Commentary: Exclusively Caribbean - St Vincent and the Grenadines: The natural place to be!
Published on March 9, 2011
by D. Markie Spring
Turks and Caicos Islands
Exclusively Caribbean - the natural place to be? Not anymore.
When I described St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) as the emerging Iraq of the west -- that was no joke! Convincingly, when I asked politicians in SVG to take a text book page from the uprising in the Middle East -- no one listened! Furthermore, I reiterated that our political arena has become repugnant, argumentative and desolate -- this too was not a joke.
Repeatedly, I have encouraged party supporters to be careful of deeply associating themselves with political parties or parties’ representatives. In this sense, I outlined that when a particular party is making the wrong decision these supporters are not be able to dissociate themselves; hence, bad decision making is often well supported and represented. Arguably, one must disassociate oneself from party politics and vote on issues; not on personal attacks.
Having said this, and for the same reason that the New Democratic Party (NPD) supporters are inclined to the notion that SVG does not need an international airport. Some of the excuses uttered by these supporters are that the country cannot undertake such a large project; there are three international airports within reach of SVG and that the environment would be polluted by the introduction of mass transportation -- lame. In this capacity, did these supporters assess the economic sustainability of such project? I do not think so! Another question I must ask is, if the opposing party indicated that the airport is not a sustainable development, would NDP supporters turn around and say that the airport is important? Yes! This would be the case -- fickle.
Conversely, the passing of the new bills - many Unity Labour Party (ULP) supporters are recommending these bills to be passed. Some ULP affiliates even went as far to say that if Parnell Campbell is an expert in law and he said that the bills are good, and these bills would serve well the people of SVG, why anyone should go to the contrary -- this he said. This clearly indicates that as party affiliates we are not able to think for ourselves; therefore, we accept and support anything, politically. Again, let me ask you -- if these bills were being enacted by the NDP would the opposing party be outraged; of course they would - party politics.
With these bills I call upon the Diaspora to harmonize with the citizens living in SVG in initiating a dialogue with the ULP and its government. These bills, in my view, are merciless, terrifying and foreboding in nature. If these bills are passed it takes away enormous rights of citizens and, therefore, it is safe to say that our country is slowly adapting features of socialism - a political system that allows the government to control the people and the way they function -- with this developing, I hope we are not the English-speaking Cuba of the Southern Caribbean.
It seems as though supporters move with the directions of their winds without even assessing these environments they are placing themselves in.
We have become the laughing stock of the Caribbean. Recently, when the House of Assembly convened in Kingstown in convoking the new bills introduced by the ULP and its government, members of the NDP behaved in a such that is unbecoming. Arnhim Eustace, an intelligent and development economist, but who lacks charisma and leadership skills, stood up in the house after being warned by the Speaker to take his seat. Standing up in the House does not make sense and he breaches such regulations -- problems cannot be solved by breaking the rules; for the same reason people were beaten and hospitalized.
The rules of the house stipulate that the Speaker regulates the house and members should not be standing while another member is on the floor. If Mr Eustace cannot subdue leadership in the house how can he rule the nation? Moreover, a female NDP representative in the House was cheeky, ridiculous, irritating and often sarcastic. Other members shouted at the Speaker, who became confused, lost control and grabbing for words. I must highlight that the prime minister, in my opinion, was careful and complied with the instructions given by the Speaker; no other member on the ULP pavilion behaved in such disrespectful manner.
Hitherto, are you surprised that many of our citizens behave in a similar fashion -- you should not. Our politicians are our leaders and if their attitudes are devious then our people, especially, young people will behave in similar fashion.
Again, our nation is characterized by intelligent people and we must seek to behave in that manner as much as practicable, even on the political platform. We cannot make our political affiliations control our aspirations.
Are you NDP? Are you ULP? Rather, you should be Vincentians. For me, I am still standing in the middle and looking for issues, not personal information. It is urgent that we assess our political environment and make the necessary changes -- changes that would positively impact our lives.
It is time that our politicians stop! Listen and take a new direction.
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Dear Mr. D Markie Spring
I liked your article, and respect your opinions. I personally don't support political parties; they have all proven themselves corrupt from where I'm standing. However Vincentians love politics, it's in there or should I say our blood. YOU WOULD find all this reckless politically motivated behaviour in all the poor black countries, and many people have come to see that change isn't going to come. Hence the brain drain, hence the ever growing Diaspora forsaking the fun in the sun and looking for better opportunities. Politics is simply mashing up the country, and because it's so deep in the people, it makes many of them easy to control (Not generalizing here). My previous statement is debatable, seeing the elections were 8-7. Moving on.... There are some pointers in your article I disagreed with.
"With these bills I call upon the Diaspora to harmonize with the citizens living in SVG in initiating a dialogue with the ULP and its government."
I think it's fair to say, if you are permanently or temporarily living abroad, that although entitled, the Diaspora should have minimal say in what happens in St Vincent. That should be left that for the Vincentians on Vincy soil that regularly have to deal with the problems that face St Vincent. The Diaspora on the other hand are full with the Problems of America, Canada, and England.... you know, buying clothes, watching plasma TVs, fighting to pay rent, fighting with the phone company, hiding from immigration (not generalizing here), looking out for terrorist, racism!
