Suf­fer the lit­tle c such is the King

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT -

Noth­ing af­fords me greater plea­sure than the op­por­tu­nity to en­gage in rap ses­sions with young peo­ple all over this land. The op­por­tu­nity to rap with kids on their own turf, by which I mean to say their school, is al­ways es­pe­cially wel­come. So, on Tues­day when I was asked to say a few mo­ti­vat­ing words to some 15 to 17-year-old Bocage stu­dents, it didn’t mat­ter that I barely had two hours to get to the school. I said I’d be there soon af­ter the lunch break, even though I had more than my fair share of work to at­tend to.

From talk­ing with the teacher who had so­licited my pres­ence, I learned that some lo­cal celebri­ties had ear­lier ad­dressed the kids. I asked and was told what they had said to the os­ten­si­ble young lead­ers of to­mor­row. I also in­quired why the invit­ing teacher thought his stu­dents needed to be lec­tured by the lo­cal celebs: singers, mu­si­cians, so­cial work­ers among them. And he said, “Well, some of them have a ten­dency to lean to the other side of the fence.” The stu­dents, that is, not their lec­tur­ers.

“In other words,” I said, “you’re talk­ing about prob­lem kids who need to be set on the straight and nar­row.” “Pre­cisely,” he said. And I said: “I won­der why it’s al­ways the young peo­ple who are blamed when­ever this coun­try is in trou­ble. For how much longer will we con­tinue to mis­di­ag­nose He­len? How many more times will the same medicine men of­fer their ob­vi­ously use­less voodoo po­tions while an­tic­i­pat­ing cures?”

He chuck­led, and I said: “You know, I have a dif­fer­ent point of view and I hope you won’t mind if I share it with your stu­dents.”

And the teacher said: “You wouldn’t be who you are if you merely echoed oth­ers. The kids have their own rea­sons for re­quest­ing your pres­ence.”

I could not be­lieve how di­lap­i­dated was the class­room that would serve as my plat­form on Tues­day af­ter­noon. The desks should long ago have been dumped as health haz­ards. The win­dows were for the most part with­out lou­vers. And although, ad­mit­tedly, I did not ac­tu­ally count them I imag­ine there were 20-25 desks in this room that could not have been built to ac­com­mo­date more ten stu­dents—at any rate, with some com­fort. The first row was barely two feet from the

Rick Wayne with Bocage stu­dents this week: The pub­lisher and show host told a room­ful of 15 to 17-year-olds that they were not to blame for their coun­try’s sorry state. “You

to­mor­row,” said Wayne, “but you would do well to start lead­ing now—be­cause the lead­ers of to­day seem to know only how to get Saint Lu­cia into more

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