I wish to comment on an article by one Nicholas Joseph that featured in the STAR of Saturday 22 October 2016. I was taken aback by the words: ‘I think I know what Josie was attempting to say but he did not express it correctly.’ One does not say this even to children. Of course one is free to express a disagreement but to intimate that you know what someone has in his or her mind is beyond the pale. It is a little much to try and enter a person’s mind. But I guess people who create prophets, playing God, can do that and more.
Then there is the matter of a Honda car number PA1. I was a government minister when my South Korean Pony motorcar suffered a politically motivated fire; it was replaced with a Honda. That Honda car was the first on the island to carry the alphabet-series ‘A.’ The police introduced the letter ‘A’ and began numbering vehicles from one again, after the island had reached 9999 registered vehicles.
Before that new Honda, I saw that George Odlum was going to wreck the St Lucia Labour Party. I would have none of it. Odlum went berserk! It was he who ran to the Castries market steps to inform his ignoramuses, the few who still listened to him, that PA1 stood for “political ass number one.” Of course neither he nor his acolytes bothered to comment on PA2, PA3, PA4, and so on. The number of vehicles grew and the letter “A” climbed to 9999—the number of political asses on the island, by Odlum’s deduction.
Then there is the question of the words Joseph chooses to describe Odlum the English Literature master at St. Mary’s College who nodded off in class more than any teacher should. From those early days through Bristol University and the St. Lucia Arts Guild some of us saw Odlum as a literary giant. Our own limited knowledge of literature allowed us to interpret Odlum’s political phrases and actions as theatre. Nicholas Joseph called him “the peoples’ prophet.” Others may even choose to call him a god. It’s a free country after all. I wouldn’t be the least surprised if Joseph, and others who think like him, would some fine day form a dead prophets’ society here in sweet Saint Lucia, their sole aim being to erect a stone monument of George Odlum, placing it next to that of John Compton in Constitution Park. What a come down from the days of “Papa Jab!”
Odlum’s Crusader newspaper of the early 1970s would say to that come down: Eh bien, bon! Bal finis veulon en sac. Si tout George se George, the dead prophets society could then reserve a place for chief ministers and Prime Minister George Charles and John George Melvin Compton. When people ask why, members of the dead prophet’s society can reply: the stone with the big belly was the peoples’ prophet and he deserves his place for trying to create history, and for making blind apostles.
Perhaps another group representing fake and imaginary revolutionaries who knew little about a Rat Island meeting in the early 1970s would remind them that Saint Lucia and Dominica were to follow Grenada, but Saint Lucia’s cardboard soldier panicked. Come hell or high water that connection between Rat Island of 1971 and ‘Let the people protect their revolution (1979)’ will one day be told. These were not empty, thoughtless words as poor Louisy evidently thought. This island was meant to copy Grenada in its bloodless revo/coup. The lesson: A sheep in lion’s clothing is still a sheep, albeit a sheep that roars!