I agree with your opinion of the bills; however Saint Vincent in no way can be compared to Cuba. Saint Vincent is not a highly oppressed nation. We have our freedom to do what we want, when we want to and however we want to do it as the law allows. It is very possible if Vincentians probably take the initiative to implement new ideas and businesses (becoming independent people), we can get rich under the watchful eye of the Government and the FIU (fools investigating you). I also agree with you that many Vincentians just support party for party sake. It reminds me of the Jim Jones in Guyana saga.... the results of supporting someone to the very end.
Another statement that I disagreed with was... "Our politicians are our leaders and if their attitudes are devious then our people, especially, young people will behave in similar fashion." I take it you hold the opinion that young people are VERY impressionable, easy to lead, etc. While this might be so in some cases, it is not so in all! Jamaica and America probably has more influence on Vincentian youth than the Government, e.g. tight pants, Scarves, Dancehall music, (Vybz Kartel, Movado), the way they speak. That's why when elections season comes, Ralph books the popular Jamaican artist in an effort to catch some young votes. Didn't you know?
Good luck Warding off the crowd! Oh and great article, no need to say what I liked. It was great all over.
Any comments on the Harlequin Resort in Buccament Bay St Vincent and also any firm date for when is the airport likely to be completed ?
IF I WERE MARKIE SPRING, I WOULD DO EXACTLY WHAT HE IS DOING!
However, since I am not Markie, I would respond differently.
Let us go back to my opening statement that I would do exactly what Markie is doing - if I were in his place.
Markie is a reasonably young, intelligent, and educated Vincentian. That being said, let me explain my understanding of his writing since I consider myself to also be reasonably young, intelligent and educated as well.
What most young intellectually gifted Vincentians do, is to venture overseas to further their education, since for many years that opportunity was not available at home many years ago. Today, this is a little easier, but ultimately one really needs to leave St Vincent in an effort to further their education and careers. That is what Markie, Dane and I did many years ago.
We did this because we had a significant amount of ability and AMBITION. In other words, WE ALL had the intention of returning to the country of our birth in future and making a solid contribution to its development. We expected that with the additional amount of education and experience we were able to gain in the diaspora, that we would return and be the recipient of "a good job".
If Markie is honest, he would admit that he would like to return to St Vincent and become a politician, probably the Prime Minister, one day.
If Markie does not wish to become a "politician", he could support any party, and be able to become the Ambassador to the United Nations or to any country of his choice.
If that is not his desire, he could become the Chairman of several Boards of Directors, if he wished! Markie could even become an "Advisor" to the Prime Minister. THIS IS A POSITION THAT HE HAS SAID ON THIS FORUM HE WOULD LOVE TO OCCUPY.
So Markie Spring's position/intention is crystal clear!
Let us now look at the political landscape in St Vincent today. The ULP has already been in office for the last ten years, and they are expected to be there for five more. They may or may not win the next general elections. If they don't, then the opposition will form the next government. .....And this will be Markie Spring's opportunity - to return home.
WHEN MARKIE SPRING RETURNS, HE WILL GET HIS BIG JOB because he is educated, experienced, and has staunchly supported the NDP while he was overseas.
Markie has written extensively in support of the NDP. He has written exclusively against the ULP, and he has perpetually posted his picture for everyone to see. Probably because my forte is MARKETING, I have observed the method of his "production". He has marketed himself well!
So Markie Spring is looking at the odds.
Sooner or later, the ULP will lose the elections. That is the way our political system works. All democracies work that way, regardless of whether we are talking about the UK, the USA, Canada, or Grenada. The ULP will most likely lose in 2015, in 2020 or in 2025. This is when Markie is prepared to to return.
Why should he return to St Vincent and support the ULP government if they are expected not to be forming the government in the near future?
In other words, Markie Spring is prepared to return to St Vincent when the opportunity arises to support the P I P (Party in Power) in an effort to feather his own nest. ...And there is NOTHING WRONG with that.
The problem arises when he becomes dishonest and falsely criticizes the government ALMOST at every turn.
I have said it before, Markie is no fool. I have also said that I would do exactly what he is doing - if I had Markie's thoughts.
I have only one question for Markie. What rights and freedoms are taken away from Vincentians by the passing of these bills? Please explain to everyone who read your article in detail the Bills and their negative impact on Vincentians. It is not fair to make such a statement without backing it up with the details.
Looking forward for your response Markie.
I too have a question for you Markie Spring.
Why is it that the NDP cannot attract a crowd for the portests? Could it be that Vincentians are not convinced that the Bills are bad or is it that they have lost confidence in the Leadership of the NDP?
The author of a number of published works, D. Markie Spring was born in St Vincent and the Grenadines and now resides in Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands. He has an MBA from the University of Leicester, England, and a BA from Saint Mary's University, Canada
Labels: D. Markie Spring, Politics, SVG Politics