What has come to the fore in relation to the DSH project in Vieux Fort is that this country is embroiled in a crisis of patriotism. What is alarming is that Saint Lucians are unaware of, or oblivious to, this crisis. There is an aetiological nexus between the ubiquitous dysfunctionalities in our society and the waning of patriotism in all of its aspects. Hence in the stygian environment of our dubious and vaunted enlightenment we, with an enraged futility, seek solutions to the societal dysfunctionalities that have surrounded and engulfed us. For example law and order; adult and juvenile delinquency; public service unproductivity, public and private service venality; education lapse; environmental vulnerability, social insalubriousness and so forth. All of these, for their containment or eradication, must be predicated upon a template of love of country. That is, patriotism.
In the plethora of discussions in which we have been involved and pronouncements with which we have been bombarded in relation to the DSH project, the word that has been conspicuous by its absence is patriotism. This is symptomatic of the malaise that pervades this society, with its system members bemused by its seeming perenniality. And it is as a result of this characterological deficit that we as a people are presently reaping the whirlwind. There are reapers and there are the reaped: there are the exploiters and the exploited. Both on their levels manifest the lacuna in their individual and collective psyche. The common denominator is the absence of patriotism.
DSH is a syndrome that emanates from this debilitating and deleterious absence and exposes in its putrid nudity our materialism, individualism, venality and hypocrisy. DSH is a timely revelation that is now forcing us as a people to grotesquely confront this existential question: What happens when patriotism dies? Patriotism is not an abstraction; it is a reality – a sublime reality. And so the other question that comes to mind is this: Are we losing Saint Lucia and in the process losing ourselves? It is indeed paradoxical that the Independence mantra for 2017 is “I am Saint Lucia”. In the face of this self-lacerating experiment and experience in Vieux Fort, this mantra is anathema and incongruous to what DSH stands for; and is the rape of our independence and the obliteration of our individual, collective and national Identity. And so the question to be asked of all Saint Lucians is this: Do you have eyes that see? Why do you think that Saint Lucia was targeted by DSH? Don’t you think those people had done their due diligence on a multiplicity of levels, including our characterological profile and national cohesiveness? What they saw was a people virtually devoid of patriotism that was further exacerbated by a distressing level of illiteracy and its concomitance.They saw ubiquitous greed, debilitating venality, inspissated arrogance, a lackadaisical mien and carriage, and a perverse poverty of spirit. They saw a country ripe for conquest: people to be colonised with the connivance of the people; and the majority of whom, in their alarming cognitive innocence, were oblivious to the calculating machinations of DSH and its agents at home and abroad.
Saint Lucia needs to be saved. You, very innocently, may ask: from what? The answer, simply but not simplistically, is: saved from itself. Saint Lucia needs to save Saint Lucia; and you are Saint Lucia. Can the distinct and spirited minority, where a residual modicum of patriotism reposes, save the day?
The five-year old boy sitting on his plastic bench at nursery school needs to be saved. This is where the saving process has to begin. It is there that patriotism begins. And so its absence at this stage is the genesis of the societal problems with which we have been afflicted throughout the many stages and phases of our lives, up to DSH.
When we consider our many societal ills, in their diverse forms, patriotism must be the universal template for their resolution. Without it the Hobbean (1588-1679) drama-tragedy begins to unfold as life becomes nasty, brutish and short. Just look around you!