CHANGE HAS CON­SE­QUENCES

The Star (St. Lucia) - - FRONT PAGE - By Peter Josie

Iwould be fail­ing in a duty I owe to this is­land if I re­frained from com­ment­ing on a re­cent tele­vised dis­cus­sion be­tween Prime Min­is­ter Allen Chas­tanet and the leader of the op­po­si­tion Philip J. Pierre. At­tor­ney Kim St. Rose, who is charged with re­view­ing the work of the Con­sti­tu­tion Re­form Com­mis­sion, and ex­pe­ri­enced at­tor­ney Andy Ge­orge were also present.

As a young par­lia­men­tar­ian in the 70s, I am on record say­ing that changing a gov­ern­ment through peace­ful demo­cratic vote is not difficult. The abil­ity to ex­e­cute changes promised at elec­tions is the hard part of pol­i­tics. Some politi­cians can talk the talk, but can­not walk the talk. The few who can ex­e­cute their vi­sion bring about pos­i­tive change.

The tele­vised dis­cus­sion on con­sti­tu­tional re­form be­tween the two po­lit­i­cal lead­ers was such a sea change from pol­i­tics as usual that the event was cap­tured for all time in the

STAR news­pa­per of March 11, 2017 by Rick Wayne in his ‘Writ­ings on the Wall,’ and by the Voice edi­to­rial of the same date. The STAR opined: “But the at­ti­tude, as ear­lier noted, re­minded that it is in­deed pos­si­ble to de­bate in the name of

the peo­ple with­out con­jur­ing im­ages of hun­gry wool packs fight­ing for pos­ses­sion of a rab­bit’s foot.”

The Voice edi­to­rial for its part, ob­served: “It pleases us greatly that we have re­opened the de­bate on con­sti­tu­tional re­form for the very sim­ple rea­son that there are is­sues that con­tinue to arise in our coun­try that re­quire change in the way they are han­dled.”

A former Min­is­ter in the SLP gov­ern­ment of 2001 to 2006, Ig­natius Jean, also com­mented pos­i­tively on the ground­break­ing dis­cus­sion via a let­ter to last week­end’s Voice news­pa­per.

Th­ese three re­minded me that change has con­se­quences. Pos­i­tive, mean­ing­ful change is often un­com­fort­able both at the in­di­vid­ual level and the level of the State. The rea­son is, mean­ing­ful change calls for tremen­dous sac­ri­fice and ef­fort. In re­al­ity noth­ing use­ful and valu­able can be achieved with­out ef­fort and a will­ing­ness to change. Lack­lus­tre in­di­vid­u­als, who give only 10% ef­fort, will not achieve ex­cel­lence. ,So it is with the State! Politi­cians who are fear­ful and timid and who sac­ri­fice longterm good for short-term pop­u­lar­ity will achieve noth­ing mean­ing­ful. One there­fore ought to be fear­less and bold in im­ple­ment­ing pos­i­tive, de­sir­able change. Some lead­ers fear change be­cause they can­not con­trol the con­se­quences of change, neg­a­tive or pos­i­tive. Some are afraid to help cre­ate a new mind-set and per­son­al­ity even when peo­ple, with proper train­ing, would pros­per in the changed en­vi­ron­ment.

Un­for­tu­nately, the yard fowl syn­drome per­sists in some lead­ers. Th­ese misslead­ers pre­fer a coun­try to con­tinue cap-in-hand to for­eign donors, some with ques­tion­able agen­das. Their pur­suit of medi­ocrity is a path strewn with se­vere neg­a­tive con­se­quences. Their peo­ple de­velop men­di­cancy - an anath­ema to progress. Only a con­tin­u­ous striv­ing for ex­cel­lence and a de­ter­mined ef­fort to jet­ti­son medi­ocrity will fi­nally un­leash the hid­den po­ten­tial of Saint Lu­cia.

In the pur­suit of ex­cel­lence and pos­i­tive con­se­quences one ought to keep in mind the neg­a­tive con­se­quences of medi­ocrity and un­der­de­vel­op­ment. Too often the con­se­quences of medi­ocrity are crime; and crime the en­emy of ex­cel­lence. Th­ese two can­not co-ex­ist. In this re­gard the re­cent pos­i­tive meet­ing be­tween Prime Min­is­ter Chas­tanet and leader of the op­po­si­tion Pierre can usher a new and pos­i­tive agenda for this is­land. Hope­fully, pos­i­tive con­se­quences will flow from this sim­ple but pro­found be­gin­ning.

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