Talking alone was never a match for constructive action!
Those of us who grew up in Saint Lucia when young people were taught that it was preferable to be silent, to listen, and to do as we were told, never forgot the lesson. Today, when we see others speaking out of turn, who demonstrate over and over that they are better talkers than doers, we remember our parents with gratitude. We take it for granted that people who speak to deceive, or who lack factual information, are victims of a certain kind of parenting and coaching. Being a poor listener has always been viewed as bad manners or an attempt to mask ignorance and aggression.
Throughout a child’s school life the code of silence, observing and listening, was rigorously enforced as part of school discipline. Punishment at school was more likely to follow an infraction of the rule of not speaking in class, unless addressing the teacher. It therefore followed that by age seven many children had learned that speech is silver and silence golden. Children seemed to know which of the two metals was the more precious. The reluctance of the average Saint Lucian to speak his or her mind freely and openly may well have its genesis in the strict and early rules of silence learned at home and at school. These rules were not relaxed even after some children were old enough to join in a family conversation. I’ve often wondered at what age children acquired more knowledge than their parents suspected, about the science of reproduction or of family secrets.
Too often, anger and resentment were allowed to fester in place of sincere exchanges and openness that allowed love to flourish. It would therefore not surprise me to discover hidden anger in some people who speak often, especially when they lie. Experience teaches us that such angry persons are impatient with truth. They tend to revolt against all information that does not meet their subjective standard. Such persons are likely to classify information they would rather avoid as lies, even when the contrary evidence is overwhelming.
In the modern era some persons are paid to speak and influence others with false messages. It does not matter whether these messages are religious, commercial or political. Whatever the agenda, the constant chatter aims at capturing our attention and influencing us to believe in falsehood and lies. Liars intend to persuade the rest of us to listen and to believe their lies, for their own benefit. Thankfully, the average Saint Lucian seems more willing to listen to people who can improve their lives. They have discovered that factual information can help to lift the human spirit by always providing verifiable information, regardless of the topic.
Whatever the choice they make between speech and silence, those who serve the nation in high office will do well to remember the words of the philosopher in the Book of Ecclesiastes, in Holy Writ, Chapter Three, ‘A Time for Everything.’ Yes indeed, there is a time for silence and a time for speaking out, especially when the latter has been inspired by knowledge and a commitment to grow a people socially, economically and spiritually. Therefore, let those who know of what they speak be encouraged to do so in order to shed light in the pervasive darkness, wherein evil-doers and peddlers of hate seem determined to keep the sons and daughters of Saint Lucia.
The recent tweak in Cabinet portfolios by the prime minister may be seen as a form of communication. But it needs to be further explained. We are informed that the minor changes are to eventuate in major improvements in the delivery of government services. The spoken word must now be expanded to explain the Cabinet changes, and how they will benefit the people of Saint Lucia. One of the more remarkable lessons that have been learnt from the former government is its silence, ostensibly on behalf of success. These lessons are remarkable because it was the former government that introduced the word transparency into the local political dictionary. In opposition, the former government had all the answers; in government, they had an opportunity to explain their actions but they fell woefully short. They turned out to be the most secretive politicians ever to administer the business of this country.
The most recent example of how well the people have learnt the lesson of silence versus talk is the revelation of the Desert Star Holdings (DSH) project at Vieux Fort. An increasing number of Saint Lucians from all walks of life now believe that had the current opposition won the last general elections, the DSH project would have had the government’s unbridled support. The Maria Islets off Vieux Fort would have been connected to the mainland and no dog would bark. New hotels would be rising on reclaimed lands between the islets and the mainland and no one would lose sleep over any lizards. The SLP hacks and other hypocrites would have promoted the DSH project as “Vieux Fort’s time to shine”. And who would dare oppose jobs for the people of the south?
Anyone who dared to speak against the DSH project under Labour would have been threatened and labelled an enemy of progress. Words would have been used by Teo Ah Khings “dearest prime minister” in his usually cunning and diabolical style to devalue any opposition to his DSH baby. It gives me great pleasure that more Saint Lucians believe that the DSH project would be at full steam under a Labour government, whether or not they were able to complete the unfinished symphony.
The author suggests that had Kenny Anthony (pictured) won the 2016 general elections, he and his followers would’ve moved heaven and earth in their total commitment to the proposed Desert Star Holdings project.