Editorial

How About A Flag Park?

St.. Lucia Flag

DESPITE a multitude of outstanding Saint Lucians used as references, there still seems to be a growing discontent and disrespect for a nation state approaching forty years. Daily, the debate about whether Saint Lucians need to feel proud about the goings-on in their country grows, even as developed countries treat us as “unequals”.

From public office to private sector and domiciles, there are many Saint Lucians who have and still continue to shine immeasurably, often defeating painstaking odds to achieve remarkable feats for the betterment of country. Levern Spencer, Daren Sammy, Ronald “Boo” Hinkson and Dame Pearlette Louisy are but a few of those sterling examples for whom we should all be proud.

But a nation, despite its down moments, does not achieve anything in silo. No man is an island and despite Saint Lucia being an island, it takes the efforts of many to even contribute to the greatness of one. Which is why, for instance, greater importance needs to be paid to one of the most important symbols of our country: the national flag.

Last year marked 50 years since the flag was adopted to replace the British Blue Ensign defaced with the arms of the colony. That year – 1967 – was the year Saint Lucia became an Associated State of the United Kingdom. When Saint Lucia became independent on February 22, 1979, it was that very flag designed by acclaimed painter Sir Dunstan St. Omer, a Saint Lucian, which went up a flagpole and symbolically broke the shackles of colonial rule.

But while other nations are so respectful of and celebratory of these milestones, the 50th anniversary of the flag went virtually unnoticed last year. No pomp and ceremony about the very symbol that has for years served as a reminder of what crafting the fabric of a nation’s soul using four colours. The anniversary came and went as trivially as water off a duck’s back.

Nevertheless, there still is some measure of redemption that can be had from the situation. In 1986, Sir Dunstan’s son, Alwyn, entered a competition to create a symbol to commemorate Saint Lucia’s tenth anniversary of Independence.

The intention was to design a National Monument that was supposed to be located at TrouGarnier. His design was a monument paying tribute to our national bird, the Amazona Versicolor, in abstract rising in flight. To this day, bureaucracy has plagued the commissioning of the project, despite Alwyn making many pleadings and exerting a considerable amount of energy to see his dream come true.

Notwithstanding the tight financial spot successive governments seem to suggest the nation finds itself in, Saint Lucia will be celebrating its 40th anniversary of Independence next year. While the major project Alwyn originally proposed might be a bit expensive – creating a working design from his three-dimensional model alone amounts to around $1 million – the project can be scaled down to pay tribute to Jacquot and the flag.

Nearly a decade ago, then Castries Central MP, Richard Frederick, took the bold step of commissioning a park where prime land used to house a preschool. The decision drew the ire of many, including the Castries City Council, which fell under his portfolio. Today, Serenity Park stands testimony to going against the grain of bureaucracy and giving the people something of which they can be proud.

Castries Mayor, Peterson Francis, has demonstrated that he has the vision to transform the city one bold step at a time. In that regard, he should at least consider the proposal being put forward here. While many around the world are proclaiming that their countries are better than ours, it is about time that we seriously prove that nationhood truly means something to us.

Stan Bishop is the current Editor at The Voice Publishing co. Stan Bishop began his career in journalism in March 2008 writing freelance for The VOICE newspaper for six weeks before being hired as a part-time journalist there when one of the company’s journalists was overseas on assignment.

Although he was initially told that the job would last only two weeks, he was able to demonstrate such high quality work that the company offered him a permanent job before that fortnight was over. Read full bio...

1 Comment

  1. THEY DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING FOR FIVE YEARS
    ============================================

    This is what the present administration would like you to believe about the last administration’s tenure.

    Now I don’t know about you but even as a critic of the then administration I would not allow this narrative to gain prominence because it is simply false.

    I recall the frenzy of road works and Ti-canal projects all over the country, even, I dare say, in some opposition controlled constituencies. I ridiculed the island-wide concrete slapping because it smelled of desperation particularly in the last year. Nonetheless all of these projects were welcomed by the many to whom they provided some sort of relief in one way or another.

    Of course there were many projects in different phases from conceptualization and implementation. Like the Soufriere town square, the Saint Jude’s hospital, the Vieux Fort administrative building, the cruise ship berth expansion, the international airport, the erecting of many ICT centers and the island wide WiFi initiative to name a few.

    Don’t accuse me of being a Labour apologist I am just setting the record straight in an effort to debunk the falsity that last administration scratched their butts for five years in office and since the advent of this administration the country is cooking with gas.

    Politics is more about perception than reality and being the blood sport that it is when a government that came in without a plan found a ready-made one laid out for them expect them to deny such a plan ever existed and everything that is now done is all under their imprimatur.

    You sell that to the many low information voter in our midst, particularly the 43% of pre-school graduates, and they buy it wholesale. But what irks me the most is those who know better who are intent of spreading such a tissue of lies to cement their position by deception.

    Let’s be realistic here the UWP has no obligation to tout the last administration’s successes that is not their job. Politics we are told has a morality of its own and thus there should be no expectation fairness.

    However it would have been better, for want of a better word, for them to have stayed mum instead of denying the efforts of the last administration.

    But then again the whole idea is to insult the intelligence of the few in order to inflame the passions of the base this is coming straight from Donald Trump’s playbook.

    Having said that the Labourites can take some small comfort in the idea that this administration seems more like an extension or continuation of the last since they have not conceptualized nor implemented anything of note of their own initiative.

    The SLP is being accused as “do-nothings” simply because they were being judicious so as not to borrow lavishly, for being deliberate about accepting DSH, and seeking the most advantageous funding mechanism for their projects like the HIA development etc. The Spendthrift – In – Chief has no such qualms.

    Don’t buy the spin that the UWP is promulgating rather be thankful that the last administration left much for this administration to complete so as to advance our development and to provide them a semblance of industriousness.

    Lamentably when the roll is called all of Labour’s good deeds might be a distant memory. Oh the perils of elective politics. It never promised you a rose garden.

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