I am an eternal optimist and rattling in my mind, the reality that all is well in Saint Lucia is almost impossible or so I thought. So when people say, “nothing eh running in Sweet Helen,” I am the last person you would try selling that truth/lie to.
Here’s another truth/lie that can’t penetrate this damn cranium of mine, that ‘Saint Lucia is the worst place in the world to try and make a living as an artiste’. Don’t try selling that to me. Oh no. Not this eternal optimist! Or try telling me that an independent has no chance in an election in Saint Lucia.
As some of you know art is my life. In this past dismal calypso season, I provided management services for a particular artiste. Part of my role would be to try and solicit sponsorship for this artiste and so I put pen to paper as I love doing. And believe me if any artiste needed sponsorship it would be this one. In Saint Lucia ‘we’re strong inna de arts but weak inna support’ and that is so true of this artiste. So when one hotel that I wrote to, wrote back to tell me about its low occupancies; I was in disbelief. Things could not be that hard in Saint Lucia. I did get some hope from another business who promised some assistance that would have come next week but that week never came. To this date the manageress sees me and tells me nothing of the reason why the promised assistance was not made available and I am too ashamed to ask.
In this article, I seem to be spilling beans. I think I told you that art is my life and some of you may know that I head the Saint Lucia Writers’ Forum. We recently launched an event called the Laureate’s Chair, in honour of Literature Laureate Derek Walcott. The event is monthly and in order to better advance the programme we made a request of a donation of an amplification system from the foremost retail, hire-purchase chain on island. They responded promptly to tell me that due to the severe economic situation they are unable to sponsor us at this time. I wrote again to the organisation accepting the reason advanced and proposed a 50% discount. Willing to pay half the price, I was sure they would oblige. But to my disheartenment they called and stabbed me with the same excuse. And it would be nails in my coffin when the female representative on the other end of the phone said NO to my request for even 5% off the $500 item.
At the end of the call, I had to debrief myself from the shock: it’s either I am a poor negotiator, we have our priorities wrong in this country or kennynomics is killing we.