Letters & Opinion

What Have We Done?

The Independent Eye - By Kensley Peter Charlemagne

The Independent Eye - By Kensley Peter Charlemagne

THIS week’s Independent Eye is a reproduction of an article that was published in the Voice on 16th August 2011 entitled: At What Cost?

This comes in lament of the state of our youth and a report by business owner John Mitchel blaming the youth for their demise with the high youth unemployment in the country. Our youth have to become more engaging. They have to rise beyond the state where this young girl from Millet keeps chastising me for my poor numbers in the elections to asking the fundamental question: Why do you do this? But it remains: “The power of example have we children so!”

It would have been a little more digestible if it had come from some seventy year old drunk walking the village street. If he were fifty-something and somewhat sober and he had said those words, they would have gone down a little easier. But when I had processed it all and taken in the who, the where, the when, the why, the how, my mind was deeply disturbed. I had walked that way several times before, only this time, the yuteman had worked up enough courage to offer me a five-bag. News spread among the gang at the gambling table that the rastaman had refused to purchase the hard weed. The congregation was stirred and the lead disciple [not the one who had made the offer] began to preach his insulting gospel. His sermon was short lived as I, walking away, would not retort but the most memorable quote of that day and the one that bogged my mind most was, “Mate run elections and he eh even offer people a drink.” Of course he was propagating gossip, not that what he was saying was untrue but that he was repeating what seemed to have been the consensus drawn from the 2006 election. He had not experienced it himself. So some way, some how, the essential message was lost in the sobriety of my campaign. Or was it that they had been drunken by my forerunners?

“Mate run elections and he eh even offer people a drink.” This was a young man pontificating. In fact, all the disciples at the altar of idleness that day were young men. That was the scary thing that sent the neurotransmitters in my brain into over activity. This was Saint Lucia’s next generation of leaders. This was the generation of ‘the cure for poverty is not money but education.’

“Mate run elections and he eh even offer people a drink.” Translation: I am interested in the bottle more than I am interested in your message. To run an election in Saint Lucia you must offer rum. My vote can be purchased with rum.

“Mate run elections and he eh even offer people a drink.” Now why would the boy want to try to insult me? What deficiency was he trying to satisfy by attempting to make himself look good by making me look bad? Was this lad not a product of our school system? Have we fed our children to the dogs? Where was his sense of identity? Who or what had robbed away at his self worth? Has our parenting failed us?

Going against the grain is difficult. When I enter the constituency on the campaign trail and the revelation has come that a politician is in the area, the default mode sets in and everyone [well mostly our men] is looking for a shot.

How do we elevate our people’s mindset to thinking development, as opposed to drunkenness? Speak to them the truth and do it consistently! If the politician comes around and buys you with rum and chicken and other handouts then he has all the right to rule over you. You become his property because you have been bought. He has every right to throw it in your face, that is his money that put him into office. If he spends a ton of money on his campaign do you not think that he will want to recoup it when he gets into office? Is it not simple logical that he/she will look out first for the people who pumped money into his/her campaign?

The free drinks really aren’t free fellow Saint Lucians. It is paid for by the corruption that we cannot prove but that we all know abounds within those five years of governmental reign. For the Independent Eye, I am Kensley Peter Charlemagne saying let the truth set you free.

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