THE members of the National Vision Commission say they intend to achieve their two-year mandate of facilitating the crafting of a blueprint for a better Saint Lucia. For that to happen, the Commission says it is relying on all Saint Lucians to contribute to the process by adding their input.
The Commission held its first media dialogue last Sunday at Palmville Conference Centre where its commissioners explained the aims and objectives of the Commission. Remarks were made by NVC Chairman, Adrian Augier and member BishnuTulsie, among others who explained NVC’s mandate and the process that mandate will follow. The three-hour-long dialogue dealt with challenges the island currently faces and what needs to be done to create a better, safer, and more productive Saint Lucia.
At the close of the session, Augier told The VOICE the meeting was successful, adding that the organization is independent, “a people’s movement”, something the current situation calls for.
“This is Saint Lucians saying we need to get together and say what it is we really want so that we could move the country forward irrespective of the politics and the division,” Augier said.
Augier said that unless Saint Lucians articulated what it is they really want changed, they should not blame anyone for not having it. He said there was now an opportunity for Saint Lucians to address the Commission which would listen to what it is the country envisages for the future. Sunday’s session was not a talk-shop, he added, but rather “a very hard-hitting discussion we’ve had with the media.”
“There’s been a lot of critical analysis – both of the vision process of the Vision Commission and its mandate and the media itself and its role in society which is very important. I think we have crossed a little bit of the bridge because we realized that we’re actually on the same side,” Augier said.
Augier said the time is ripe for citizens to gather their thoughts and determination and come up with an agenda for the country. He said suspending individual and political ambitions and persuasions and embracing collectiveness serves well to move the country forward.
“I think that once we do that, we will then have an agenda that is bigger than any of us that actually focuses on where the country needs to be in these very difficult economic and political times that we’re living in,” Augier told The VOICE.
The Commission intends to meet with the youth, media and other sectors to outline its aims. Augier said the Commission will also engage every community throughout Saint Lucia as well as anyone or organization that wants to meet with the Commission. The Commission, he said, remains open to suggestions.
“You can call the Commission and ask us to come and sit with your annual general meetings, shareholders meetings,” Augier said. “We are caretakers of the process who are here to identify those themes that keep recurring which then become part of the agenda that we present to the government.”
He added: “We are just the caretakers who will ask the questions, listen to the answers, put it all together and give it back to the people. We are not here to report to any higher authority or to be agents of the government.”
The NVC Chairman said the production of another document pushing for national change is not the aim. The output of the Commission, he said, is actually the process of consultation itself. Whether or not a document detailing the recommendations made by Saint Lucians evolves is secondary, Augier said, adding that the process of consultation and receiving of the views of the people is paramount.
“This is why the media is so important because it is the media that will have to keep this thing alive,” Augier said. “So this is not a report that should be sitting on a shelf but rather one that should be on the dining room table of every home in this country. So we will make sure that through print, television, radio and social media and whatever other means necessary that the dialogue is not something that takes place in the heads of a few but one which takes place in the minds, hearts and soul of all Saint Lucians.”
After thirty-six years after Independence, Augier said, “a lot of things need fixing because a lot of things are broken.” Nevertheless, he added, there still is a great deal of good going for Saint Lucia that can serve as the basis for a radical change in attitude and a national psyche.
“So we need to pull it all together to produce a blueprint or terms of reference for whoever is managing this country,” Augier said. “And managing this country is not the exclusive domain of politicians. Managing the country has to do with leadership across the country.”
Augier said that while he understands that many people will be skeptical about participating in the process, the suggestions for solutions for national issues must come from citizens themselves, even if such suggestions seem inessential compared to others. What matters most, he said, is participation.
“It really is up to us what we make of it. If we just want to come, talk, turn our backs and go about our business, then that’s what’s going to happen to us. but if we decide that this (process) is really important and give some part of ours to articulating who and what we want to be and own it, then it’s ours,” Augier explained.