Dear Reader, please consider the following statement and the reaction, then decide for yourself whether or not we have finally reached the bottom of the proverbial cesspool or are on our way to the stars. The expressed concern came from someone we’ll call Jeannie, just for the hell of it. That’s not her real name. But then again, how many Fakebook names are the real McCoy? The statement: “Over the years I’ve seen Sandals make a number of announcements regarding their expansion in St. Lucia. Some years ago they announced plans to build over-water suites at the Grande. Of course, neither has happened. I recently read an article announcing a new property to be built next to Sandals Grande. What do you think?
Eljay: I have friends or know people who work in the hotel industry at the expense of raising their children. These people work six days a week, sometimes over the mandatory 40 hours a week and are paid no overtime.
Jeannie: I’ll agree with you there.
Sofat: This government needs to get its act together and start revitalizing the green gold they sit on and stop forming the fool. The tourism industry cannot and will not be able to sustain our failing economy. Most St. Lucians continue to eat crumbs from the table. Losing faith.
Wanitas: When we talk about farming and green gold we need to do something about praedial larceny or else there will be no agriculture industry to talk about.
Clement: Sofat, if you want to shift from service industries with rabid capitalist governance, then I think you chose the wrong party.
Paula: Didn’t have to be prophet to see this gut-stripping move taking place. Once again, no transparency, no accountability. Crabs in a barrel . . .
Painintheass: I note someone earlier referred to “a nation of bell boys.” How unoriginal. It was George Odlum who first talked about that fear, George who was nearly always anti-tourism as we know it. His emotive statements before and around the time of the boulevard explosion are on the record.
Jeannie: Some people seem stuck in that era, not realizing how far tourism has come since all that talk about bell boys.
Ludicrous: George “nearly always anti-tourism?” He was against dropping all eggs into the tourism basket. He was about not moving from the banana economic mono-cultural state into a tourism economic mono-cultural state.
Canar: Painintheass you are not truthful. George was not anti-tourism; he was anti the scraps the country got from tourism while the well-to-do got all the benefits.
Ludicrous: Canar, my other friend just loves to make assertions and brand them with the made-in-Germany tag. He speaks of the record. But what the record shows is that diversification was a necessary objective, wherein agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, services should all be elements of the new economic equation. These are recorded for posterity in numerous issues of George’s paper, the Crusader.
Painintheass: In the early 1970s Frances Michel, Josie, George and others made powerful statements on tourism, some close to racist. No surprise, Ludicrous, you ignored that part of my statement relating to “tourism as we know it.” Your reference to eggs-in-one-basket has its truth but the line you mention was meant as further discouragement of tourism involving hotels and non-nationals. Fakebook jottings by the uninformed cannot tell the full story of George’s positions on government policies, most of them deciduous. George’s notion of what tourism should look like are as silly today as they were when he uttered them from his SLAM platforms in the early 70s.
Newcomer: All of that aside, of what benefit to St. Lucia is another all-inclusive?
Painintheass: It will at least provide hundreds of jobs in the construction stages. More hundreds of jobs on completion. And millions of dollars in revenue to the government. It will allow St. Lucians to boast that “we” have another hotel, regardless of whether a few laws were ignored. Sound familiar?
Paula: We should all be a little anti-tourism. It’s subservient, regressive and cookie cutter. Why not revive the manufacturing industry? Food processing? Offshore banking? WTF do we need to see black people kissing white people’s rears all the effing tme?
Jeannie: I do not agree that tourism is subservient, regressive and cookie cutter. I could write a whole dissertation that counters this perspective but I’ll save us both the time. However, I do agree we need to pay more attention to developing other industries and diversifying the economy.
Paula: And I could do the same contrastingly!
Albertina: Oh, oh, deep-seated xenophobia surfacing again?
Paula: Why not pump more money into SEDU? Why not award more entrepreneurship? Where’s the bargaining power/leverage with an operator who owns four hotels on the island and another who owns half of Vieux Fort? Chastanet doesn’t have all the answers. How can any visionary endorse this subservient approach to optimizing a country’s resources? What do St. Lucians own? The forests?
Albert: Well, if the many able-bodied in Caricom sit and do nothing but criticize every damn thing, then all economies will collapse. Too many idle non-participants in Caricom, who know everything about everything!
Painintheass: Do you guys know how long successive governments, from Compton to Kenny, have talked the talk about diversification? Ever wondered why they’ve never walked the walk? Recently Kenny spoke of planting coffee along our mountainsides because, he said correctly, other lands were next to useless thanks mainly to banana production. We have never cared en masse about the consequences of our projects, only whether they will keep one party or the other in office. Think Hess, Pigeon Point, no-cut banana strikes, widespread air pollution by spraying poisons in the air. Consider the consequences on our rivers, marine life, the land itself, even on our birds. Think Paradis and its on-going consequences.
Pattie: The SLP’s Jadia JnP announced the new Sandals hotel just before the elections from a list of SLP “accomplishments.”
JA: I guess if the DSH project gets off the ground and is successful, Allen and the UWP will take the credit?
Ceela: Maybe it won’t be an SLP accomplishment although I am sure the UWP would claim it. However, the nonsense Painintheass suggested elsewhere, that Kenny spited Sandals, will prove just that if it turns out it was he and not Allen who approved the new Sandals deal before the elections.
AA: I’ve said it before and will again. If one hotelier has a monopoly on employment in the tourism market, how long before he uses his power to enslave locals?
Brownie: Frankly, I wish all of you who talk about our people being enslaved would come together and set up some industry, any industry, and hire as many black people as you wish. Let’s kick out the foreigners, as Mugabe did, and run everything like we run our mouths. Talk is cheap. Calling people nasty names is easy. The reality is we put the SLP in office but they didn’t keep their promise to make our country better. We have Allen Chastanet and six months after his election we are calling for change. Change to what? United we stand, divided we are falling. None of this is about the UWP; it’s about us. As we post nonsense, the Syrian, the Chinese and others come in, bond together to provide us with the goods and services we must have, while they buy up all the real estate. Meanwhile we’re talking the usual foolishness. Happy New Year to all!
Jeannie: So true! So true!