Did doctor survive baptism by fire?
By Ozzy King
Merriam-Webster defines crucible as “a pot in which metals or other substances are heated to a very high temperature or melted . . . a difficult test or challenge . . . a place or situation that forces people to change or make difficult decisions.” Regular viewers of Rick Wayne’s TALK will readily agree the show is always aflame. However, the July 16th episode of TALK was particularly scorching and proved a crucible for guest Dr. Andre Matthew, an aspiring politician and potential UWP candidate for central Castries.
The host, in his own words, “went straight for the jugular,” having started by asking his guest to identify the main problem confronting Saint Lucia. Dr. Matthew confidently replied that the main issue was one of systemic injustice and, in an attempt to tender a topical instantiation, narrowed his point, perhaps a bit dangerously, to the IMPACS scandal.
Armed with facts read with journalistic diligence, he attempted to prove Police Commissioner Vernon Francois and his force were actually scapegoats of an ambiguous ploy orchestrated by the nation’s prime minster. Having marshaled his data to the fore, Matthew boldly declared the government’s policy decision to join ALBA was the prime motivation for the US government’s changed attitude towards Saint Lucia. Evidently Dr. Matthew views the IMPACS investigation not as a response to alleged human rights violations by our police but as retaliation on the part of US government.
The host countered that there is no reason to disbelieve the official viewpoint that IMPACS and the application of the Leahy Law were motivated by human rights violations. In support of his position he pointed to the increasing cordiality between the US and ALBA members Cuba and Iran. Wayne also challenged his guest to explain in the new circumstances the continuing unfavorable relationship between the US and Saint Lucia.
Even if we entertain Dr. Matthew’s viewpoint (not altogether untenable), it hardly justifies the allegation that the prime minister had scapegoated the police commissioner and his men. Neither does it resonate with me as representative of the plethora of injustices that continue to plague this island.
That Dr. Matthew had sincerely proffered the IMPACS scandal as the most pressing issue facing Saint Lucia seemed to amaze Wayne. Obviously he could not fathom why his guest, after much prodding, felt no urgent need to finger our economic predicament. It would seem that Dr. Matthew had invested a lot of energy into the IMPACS argument and had imagined it a sort of pièce de résistance— for after it had failed to stand up to scrutiny, he seemed to have nothing viable to fall back on.
When prompted for the umpteenth time to identify the most critical issue confronting Saint Lucia, Dr. Matthew lamented a culture that anticipates the failure of others, and urged that we foster the development of a culture of success that would redound to the benefit of all. Such a perspective is not without virtue and, in its economic consequences, cannot be blatantly denied consideration. Nevertheless, Dr. Matthew felt no need to touch on our economic crisis in all its rawness and taunting conspicuousness.
Perhaps his closest approach to addressing our economic predicament took the form of a call for the development of Port Castries to meet modern standards—a project he is convinced could have done much to assuage our economic austerities had it been implemented according to plan. When prompted by a caller that work on the port had resumed with the demolition of the old fire service building, Matthew trivialized the point, arguing that the project— allegedly the brainchild of the previous UWP administration— had been in the pipelines for
From Dr Andre Matthew’s perspective, injustice is our
nation’s worst problem.