Small bait, big fish

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - Voice -

I DON’T KNOW MUCH about fish­ing, although my teenaged great nephew is an avid fish­er­man, but I didn’t think such a small bait could catch such a large fish! How­ever, Mr Mo­hammed De­gia, I’m hon­oured to think that an il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer diplo­mat like you would read a col­umn by a mere agron­o­mist like me.

I’m sorry that my “trou­bling sen­ti­ments” dis­turbed you so, but I main­tain that I have the right to choose a topic for my own col­umn (as long as it’s ac­cept­able to the NA­TION edi­tors and lawyer) and stick to the sub­ject.

I was al­ways taught at school that when writ­ing an es­say, one should stick to the topic. Much later, while in the Se­nate, I was trained fur­ther in this area by the then Pres­i­dent of the Se­nate Sir Fred Gol­lop. He was strict about not stray­ing from the point be­ing dis­cussed. That’s why I’m amazed at what is al­lowed to go on in both Houses of Par­lia­ment nowa­days.

In my col­umns, I set out to be clear and con­cise in what I have to say, and to use sim­ple lan­guage which doesn’t re­quire read­ers to al­ways have a dic­tionary at hand. My feed­back tells me that this is ap­pre­ci­ated. Some columnists tend to pad their col­umns with “fluff”, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to ex­tract any pearls of wisdom which might lie within. I have stopped read­ing a num­ber of col­umns for that very rea­son; I can’t get past the first para­graph.

In your New Year’s Day Speak­ing My Mind col­umn, you “hauled me over the coals” for agree­ing with our Prime Min­is­ter that plan­ta­tion houses should be made good use of and not al­lowed to fall into dis­re­pair, as has al­ready hap­pened to many of them. I can’t for the life of me see how al­low­ing them to go to ruin will wipe the mem­ory of slav­ery from all minds.

Wouldn’t it be bet­ter to use them as her­itage sites, which would tell the story of slav­ery, at­tract those in­ter­ested in his­tory and earn some rev­enue at the same time? If we fol­low your ar­gu­ment to its log­i­cal con­clu­sion, our beau­ti­ful Par­lia­ment Build­ings should be aban­doned post haste, lest they pol­lute our minds with the spec­tre of slav­ery.

Look­ing back

I sel­dom read your col­umn, but some­one who does brought it to my at­ten­tion that you con­tinue to dwell on cer­tain atroc­i­ties, but man­age to skil­fully skirt around those too close to home which might make you un­com­fort­able. All atroc­i­ties are to be ab­horred, but will con­tin­u­ing to look back help us go for­ward? I re­fer you to a poem in a re­cently pub­lished book en­ti­tled Re­mem­ber­ing by Mau­rice Foster, which talks about walk­ing back­wards into hell.

Not know­ing much about you and what you had achieved as a ca­reer diplo­mat, I googled you and found an ar­ti­cle about slav­ery you had penned in 2007. In it you noted that “com­pen­sa­tion and repa­ra­tions, words that many re­gard as taboo, are very real is­sues which must be ad­dressed . .

. . When one speaks of repa­ra­tions, one does not nec­es­sar­ily mean cash pay­ments to coun­tries or in­di­vid­u­als. For me, com­pen­sa­tion is about in­ter­na­tional poli­cies to re­verse the neg­a­tive ef­fects of racism and slav­ery, part­ner­ships be­tween de­vel­oped and de­vel­op­ing coun­tries to pro­mote so­cial and eco­nomic growth, in­vest­ment to foster the hu­man re­sources of de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, fair in­ter­na­tional trad­ing rules, a trans­par­ent and demo­cratic in­ter­na­tional eco­nomic and fi­nan­cial sys­tem, and in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions acted out on the ba­sis of moral­ity and de­cency, rather than eco­nomic greed and quest for power”.

I to­tally agree with your sen­ti­ments, as I think that small coun­tries like ours are taken ad­van­tage of in a lot of these high­fa­lutin agree­ments which are made to­tally in favour of the big­ger coun­tries. So I have a ques­tion to ask since I ad­mit I don’t know much about the job de­scrip­tions of ca­reer diplo­mats, although I as­sume my taxes go to­wards their salaries, so I should be aware of what I’m pay­ing for.

Dur­ing your ten­ure as a diplo­mat, were you able to in­flu­ence our Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials as to which agree­ments would be ad­van­ta­geous and which wouldn’t be? From what goes on with the World Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion and so on, I would say that if you tried, you weren’t too suc­cess­ful, as we con­tinue to be trod­den on, es­pe­cially with agri­cul­ture, which many feel should not even be in­cluded in that agree­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Barbados

© PressReader. All rights reserved.