith.” He re­called naysay­ers seek­ing to put him off when he re­vealed am­bi­tions to make it big in body­build­ing. They laughed when he talked about be­com­ing a pro­fes­sional writer and singer.

Re­gard­less, he had proved his de­trac­tors wrong. “I be­lieved in my­self,” he said. “Only a dead man is with­out faith. But there is faith and there is stu­pid­ity. If you keep on dong the same thing over and over to no avail, that’s a sure in­di­ca­tor of mad­ness. Too may peo­ple are conned into plac­ing faith in politi­cians.”

King coun­tered: “You as­pired to be Mr. Uni­verse and like­wise I may want some­thing good to hap­pen and I may work hard to do so. You may say I am a use­less op­ti­mist but I would say I am a re­al­ist.”

“If Dr. King tells me he is go­ing to do some­thing within his ca­pac­ity,” said the host, “I have enough faith in you as a doc­tor to be­lieve you will. But if what you are telling me is to have faith in politi­cians who are no­to­ri­ous liars, who have no record for do­ing any­thing right, I’d say you’re nuts.”

King con­fessed his faith in the peo­ple. He said civil so­ci­ety must now stand up and be counted. Wayne re­minded him that the only time civil so­ci­ety came out in protest demon­stra­tions was dur­ing the un­for­get­table 1979-1982 pe­riod.

“What’s disturbing,” Wayne went on, “is that all of this protest­ing hap­pened when the Labour Party de­ter­mined the coun­try had had enough of what we called Comp­ton­ism and it didn’t mat­ter if they had to de­stroy what was there in fa­vor of some­thing bet­ter. Things were not nearly as bad then as now. Yet we had po­lice out with their guns in the street, tear­gas, ba­nana ladies protest­ing, and up­heaval in par­lia­ment. Fi­nally Castries was turned into a cesspool. The ar­rest­ing irony is that one of the peo­ple in­volved back then is now our prime min­is­ter.”

The two went on to dis­cuss the nu­mer­ous hard­ships fac­ing the coun­try in­clud­ing the econ­omy, VAT and crime. Sev­eral call­ers ex­pressed sim­i­lar con­cerns. One po­litely asked King to ex­plain the se­lec­tion process em­ployed in the es­tab­lish­ment of the Vi­sion Com­mis­sion. Clearly King, who ad­mit­ted he was ap­pointed by the PM him­self, re­tains his faith in the lit­tle­heard-of en­tity. As for Wayne, seems he re­mains a work in progress.

Dr. Stephen King the eter­nal op­ti­mist was a guest on Thurs­day’s TALK with Rick Wayne on DBS Tele­vi­sion.

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