ASK NOT WHAT HE­LEN CAN DO FOR YOU . . .

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT - By El­iza Vic­tor

Have you ever won­dered where all the for­m­ers have gone? You know, those used-to-be-this or used-to-be-that peo­ple who ev­i­dently now qual­ify for where-are-they-now at­ten­tion? It seems I’m one of them: a former some­body. Some in­di­vid­u­als I’ve never met be­fore ac­tu­ally ad­dress me in the street by my first name. Oth­ers walk up to me at the su­per­mar­ket to tell me: “I know you.” To which I usu­ally re­ply, with a shame­less plas­tic smile: “Re­ally? I’m sure I don’t know you. What makes you think you know me?”

At this point they will scratch their heads, place a hand on their check, roll eyes, as if in deep thought. (Does squint­ing and look­ing up­ward have some spe­cial ef­fect on our sense of re­call?) Then, when they think they’ve hit pay dirt, they’ll say: “Yes, that’s it . . . you used to be . . .”

Such en­coun­ters of­ten leave me per­plexed, I don’t know, like I should still be do­ing what I used to be do­ing and don’t know why I’m not still do­ing it. Of­ten I won­der: is it bet­ter to be a former who was quickly for­got­ten once out of the spot­light? Or a former well re­mem­bered for all the worst rea­sons . . . or a never-was-er? Then again, for what are nev­er­was-ers best re­mem­bered? My spe­cial jury is still out on such ques­tions.

Usu­ally, those who say they re­mem­ber me from an ear­lier life will add that they used to so en­joy what I used to do. Which then sets me won­der­ing why they had kept that to them­selves and why it had taken them so long to lo­cate me in their mem­ory banks.

So, if any­one has been won­der­ing about a cer­tain former STAR edi­tor (and no, I’m not re­fer­ring to her), won­der no more. She is hap­pily mar­ried, cur­rently moth­er­ing two adorable, smart-mouthed girls, and, when time per­mits, try­ing to stay sane by do­ing some writ­ing and pho­tog­ra­phy.

Per­mit me a small di­gres­sion; the ear­lier men­tioned her re­fers to fel­low-former, whom I now con­grat­u­late in her new po­si­tion: Ni­cole McDon­ald. I can just hear her say­ing, “El­iza? El­iza who?” The in­grate; af­ter all I taught her. But se­ri­ously, I know Ni­cole will shine in her new job, just as she did when we were to­gether at the STAR.

But to go on: some months ago I bumped into a former (yes!) gov­ern­ment min­is­ter and caught my­self won­der­ing where all the former min­is­ters and also-rans had gone. I note that a few have popped up since June 6, as if from nowhere. I guess they couldn’t have been do­ing any­thing of much im­por­tance oth­er­wise they wouldn’t have been as read­ily avail­able for place­ment on the new boards and wher­ever else there’s a pub­lic-ser­vice va­cancy. You ever won­der about that? You don’t see or hear of these peo­ple for decades, or for as long as their party is not in of­fice, but as soon as “de par­tee” is re­turned, how­ever, so are they.

I used to like Damian Greaves. I’d al­ways found him to be ap­proach­able and forth­right. He was up-front even about his va­sec­tomy. So where is he now? What about Cal­ixte Ge­orge? Wal­ter Fran­cois? Petrus Comp­ton? Ig­natius Jean? Therold Pru­dent? Mar­cus Ni­cholas? Where has Doddy dis­ap­peared to?

Where are all the used-tobes, the per­sis­tent wanted-to- bes, too, who had led many to be­lieve they were the cure to all that ailed He­len? They were the po­lit­i­cal equiv­a­lent of gwen anba fey. What are they do­ing now? I know they can’t all be dead. Why aren’t they writ­ing op-eds? Why aren’t they shar­ing all that knowl­edge and wis­dom they claimed to pos­sess while in gov­ern­ment, or while head­ing im­por­tant statu­tory bodies? What are they do­ing to ame­lio­rate He­len’s wors­en­ing condition? How are they con­tribut­ing to her re­cov­ery from the mess to which they had all con­trib­uted, one way or an­other, over the years?

No­tice how all of a sud­den ev­ery­one (please read ev­ery­one re­motely con­nected to the UWP) is do­nat­ing wheel­chairs and books and ev­ery­thing else un­der the sun? Didn’t they have ac­cess to such life­sav­ing items be­fore June 6? If you are con­cerned about the de­vel­op­ment of your coun­try and peo­ple shouldn’t you be reach­ing out, re­gard­less of which party is in of­fice? Are you say­ing now your con­cern for bur­saries and schol­ar­ships has al­ways been sea­sonal?

All I’m say­ing is, whether you are a po­lit­i­cal used-to-be or some kind of also-ran, your voice and your good deeds should be audi­ble and vis­i­ble re­gard­less of sea­son. It serves no one, not even your­self—and cer­tainly not the land that gave us birth, all of us—to bury your­self in some co­coon the minute your party has been evicted from pub­lic of­fice. Come to think about it, the House op­po­si­tion is sup­posed to see it­self as an im­por­tant part of the day’s gov­ern­ment. Pointless ly­ing more or less dor­mant un­til it’s time to take an­other shot at be­ing re­turned to of­fice. Ide­ally, we’re all sup­posed to be work­ing for our na­tion’s de­vel­op­ment, in or out of gov­ern­ment!

Ru­fus Bous­quet

Aus­bert d’Au­vergne

Tessa Man­gal

Mar­cus Ni­cholas

Damian Greaves

Cal­ixte Ge­orge

Ten­nyson Joseph

Ig­natius Jean

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