Letters & Opinion

We need to redefine who we are, or too late shall be our cry!

Image of Carlton Ishmael
By Carlton Ishmael

I often wonder what we consider to be development and why those in charge can’t see beyond their noses.

I recently took my daughter to a popular kiddies’ play park up North and realized that while it was filled with all kinds of happy children from all walks of life, the conditions and play services were definitely outdated and falling apart. But it’s a private enterprise and who can blame the owners when the state has not found it worthwhile to build or do anything for our kids.

I hear of all the progress that is made in the Performing Arts, especially in music. But there are still no outlets to perform outside the forty-years-old National Cultural Center. Yet you hear the minister of culture talking about an orange economy: that is the new frontier or direction for the Art’s.

Over two hundred restaurants and hotels here, but you can hardly find live entertainment at any one of them, not even at the tourist port’s entry. Media houses by dozens these days, but no policy to ensure that the bulk of the music is home grown so that more local musicians can obtain royalties.

Up to now we have no national galleries for either craftsman or artisans to feature their works. It is like these small things don’t matter and development is only about big projects, while we create little or no opportunity for the young that is sustainable.

Who is fooling who? Don’t the small man not count? How can we profit from our creative talents, if the state does nothing to assist or create policies that will protect, or advance our course?

I am wondering when will we see that we are stifling growth rather than building. Is art all about rum fetes? Is everything about food and drink? Is entertainment about horseback riding, this Day and that Day? Is tourism about buying from the rest of the world and reselling it? Do we ever consider doing things ourselves? Should our carnival be about buying ready-made costumes from abroad and call it ‘our’ festival? Are we too blind to see how false we have become?

If that is the thinking, I say good luck to the new orange economy.

Education comes in several forms and there is a lot that can be done, or needs to be done, to give the non-academic people a chance at meaningful survival. We cannot all be venders, always buying to resell. We need to make, create, see our people dress in our local designed clothing. We must become real St. Lucians by supporting our own. We can never build a Nation by supporting all that is foreign. We need our own identity.

 We need to redefine who we are. We need to invest in us, believe in us and do things for us, as following the existing trend will land us in more hot water — and all we will say in the future is that we didn’t know that we were going the wrong way.

But unless we make hay while the sun shines, too late shall be our cry!

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