What’s in a name? Apparently a lot, according to Minister for Social Transformation, Local Government and Community Empowerment Honorable Harold Dalsan. In a statement he noted: “Please be advised that the correct spelling of name of the Minister for Social Transformation, Local Government and Community Empowerment is Honourable Harold Dalsan. The Minister has advised of this change and would like the same to be reflected on all communication.”
That’s right. It is spelt with an ‘a’ and not an ‘o’ as previously believed for the past fifty something odd years. Now I know what you’re thinking. How did this man, a minister no less, with close to forty years of teaching experience manage to misspell his name from birth? Let’s explore the possibilities.
Maybe he is a victim of the system; specifically the much maligned Registry of Civil Status where it’s much easier to draw blood from a stone than obtain an accurate birth certificate. Picture the scenario. The minister is trying to renew his passport for an oh so important trip to who knows where when he realizes that the birth scroll he has been using is no longer valid and so he needs a new one. He has one of his aides pop into the registry, because let’s face it he’s a minister. He can pull some strings. And within the week receives a brand new document only to find out much to his ire that his mother’s name is spelt wrong. Horrified, he immediately returns the offending document to the perpetrators. But little does he know his goodwill has run out and he is about to see what regular folk endure on a daily basis.
He needs his mother’s birth certificate. Cool. He gets it. But wait. Her last name is spelt wrong. Don’t panic. He just needs to find his grandmother’s birth certificate. But where? His family has no idea. But don’t give up yet. Use her birth date and search the registry. Except no one knows her actual birth date. Keep the faith. Search the church records, archives. Nothing. But why so glum, chum? He can use his grand-parents marriage certificate. Eureka! Certificate found. But wait. My name is Dalsan and not Dalson? OMG.
So you see? It’s totally plausible. I would rather believe this chain of events than this being a mere oversight. After all, with all the mudslinging and investigation of opponents with a fine tooth comb that goes on in St Lucian politics you would think that one would notice their name being misrepresented in such an egregious manner. In any case, what does it all mean? Who did Soufriere really vote for in the past couple of general elections? Can his candidacy be thrown out citing fraud? I feel like we don’t even know this man anymore.
And neither does his party or government. As of press time both websites still listed the old Harold as Soufriere’s MP. We did however contact the Minister on Friday and got his secretary who shrugged it off as “no big deal really? We pressed on: “So what really happened here – did he find a new birth certificate with this new spelling, whose error was it really?”
“Well actually we were going through some documents of his and we spotted the error in the spelling and we brought it to his attention,” the secretary said calmly.
We could only wonder whether Harold was too busy trying to dig up his opponent in the last general election’s real birth certificate instead of sorting out his own at the perennially chaotic Registry of Civil Status.