A WORD TO THE WISE

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT - ---Peter Josie

Amidst the ob­sta­cles which the op­po­si­tion and their le­gal ad­vis­ers are des­per­ately aim­ing to place in the path of the Chas­tanet gov­ern­ment, there is one small mat­ter that those who wish to gov­ern like John Comp­ton must bear in mind. Comp­ton never al­lowed naysay­ers to in­flu­ence his agenda; nei­ther did he wait un­til all his ducks were per­fectly lined up be­fore he be­gan to im­ple­ment a project. If, for ex­am­ple, there was a feeder road to be built, he would first cut and widen the path, then roll quarry waste over it be­fore adding loose gravel and a thin layer of as­phalt fol­lowed by more rolling. Some­times this would be topped-up with quar­ter inch metal, and voila—new feeder road.

No one with a mod­icum of in­tel­li­gence could have thought that such a road was the best that money could build. The prob­lem was there was no money, but it was the best Comp­ton could have built with lim­ited re­sources. The re­sult may have been a dry-weather road, as his crit­ics would say, but it was bet­ter than a foot­path. Over time, farm­ers pitched in and helped main­tain the road sur­face. In time, these roads were strength­ened to han­dle in­creased ru­ral traf­fic.

Such a prac­ti­cal ap­proach made eco­nomic sense and demon­strated a pat­tern of think­ing that matched the is­land’s stage of devel­op­ment. There is no point in thrust­ing first-world-devel­op­ment-mod­els upon a peo­ple that lack the know-how to main­tain them. Even in the so-called first world, there are many (in­clud­ing white folk) who still use pit la­trines and out­houses. The idea of wise spend­ing also ap­plies to par­ents who pres­sure them­selves to pur­chase the lat­est cel­lu­lar phone or tablet for a child who can barely spell and write. It seems a new and dan­ger­ous mind-set of those who slav­ishly im­i­tate what they see, that of­ten por­trays a false and wealthy life-style.

Bear­ing in mind the Comp­ton model, the gov­ern­ment of Saint Lu­cia need not wait un­til a new air­port ter­mi­nal build­ing is opened at He­wanorra be­fore in­tro­duc­ing at least a few mod­ern pass­port read­able ma­chines with trained staff to help trav­ellers. Politi­cians from both par­ties who travel reg­u­larly to Bar­ba­dos must have seen and used these new ma­chines at Grant­ley Adams. The dif­fer­ence be­tween here and there is the men­tal­ity and think­ing of our lead­ers. John Comp­ton used to think more like a Bar­ba­dian leader whereas our lo­cal jok­ers think they must wait un­til ev­ery­thing is prim and proper (ev­ery duck is prop­erly lined up) be­fore they can in­stall these new ma­chines at Ge­orge FL Charles and He­wanorra Air­ports.

By the way, if an area has been iden­ti­fied in which to es­tab­lish a new an­i­mal farm to re­place Vieux Fort’s Beause­jour, why has so lit­tle been com­mu­ni­cated to the pub­lic about this? Is the gov­ern­ment afraid that the big, bad, bloated id­iot on the op­po­si­tion benches will use his Do­mini­can and lo­cal lawyers to de­lay the gov­ern­ment’s agenda yet again?

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