Letters & Opinion

Don’t count on ‘Hope’, it was just a motor boat!

Image of Carlton Ishmael
By Carlton Ishmael

I try my best to make sense of what I read and listen to these days, as it is becoming more difficult to determine fact from promises and believing all that you hear.

Some say what they want you to hear, some make promises that seem too good to be true.

On one hand, you hear party members boasting about their previous achievements and you are reminded of all the good that they have done for us, as well as all they still promise to do. On the other hand you hear from those opposite, all that was done wrong, or badly built — and in some cases, where there was wasted resources, or money.

If you listen to supporters from both sides, they give valid reasons why they support their choice party and candidate; and if you are objective and not biased, you may have a different conclusion to what you hear and see.

Take the subject of culture, you hear of all the plans to build new music studios, you hear about how many millions that have been invested in Carnival, yet the reality shows a different picture, as we still have only one performance venue to meet the needs of a population of about 182,000 people — and that one outlet is so heavily booked, you cannot easily get it on request.

The art form of Calypso has to depend on a yearly subsidy to stay alive, Dancers still have to clean a classroom after school to secure a rehearsal space, the Hotels have most of the entertainment done by their staff — and since the advent of COVID-19, the artistes have had no work of any kind.

Do you hear parents encouraging their children to do art as a survival subject? Do you hear of art scholarships being on offer? Do you find any talent that lives abroad wanting to reestablish at home? And yet, despite all that I have mentioned, you hear all that ‘is going to be done’ for the Arts.

You have a minister of culture, a board of directors, a cultural department, you hear talk about some orange economy, thousands of dollars given for all kinds of projects; and yet nothing is happening when it comes to Art and Culture.

You can use the same yardstick to assess agricultural growth and development: you hear about proposed markets, diversity, new crops, development, yet our food import bill is still growing. And as for the related produce such as livestock and fishing, you decide if we have made progress.

This is the time when what has not been done to date will be promised to be done tomorrow, this is the season when all that you hear are promises and you are shown, all kinds of renderings. The computer age can show you all kinds of futuristic plans. You are told there are a thousand new projects to come, all you need to do is ensure that you vote for the party that will deliver.

Mind you, in the past you may have heard of plenty of projects that should have been finished by now but are not there and you have to accept that there were hitches and varying reasons why they were not done, and to accept the promise that tomorrow is going to be greater, and what had not been done before will be added.

We are promised, as per usual, more and more jobs, more projects, more money to spend, more opportunity, more good times, but I say stop listening to promises and try to judge on track record because talk is cheap and does not always change the price of coffee. Do not get comfortable, do not assume, do not live on Hope; be Realistic, call a spade a spade and know the difference between Lies and Truth.

It is your (our) judgement as voters that will decide who reigns next, so your assessment is crucial and your vote is badly needed to be cast. This is the moment when you are most treasured, when you suddenly became important, so think wisely and be truthful to yourself. Do not allow persons to confuse or buy you, as it can lead to regret.

And this is also the only time we have every five years to transform our hopes into real action by voting for our future and with our tomorrow and next year in mind, without having to sing that old local proverb that says ‘Hope is a motor boat, Abraham ka mouter morne, bicycle san brakes!’

(And if you don’t understand what the above phrase means, you are either not a Saint Lucian voter, or just another one our culture has sadly left behind living on hopes and trying to climb hills by walking backwards…)

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