Ja­maicans up­set with Ba

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT -

Last Sun­day’s dia­logue with the Na­tional Vi­sion Com­mis­sion of­fered the lo­cal me­dia a fine op­por­tu­nity to in­ter­act with gifted in­di­vid­u­als in whose col­lec­tive imag­i­na­tion the prime min­is­ter seems to have in­vested his po­lit­i­cal fu­ture. It re­mains con­jec­tural, how­ever, why so many me­dia houses were not rep­re­sented at the Coco Palm get-to­gether.

Was their con­spic­u­ous ab­sence a re­flec­tion of their faith in Adrian Augier, Dr. Stephen King, For­tuna Hus­bands-An­thony, Boo Hink­son and the other mem­bers of the never highly rated com­mis­sion? Did the ab­sent me­dia per­son­nel too quickly dis­miss their in­vi­ta­tion to dia­logue with the NVC as just an­other of­fi­cial ruse; an­other ef­fort at pre­tend­ing some­thing use­ful was un­der­way when in fact noth­ing was?

It is hardly clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion that since the prime min­is­ter an­nounced the estab­lish­ment of the Na­tional Vi­sion Com­mis­sion, I, for one, have blamed it for the worst of his gov­ern­ment’s sev­eral faux pas, the most re­cent be­ing the prime min­is­ter’s cal­cu­lated de­ci­sion to hon­our the no­to­ri­ous Le­banese Gil­bert Chagoury with our coun­try’s high­est award— the Saint Lu­cia Cross.

Not so long ago, when Dr. King was a guest on TALK, a caller asked him to ex­plain what it was that made him—fine physi­cian though he is—more qual­i­fied than any other cit­i­zen to ad­vise our thrice-elected prime min­is­ter and for­mer ed­u­ca­tor on the par­tic­u­lar mat­ter of the peo­ple’s as­pi­ra­tions. No sur­prise that for once Dr. King ap­peared hes­i­tant, his re­sponse gar­bled.

Fa­mously hum­ble in­di­vid­ual that he is, it would be es­pe­cially dif­fi­cult for him to ad­mit he pos­sesses unique qual­i­ties that only some­one as par­tic­u­larly per­spi­ca­cious as our prime min­is­ter might be ca­pa­ble of ap­pre­ci­at­ing.

The caller might just as well have asked the good doc­tor how he found the time to un­der­take the com­mis­sion’s man­date (see re­lated Toni Ni­cholas fea­ture in this is­sue). Af­ter all, he is an ex­tremely in-de­mand med­i­cal prac­ti­tioner; he ap­pears reg­u­larly on TV; is the CEO of Rise Saint Lu­cia; an ex­pert wit­ness at nearly ev­ery mur­der, sui­cide and rape trial; a mem­ber of Re­mand Jus­tice; the is­land’s only coro­ner; a fiercely in­de­pen­dent se­na­tor who on oc­ca­sion prances around for char­ity on 8-inch stiletto heels, not to men­tion his off-is­land pro­fes­sional as­sign­ments. He is also a hus­band and fa­ther.

The sim­ple an­swer is that in­side the in­de­fati­ga­ble doc­tor’s chest pounds a heart of gold, if you’ll par­don the cliché. (Con­ceiv­ably, his lovely wife Rumelia—she re­cently re­tired from the Fam­ily Court—and their teenage off­spring don’t get much qual­ity time.) Did I men­tion the doc­tor is also some­thing of a farmer ad­dicted to all things bu­colic?

Not for noth­ing has this news­pa­per twice cho­sen him as its Per­son of the Year, even though for him the more ap­pro­pri­ate ac­co­lade might be So­cial Con­science of the Year— which would ren­der him hors con­cours.

All of that hav­ing been stated, hardly a day goes by with­out our en­gag­ing in at least one heated phone dis­cus­sion. Did I say dis­cus­sion? Our phone tap­pers would prob­a­bly de­scribe our mainly one-way con­ver­sa­tions as ver­bal war­fare, in the course of which I tend to hurl at my long-time friend the doc­tor ev­ery con­ceiv­able ep­i­thet—all of which he char­i­ta­bly suf­fers with­out the small­est wince. (How many times have I ac­knowl­edged that it ain’t no cake walk be­ing my friend?)

Of course I can­not fairly claim to be Dr. King’s only tor­turer. I’ve lost count of his well-in­ten­tioned ef­forts that bit the dust, thanks to our knownot-what-they-do, ab­so­lutely po­lar­ized so­ci­ety. So why does the doc­tor keep on go­ing, go­ing, go­ing like the En­er­gizer Bunny? That heart again. Stephen King is ir­re­vo­ca­bly con­vinced our co­matose civil so­ci­ety will one day rise and res­cue sewer­bound Saint Lu­cia.

