All week long the main topic has centered on two non-issues: a scheduled Labour Party meeting that promised to deliver answers to the nation’s more pressing questions, and whether Alva Baptiste verbally assaulted Andre Paul’s sidekick Charlie when the foreign minister suggested the last-mentioned was a gossip with idle hands and for whom a STEP job should be found. The ever-bombastic Baptiste had earlier said something equally vacuous about Allen Chastanet’s chances of replacing Kenny Anthony any time soon, and promised along the way that this would happen only over his “dead body”—which of course was more pepper for the pot.
Matters grew even more heated when the undead Saint Lucia Media Association issued a very-late-in-the-day condemnation of what it described in a press release as Baptiste’s “attack” on the press. Yes, yes, still much ado about nothing.
This newspaper has always been less concerned about the digressive tactics of over-rated politicians, and the depths to which they will stoop in their own interests, than with what they seem to consider good governance.
These days my own journalistic concern is about how the government proposes to assuage the folks who for several years have financed special police operations here; what’s really going on with Grynberg—and how much we are beginning to resemble the countries that invented ALBA, inter alia.
I couldn’t have disagreed more with the host of Newsspin when provocatively he suggested this week, in answer to my indictment against our out-to-lunch local media, that the government was to blame. Indeed, he even suggested we should trust our politicians always to work in our best interests. Yes, really!
Mr. Poleon also reminded me that it had been years since the prime minister and his copycat ministers convened a press conference. His meaning was clear: no press conferences added up to nothing important to write about or to discuss in the public interest.
My own expressed view was that press conferences were over-rated, that theyhad never been as they seemed. Certainly they did not offer half the opportunities to talented journalists as do public meetings on a platter.
In any event government press conferences are tightly controlled by over-suspicious press secretaries that decide which journalists they will safely entertain and which they will avoid at all cost.
I believe my point was further proved on Thursday evening, when it seemed nuggets fell like manna from heaven out of the well-oiled mouths of the main speakers—all of which the media ignored the following day.
To be fair, even though the host of Straight-Up had somehow managed to have a jolly ole time at the expense of the Media Association, the murder of another teen in the family home justifiably dominated the news.
Hopefully, come Monday, we’ll hear from the press what it made of the public meeting that was supposed to deal with the more challenging issues of the day—and which the opposition UWP had described in advance as an insult to the nation’s intelligence, for reasons that made no sense whatsoever.
Come next week, this paper will, for its own part, consider what the prime minister could possibly have meant when he said the story of Plywood City “remains to be told,” and that in his retirement he plans to fill in the blanks.
What blanks? What does Kenny Anthony know about that regrettable 1979 episode starring Allan Louisy’s Labour Party that has not already been told in horrific detail—whether by Willie James, Guy Ellis or your ever so humble scribe? True, he was a participant. But to the best of my recollection, only from the sidelines.
The chief cook and bottle-washer is no longer around but was at time of undisputed writing and for a long time after I had produced detailed accounts of the historic regrettable incident, first for the STAR and then in book form.
We will also consider the prime minister’s clever ruse of talking as if Venezuela and ALBA were one and the same, when in fact Venezuela’s relationship with Saint Lucia dates back to the early 70s. Of course, Venezuela under Caldera was a totally different Venezuela from that under Hugo Chavez. It is impossible to imagine John Compton erecting a statue in honor of Chavez anywhere in Saint Lucia. Oh, but I know who just might!
Also to be considered in the weeks ahead, Kenny Anthony’s recollection of how Saint Lucia and Cuba first embraced. I am especially eager to revisit the particular topic, with all its Gadaffi connections.
And then there’s the elephant in the room around which both the SLP and the UWP have chosen to dance, as a distraction from the inconvenient truth. Suffice it to say, there is much more to the police matter than the prime minister has said—or that he can possibly say in his peculiar circumstances. Ditto the Chastanet circus. Which in itself is a puzzle that needs urgent unraveling, especially when it seems we need more than ever a unified police force, not one altogether demoralized, depressedand under public scrutiny.
And speaking of the police, their sorry situation could well turn out to be the great unifier. After all, how else to resolve their human rights problem if not by a meeting of political heads. More about that in due course!