The year 2012 in Saint Lucia could be characterized as the year when both our “twoshes” (that’s Saint Lucian for butt cheeks if you may), were exposed to the world, letting them know that we were both poor, high on illiteracy and alcohol, with little (not limited) resources. Gone were the days when we could hide our dirty little secrets in closets and delay them being exposed for at least five years. We now had to answer to a higher world order, about our human rights record, our investment record, our visa records, press freedom and so on. That higher order was the internet and now the local media, the police, politicians and regular citizenry had to contend with Facebook, BB broadcast messages, twitter and the likes.
2012 was overrun with the bad news of crime with 44 homicides being recorded amidst a spate of shootings, cutlass hackings as well as a few incidents of kidnapping and suicides. Still we have to hand it to the police, who in 2012 along with their boss, the very affable Vernon Francois who seemed to have built a level of confidence in not only the force, but the public at large. This was something which has been missing here for decades under past RSLPF leaders. APC Francis Henry also helped in this regard and there has been an improvement in media communication under her watch. The police also proudly boasted of a number of solved cases in 2012, with an increase in drug interdiction as well.
In 2012 one of the most discussed topics in the media and on the streets was “Gay rights.” Advocates of same sex marriages were on the rise questioning the reason for buggery laws to still be on our law books. On the other hand, Christians and non-Christian opponents were quoting the Bible and Sodom and Ghomorra in protests. The Government still has not decided which cheek it will turn on the matter on what is often conveniently described as a Christian society.
In September of 2012 Saint Lucians waited with bated breath about the announcement from the PM about pending diplomatic ties with Taiwan. After wallowing in a winded speech about the pasts “sins” of Taiwan here under former Ambassador Tom Chou, Kenny went for Taiwan. That same night Saint Lucians received via social media the sad news that visas would now be required to travel to Canada.
As depressing as the year was with VAT, Crime, breakdown in morality and so on and so forth there were some moments when we raised our heads, laughed, applauded and jumped for joy in 2012. Although Saint Lucia failed to medal at the Olympic Games, Sammy led the Windies to ICC T20 victory, scoring the biggest homecoming in the process in October. That same month local beauty Consuelo Dupal won the Miss Caribbean Tourism pageant in St Kitts. Saint Lucia also won a host of Travel and Tourism awards in 2012 including world’s leading honeymoon destination and the island’s culinary team won big at the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Taste of the Caribbean Culinary Competition in Miami in June.The team won a total of eight medals and two awards, placing third in the overall competition.
In February of 2012, we were also graced by Royalty. To mark the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, their Royal Highnesses Prince and Princess Edward, Earl and Countess of Wessex visited Saint Lucia. Other celebrities who visited were the Braxton’s who filmed episodes of their reality show “The Braxton Family” here.
We would also like to raise a toast to rapper Kayo and inspirational singer Emrand Henry who graced international stages with their music in 2012 and also secured major recording deals. Hats off as well to TJ (groovy Soca Monarch), Superman (power soca monarch), Nintus (Calypso monarch), and Janelle Desir (Carnival queen).
As we wrapped up 2012 there were some trends we wished would just go away including that silly “Gangnam Style” dance. We also wished we would stop seeing iPads being used as cameras when we attend functions and blocking our view in the process as well as BB’s still going “ping” in public and cell phone music on buses. And fashion-wise, those animal print outfits should now be put to bed. And please those of you who started saying “lol” as a word can stop now. A cease order also goes out to those of and you who insist on re-broadcasting information that you have no-way of knowing to be true.
But we have to say that the most “trending” topics for us in 2012 would have to be “VAT” that pesky three letter word that had everyone running for cover as of October 1, 2012. Coming closely behind would be “gay” and I do not mean happy, with gays lesbians and trans-genders coming out of the closet to speak openly to the media about their rights last year even after a Saint Lucian won the Gay Caribbean pageant in 2012.
Meanwhile here are some STAR awards we would like to give out ourselves for the past calendar year:
Bright Star Awards
• Mongstar, for giving us a song to all smile about and sing along to. You know the one, “Saint Lucia we love” that your children and grandparents have all been singing along to.
• Jermile Daniel for being one of the most successful young entrepreneurs here still going strong with The Cell after 10 years and without a hint of cockiness about him.
• Nine-year-old Khayrce Moonie, for winning the Courts Regional Reading Championships.
• Darren Sammy Captain of the West Indies team for leading the team to victory at the ICC T20 and for silencing some of his critics.
• Youth Aflame: A faith based youth group unashamed of the belief in Jesus Christ and who continue to host events to raise funds for the less fortunate.
• Bright stars also shone on some wonderful gifts in 2012 including the embracing of diplomatic ties with Taiwan and although steeped in controversy at first, the one-time bursary of EC$500 to students who had passed the common entrance was also welcomed by many.
Courageous Star Awards
• To Karlyn Percil, a Saint Lucian living in Canada who has been a strong advocate for the advancement of young women here. In 2012 she shared her story of child abuse with the Oprah Winfrey Network which she thinks will be an inspiration to other women to speak out.
• Mary Francis: Amidst all the verbal abuse she continues to stand her ground and speak out and stand up for what she believes in—something many of us are still afraid to do. 2012 was no different as she demanded answers from the police about a number of police killings.
Shameless Star Awards
• Most confusing project timeline; the Saint Judes Hospital. First we were told that it would be a new medical facility in the south at a new location and it would be the envy of the entire OECS. Then we were told the old St Jude’s would be refurbished and completed by 2011. Then we were told a new structure at the old location would be done by the end of 2012. It is now 2013. In the real world can anyone tell me what would happen to the project manager?
• The speech by Prime Minister Kenny Anthony that Saint Lucia would stay with Taiwan. To regurgitate the lines by the PM which rehashed his perceived ills of the former Taiwanese Ambassador, the “good” of China and the school-master admonishments to the new Ambassador would take up too much space. But the speech which we believe was in poor taste is there for the whole world to digest on the internet. You be the judge.
• The lies that after VAT some prices would go up and some would go down whilst some would remain the same. I am yet to receive the list of things that went down. And what of the Airport Development Tax that the Prime Minister told us would be gone since May 2012?
• The awarding of EC$2 Million to bus drivers (a private investment) by the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance to allow them to forgo an increase for a few months? This, after citizens continue to complain about the poor service they provide.
• The news that Saint Lucians were rated number five in the world when it comes to alcohol consumption. Sure we knew all along that Saint Lucians were heavy boozers but the hard facts made some of us shudder, especially the fact that a high percentage of our youth were captured in those figures. Still some shamelessly posted online their disappointment that we were number five and not number one.
Confused Star Awards
• A monument in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the Morn Sion Tragedy? Really? If we had to erect monuments for every tragedy could you imagine what this place would look like? How about this, monuments to our heroes to inspire our youth.
• A Ministry Called Creative Industries? This even before that Ministry knows exactly what it will be doing?
And here are some Jobs we were still confused about in 2012; the PS in the Ministry of Creative Industries, Vaughan Lewis as Special Advisor in the Ministry of External
Affairs, Ambassador June Soomer as Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Saint Lucia for CARICOM (what does that even mean) and Christopher Hunte as Consultant in the Creative Industries.
And on that note we wish you all a Bright, Prosperous and less confusing 2013!