Letters & Opinion

We must begin to believe in ourselves!

Image of Carlton Ishmael
By Carlton Ishmael

All over the Caribbean — and to a certain extent the rest of the world — it is usually sportsmen and women, or entertainment personalities, intellectuals, persons who are seen as or known to be celebrities, people of merit or worth mentioning or acknowledged, who are appointed as representatives of a country.

In St Lucia, it was all about our noble Nobel Sons and a few artists who became our iconic nationals, but today all that seems to have changed in favor of politicians and a few media personalities who crown themselves as being the most important persons to represent our interest.

They do not create or build institutions, or grow others. It is like history is all about them, labeling themselves to be the best ‘development thinkers’, some have acquired lots of wealth, others have ‘the best brains’, ‘the best publishers’, ‘the best talk show host’, etc. Life is about them. They have become larger than life and we should therefore adore and look up to them for inspiration and direction.

Wow! What egos!

I wonder how much they will be remembered after death… Some persons and names remain forever in our lives and minds, even in our hearts, for what they did. The fact is, it is not what one does for oneself while living that matters, but what one did for others.

Few political leaders are remembered as iconic, despite the wealth acquired by some. But not even that matters any more. It is when the world can identify meaningful nationals: that is what will bring the real Glory.

So, I think it is time we have a vision for us to share with the others today and tomorrow. I propose that we: Build for the Nation, Build for Memory, Build for Prosperity and Build for Respect. If those are the bases on which we can judge and be judged for our contributions, then we can consider that these pioneers were truly men or women of merit.

This country needs opportunities for its nationals. We should not have to go overseas to gain recognition. We should not have to be schooled elsewhere to become great. We can build the training grounds and the schools of learning right here. We can assist students at home and not burden them or their parents with major loans to study abroad.

We have to change the way we do things — think about internal progress, earn a fair daily bread and butter — and become satisfied to be at home.

What we need most is to boost our self-confidence and give ourselves the necessary help and support that we surly require – and most of all, begin to believe in ourselves and stop the reliance on foreigners or other countries of people to build our country for us.

There is a lot that we can do for ourselves, but first we have to show respect of those among us who can truly make a change.

We have to Give Jack His Jacket, stop putting square pegs in round holes – and appoint based on merit, not on if he or she is ‘one of us’.

We have to put politics aside and deal with our new reality. If not, the same will continue and the change we talk about will remain a figment of our imagination.

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