I once prided myself in never experiencing physical pain even though I had suffered light, bearable emotional ones. Then seemingly out of nowhere a bout of shingles laid me down in withering pain. I learnt that the chicken pox virus embeds itself in one’s body and later erupts in shingles when conditions are right. From my experience with shingles I do not wish it on my worst enemy – seriously! I had never felt such excruciating pain. The attacks traumatized the nerve fibres from the left side of my head down past my left eye and ending near my left upper lip. Its frequent neuralgic episodes threatened to burst open my left eye and no matter how sound asleep I was, forced me up, and only cold water to my head was able to temper the neuralgic storm.
Afterwards I fingered the needless stress which I had put myself under as the trigger for the attack. My eyes were not focused on my God! I later found time to thank God and praise Him for the many blessings. There is, however, a growing awareness that physical pain often pales in the presence of emotional pain. I am not unique to such painful situations. Take the mounting violent crime situation on the island. How can any normal parent or citizen be happy with such senseless lawlessness and killings?
Saint Lucians are painfully aware that crime is no respecter of persons. Such awareness ought to persuade all patriotic national leaders that they should be on the same page, singing from the same hymn book, fighting crime. Instead, what do we have? The same old tried and a failed method that divides rather than unites people is threatening to raise again its ugly head. There simply is no room for partisan bickering or callous statements from people who have been entrusted to lead, especially in parliament, the highest law-making body in the land.
Those in authority cannot afford to be soft on crime. Where crime and lawlessness abide, investors will seek safer grounds. Yes, we must condemn crime but we must not be afraid to point an accusing finger at criminals and those who by their words encourage them or turn a blind eye. We must also condemn those whose only politics is to try to destabilize the country whilst creating a divisive atmosphere within which criminals function.
To prove its commitment to fighting crime the Allen Chastanet government must first fix the justice system and ensure the forensic laboratory is fully operational. Thankfully, it has clearly indicated such an intention. Curiously, when the prime minister agreed with the British government to allow Saint Lucia to house certain prison inmates from the BVI after recent hurricanes, there were negative rumblings. A precedent had been set some years ago so the grumbling soon dissipated.
If the Chastanet government has learned anything, it is that it must constantly remind the nation of its national manifesto objectives: 1. Affordable health care for every citizen; 2. A world class education; 3. A vibrant national economy that creates jobs; 4. A no-nonsense national security system where citizens feel safe, and 5. Honesty and integrity in public and private life.
As the island mourns the loss of another young life through senseless violence we need to pause, to pray and to reflect on what more can be done to stop the social decay. Threats and senseless ranting from failed politicians ought to be condemned in strong terms by the entire population.
The prime minister has repeatedly said that he needs at least three years to clean the mess he inherited. He intends to fix the broken public offices, the schools, and the police stations now in disrepair. He was elected for a five-year term to change the country. Why not give the man his five-year term to prove (or disprove) his worth?
To that end, the electorate must find the courage to cast aside partisan politics and search out the quality of leadership to help resolve crime in this country. I remain convinced that negative political propaganda and lies (I refuse to call blatant lies ‘fake news’) only aid crime and lawlessness. Perhaps the strong hands of the law that threatens to finally intervene in the St. Jude Hospital debacle is at the root of the fear that energizes recent political ranting. Some observers are calling for heads to roll in the matter of apparent wasteful expenditure at the St. Jude Hospital reconstruction. Prime Minister Chastanet would be ill-advised to take his eyes off his party’s manifesto promises, even as he proceeds to do something drastic about the
excesses at St. Jude Hospital in Vieux-Fort, IMPACS and Grynberg.
On the matter of guns and gun violence we need to discover the source of the rage and anger. Some of it has to do with the sale of illegal drugs and its consequences. Talk is cheap! What the people need and want are sincere, honest and fearless actions that help create employment and help the youth.
The days of hurrying to name a hospital, playing field or a school after a national icon are long past. A hospital cannot be opened without a suitable kitchen or cafeteria or laundry. We now know that foolish political tricks tend to have a short shelf life.
In ending I return to the emotional pain of losing a child in the prime of her (or his) life through violence when the world was waiting to welcome such a talent. It’s time to stop the illicit drug trade and its accompanying violence. The loss of so many young lives through violence is traumatic; it adds insult to the pain when one witnesses failed politicians and the misled doing their utmost to frustrate the investment climate which a new government is determined to create.
To those who love their country, such dastardly conduct and empty ranting by failed politicians is similar to a criminal crying to heaven for vengeance. The pain of witnessing such naked opportunism is almost as bad as that of a neuralgic attack from shingles or such other painful diseases. To witness such a political travesty is indeed a painful experience.