The other day, while researching an unrelated topic, I came across the following: “We tend to think of forgiveness as an act of kindness that we choose to give to some people who seem to deserve it, yet we withhold this gift from others who seem unforgiving and unrepentant. This gives us a significant sense of power.”
The above reminded me that forgiveness does far more for the giver than for the receiver. But then I also got to thinking: what if the forgiver is himself so drunk on power that he truly considers himself infallible and beyond reproach, therefore in no need of forgiveness?
Might this be the type of megalomania that motivates politicians to dish out posthumous awards in the name of former worst enemies that apparently acquired particular attributes only when they were dead and buried?
Consider the latest recipient of the Saint Lucia Cross. I can find no evidence he ever held the current prime minister in low regard. True, he had been highly critical of some of his policies. Yes, he had warned the prime minister his government was in danger of accomplishing in three years what it had taken the United Workers Party 40 years to do: wall-to-wall alienation of the people, the church and other institutions. But nothing that might be considered derogatory or untrue.
In consequence, the prime minister had declared George Odlum unfit to be a member of his Cabinet; a lousy parliamentary representative; a traitor to the cause of the Labour Party; a petty Rolex watch thief who had decided
to keep for himself several gifts to the nation. The final crown of thorns was placed on George Odlum’s absent head on the steps of the Castries market, when the prime minister declared him “the Great Satan.”
It had taken the soi-disant “last of the Mohicans” Ralph Gonsalves (Tim Hector and Odlum having drawn their last breaths) to persuade his Looshan counterpart to visit his moribund former mentor, former party and Cabinet colleague and friend.
Indeed it remains conjectural where was Odlum’s spirit by the time the reluctant visitor arrived from New York, according to a most reliable source, “to shed tears on George’s big belly.”
Days earlier, at his Marigot residence, George had confirmed my suspicion that the prime minister had been too preoccupied to visit him, not at Valhalla and not at Tapion Hospital, perchance to make their peace. In hope of comforting him, I told George I felt certain the prime minister would make time to see him. George’s head moved slowly, right to left. He smiled the saddest smile. “No he won’t,” he almost whispered. “He won’t.”
Ten years later George Odlum has, almost surreptitiously, been awarded the Saint Lucia Cross, an irony deserving of its own award. By all I had learned from my religious knowledge teachers, the one thing Satan dare not confront is a crucifix. But then, who knows about the crucifix known as the Saint Lucia Cross?
In all events, it was hardly a secret that the several offspring of Kenneth Foster QC and their broods had been led to believe the government would mark the nation’s 35th year of Independence with Foster QC receiving the
cross. Instead, he got double-crossed.
The muted word is that the committee that normally determines who among us are worthy of special recognition, having submitted Ken Foster’s name, was at the last minute over-ruled without explanation.
Which is not to say, the long-departed most recent recipient of the Saint Lucia Cross was unworthy. But what a surprise. Few Saint Lucians could have anticipated the current prime minister would posthumously honor George for his “sterling contributions to national development”—the same sterling contributions that had earned him his satanic status when all he wanted to achieve was national unity.
Just perchance some might question what Kenneth Foster QC had done to deserve the highest honor our country can bestow on a citizen, I promise some answers in a future Wayne’s Whirl.
Suffice it to say that but for Ken’s generosity, humility and love for country there might never have been a Saint Lucia Labour Party worthy of the numinous Kenny Anthony—let alone a Sir Julian!
Or the current House Speaker, lest we forget!