His lim­it­less op­ti­mism is be­yond my com­pre­hen­sion. Which may well be the rea­son Kenny An­thony hand­picked him to sit on his Vi­sion Com­mis­sion, even though, in­cor­ri­gi­ble cynic that I am, I re­main con­vinced the prime min­is­ter’s mo­tives live closer to self preser­va­tion. (It’s only fair I should state that to have cho­sen Dr. King for his lat­est as­sign­ment is in­dis­putable proof the prime min­is­ter is not as vi­sion­less as he might ap­pear to the eye of the con­firmed cynic . . .)

I have no idea what had prompted the Vi­sion Com­mis­sion to make Adrian Augier its chair­man. But this I do know, es­pe­cially af­ter hear­ing him roar on Sun­day af­ter­noon: Adrian is one com­mit­ted Saint Lu­cian who lives for the day this land that gave us birth frees it­self from the mud of com­pla­cency and reaches for the stars (the ce­les­tial va­ri­ety!).

But let us for once be hon­est with our se­cret selves. Why do we con­tinue to make this par­tic­u­lar son pay for the imag­ined sins of his fa­ther even though the ma­jor­ity of our pop­u­la­tion was un­born when he died? Why do so many of us in­sist on bay­ing at Adrian’s heels for rea­sons I sus­pect were con­cocted with self­ish mo­tives by op­pos­ing-forop­pos­ing-sake politi­cians a long time gone?

That Adrian Augier has proved him­self un­stop­pable re­gard­less is ob­vi­ous. He is a multi-faceted tal­ent largely ig­nored by men with no ap­petite for metaphor (to para­phrase Wal­cott, de­clared by his fel­low coun­try­men too deep to fathom!) Still I must con­fess I’ve never con­sid­ered Adrian a per­sis­tent rocker of boats. Nei­ther Dr. King, I might quickly add. It had al­ways seemed to me that while they were never afraid to grab a sa­cred cow or two by the horn, they had al­ways re­sisted kick­ing the horny beasts in the ass.

True, they had de­liv­ered count­less de­cep­tively nice speeches here and there, of­ten re­plete with im­po­lite or im­politic ad­jec­tives. But al­ways they had kept their feet on terra firma, not in the sa­cred bull’s butt.

On Sun­day af­ter­noon both gen­tle­men gave me good rea­son to re­con­sider my con­clu­sions as I lis­tened to what they said and how they said it, with a video-cam tak­ing it all down. It crossed my mind that both King and Augier had fi­nally swal­lowed more bull dung than was good for their psy­chic well be­ing; that it was way past time, as they say, to put a cork in it—even if con­se­quen­tially con­sti­pa­tion got the bet­ter of the bull.

As­tate­ment made by the St Lu­cia Gov­ern­ment that Ja­maica is among coun­tries from which re­cruits for the Is­lamic State (IS) group have de­parted, yes­ter­day an­gered Ob­server Face­book fans, leav­ing many ask­ing for proof.

St Lu­cia’s For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Alva Bap­tiste was de­fend­ing his coun­try when he said for­eign fighters have gone to Syria from Ja­maica and Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean, and Suri­name and Venezuela in South Amer­ica.

Not even at Me­dia As­so­ci­a­tion com­min­glings had I heard “me­dia prac­tion­ers” speak as frankly and with such pas­sion as did Adrian and Stephen on Sun­day. Theirs was the sound of long con­tained anger at last break­ing loose; the whoosh of ac­cu­mu­lated bile fi­nally bust­ing down ear­lier re­strict­ing walls. I was re­minded of Peter Finch as the de­ranged Howard Beale in the

How­ever, Ob­server Face­book fans de­nied that their coun­try­men would leave the is­land to join for­eign ter­ror­ist groups and de­manded that Bap­tiste pro­vide ev­i­dence to sub­stan­ti­ate his claim.

“Ja­maican???no sa. To how we fraid fi dead. Not even fi a mil­lion vir­gin,” one user com­mented on the ar­ti­cle.

“Does this Mr Bap­tise have PROOF that JA­MAICANS are there fight­ing… MR MIN­IS­TER OF SE­CU­RITY YU NEED FI SET­TLE THIS, AND LIKE …….NOW !” an­other de­manded. Other com­ments in­clude:

“I said al­ready and I’m go­ing to

Rick Wayne (be­hind his sig­na­ture dark glasses) ex­changes views with (l-r) TCT rep­re­senta

and NVC mem­ber Boo Hink­son, Me­dia As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Clin­ton Reynolds and

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