ALBERT Einstein was once asked: ‘Then you trust your imagination than to your knowledge?’ He responded: ‘I am enough of the artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world’.
The greatest crisis in our nation at this point is the lack of imagination. We have grown to believe that knowledge can carry us forward, yet the outworking of knowledge has failed us. As a society we have to unlock our imagination and begin to encircle the world. The development of our nation would not happen with men and women of knowledge, but indeed with those who have imagination.
Let me tease you with imagining a different approach to things that we have come to accept. I first start with how we look at transportation. I began to imagine a situation where all transport related activities in the country were placed under one entity. The proposal is to create a St Lucia Ports and Transit Authority. This new entity will be responsible for all our air and seaports as well as land transportation. The activities of the present Transport section of the Ministry of Infrastructure Port Services and Transport would be moved to the newly created St Lucia Ports and Transit Authority.
This merger will then allow an integration of inland transport with sea transport. We will then see the possibility of ferry services to Rodney Bay, Anse la Raye, Canaries, Soufriere and Vieux Fort being linked to the mini-bus service. All payments of vehicle registration will now be handled by this newly created entity. It can be a seamless transition with minimal disruption, but with huge potential to expansion of the transportation sector. The present SLASPA is well managed and should enhance the operation of the present Transport Department.
The second tease would be to imagine a floating Vendors Arcade that is positioned along the waterfront opposite government buildings which will attract the cruise ship visitor and create a shopping strip. However, what is being sold will not be the unimaginative goods presently found in the vendors Arcade, but here you will find our local organic fruits and drinks, our sour sop with its rich benefits, our arts and craft; it will be a Made in St Lucia Only Arcade. If you want to be a vendor, then you unlock your imagination to produce something made in St Lucia.
The third tease is to imagine an education system built upon the principles of volunteerism. Every primary school child from the age of seven or say Grade 2 must put in two volunteer hours per term or a total of 6 hrs per year. Every secondary school child must also put in four hours per term and every tertiary level student must put in six hours per term. I estimate that to be 63,000 Volunteer Hours per year. Could you imagine groups of students volunteering to clean and repaint the toilet block in their school, or reading to the elderly at the Senior Citizens Home? The impact on the society would be tremendous. Again it will cost nothing to implement this.
The final tease is to imagine where work starts at 7.30 am, with lunch at 11.30 am, and start back at 12.00 and finish at 3.00 pm. Who eats for one hour?, and who said work should start at 8.00 am. All of a sudden parents are home the same time as children, and family life is now enhanced. There is no loss in productivity; in fact productivity will increase in the process. The above is supported by an efficient transportation system that allows a reasonable travel time from home to work and back.
I have used the term thinking outside the barrel, because so many have moved from thinking within the box that they are now submerging in larger vessels. Einstein was most correct; we must become enough of the artist to draw freely upon our imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.