Letters & Opinion

The Shifting Hands of Time

The Independent Eye - By Kensley Peter Charlemagne

MANY people when guessing my age put me in the youthful bracket but I have changed lanes. Thanks to life, it is a lane I will never ply again. But I am happy that I was born when I was. I usually reminisce that Saint Lucia now is not the Saint Lucia that I grew up in. This place has been turned on its head and the blood pressure is causing some vessels to rupture.

Often I look at the behaviour of our youth and I ask myself, “What did we do wrong?” I remember seeing my great grandmother “putting licks” on my aunt who was already in her thirties for attempting to lift a knife on her husband and the disciplining was public. I thank God for the extended family that I grew up in. All my aunts and grandaunts were my mothers but the scourge that brought us where we are today had already begun.

There were not many male father figures in my life. Our school staffing was being female-dominated as there was only one male figure head at my infant school and that would not change drastically in primary school either. I remember walking miles to the river to fetch drinking water and the daily walk to school was a pleasure. I remember sharing in the family enterprise, as I had to ensure that I had burnished my daily quota of clay pots before I left for school and that the yard was spanking clean of all leaves and other debris. And no, I did not have my own lunch kit going to school. Lunch was a communal gathering when my older cousin would dish out to each their little compartment from the “kari-a”. And I did not go to school with the latest Nike. I am from the “jarry” generation and proud of it. The little ring games we used to play: “man bal, man bal, kote man bal?” We were not isolated in front of an Xbox. And then they spoilt all the fun and brought me, at the age of eight, to Castries, the new frontier of “development”.

You honestly think I would dare spit on a reporter, curse an adult or throw stones into a crowded place. The public flogging I would have gotten I would have remembered for several generations. But this generation is lost, wayward and convoluted. But where did we go wrong? It’s a question that I can’t answer. But I think it has a lot to do with identity. We are lost. We do not know who we are as a nation. Foreign art is making a mess of us. History should have remained mandatory in our school system. We don’t know where we’re from and we sure don’t know where we’re going. Civics and morals, where have these gone to?

In my days you would not want anyone to know you’re a prostitute. But our girls walk the streets scantily dressed, a movement in fashion. The constant gyration. Our girls can’t keep still; a gravitation to dancehall music. Everybody has a tattoo and these days the men are wearing bigger earrings than the ladies. All our girls look like cosmopolitan models, fake eye lashes, fake eyebrow and fake hair. But why?

Our people profess to not liking to read. A nation that does not read is like a body with collapsing lungs. We are hemorrhaging Saint Lucia and the doctors ain’t helping. We need to go back to the days of the “lolobef” and banish this thought of removing corporal punishment from our home and schools.


  1. Keen observations BUTT (pun intended) the KITTY is out of the Cat and the mustang has long since bolted the barn.
    Ziggy Freud’s foundational concepts on sexuality and the Pleasure Principle ring true today.
    In your day the extended family and the entire village formed a collective SUPER EGO that helped to maintain sexual latency periods in check while coaxing the very instrumental cognitive tool DELAY OF GRATIFICATION..
    Rapid “modernization” gave way to “nuclear family” insularity. But the demands of work quickly tore apart the “QUALITY TIME” so necessary to sustain the Super Ego duties once shared by the extended family pool and village.
    TV became the new baby sitter, consequently, the altar of moral and cultural transmission. Used to be the early soap operas HID actors kissing lip to lip-
    not so in the past decade or two where soft PORN is de rigeur.
    Exhibitionism promoted narcissism to the extent that the recent DSM_V Psychological Manual has removed NARCISSISM from the catalogue of disorders.
    WHY? IT is to common an entity (prevalence) among the population at large, as a result the cost to medical insurance premiums would be prohibitive. PRIORITIES of money.
    The dog eat dog-skin the cat-CRO Magnon epoch has come back to roost- just as the falsifications of sects and creeds are clarified at earlier ages -thanks to Google.
    Sex is not about planned spiritually enshrined procreation:
    Its about pleasure and the social power that it exerts.
    Pleasure is equated with DISPOSABLE POWER as in personal excessive access..
    I get more = happiness
    We can go on ad infinitum
    Only a Noah like calamity can return us to a more humble moral awareness- amen!

  2. It is not irretrievable, but there needs to a strengthening of institutions, namely the police, judiciary and school system. When there is a functioning law and order system (crim and civil), people have confidence. Economies develop from having secure property rights. If you can’t legally enforce what is yours then don’t be surprised things stop working as they should.

    At family level, people need to stop having children without planning. Kids need a solid upbringing where they are secure, but also know their place. They will always try and push boundaries and when they are not resisted, they can develop into misbehaving adults.

    Land is limited, and needed for housing, agriculture, business, leisure and the environment – all have competing demands, and adding thousands of people a year into the workforce places more strain on all these resources.

    The politician who understands how to start repairing the civil service and other parts of government will be the one who moves the country forward. However all people need to do some introspection to really see what’s gone wrong.

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