Did doc­tor sur­vive baptism by fire?

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

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.

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