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Shake off the dust: Unite for progress – Part 2

By Dr Thecla Fitz Lewis

Part two of the feature address delivered at the Babonneau constituency assembly (Saint Lucia) last month, accentuates the challenge for a better community and country.

I take this opportunity to challenge you, everyone in this room or at the sound of my voice to dare to dream of a better you; and when you do so you will dream of a better community and a better country.

It cannot be for self, I, Me. It must be us.

  • Dare to manifest the constituency group that offers equal access and opportunities for women and men, old and young, experienced and inexperienced;
  • You must dare to be constituents that support one another, dare to be men that support women and women that support men;
  • Dare to be older folks that support the youth and youth that support older folks because we all make up the fabric of the society;
  • Dare to uphold unity amongst your constituents in the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) because the opposing side is watching you, how you treat each other, the things you say about each other;
  • They will be happy to push you in the well. Mwen mem ha la pu 3 lanay, mesi bondier mwen sav manier pur soukway lapusier a.

“Challenges inspire me to achieve my goals and achieve greatness. Challenges are also an opportunity for people to communicate and be inspired so that they can set their goals and go for it. We can all challenge beyond expectation, pushing the boundaries of what is possible and achieving more than we think we can do or what others think we can do.” We must believe, yes, we can.

Can we share off the dust and unite for progress? Yes, we can.

There is no way you can make an impact in your constituency if you are not united.  Unity is strength. Don’t see each other as a competitor. See each other as a complement to each other. During my educational pursuit, my husband Andre Lewis, never saw me as a competitor because he does not have degrees. He gave me great support.

He saw me and my studies as an added incentive to his business, our relationship, our shared vision, our goals and aspirations, because we complement each other. That’s how we must see ourselves with our spouse, our community groups, our fellow constituents. See how you could encourage each other to shake out the dust. We must be ready to work with each other, because it’s the only remedy for progress.

I am always mesmerized by middle easterns and how they collaborate with other in business. You go to member of parliament for a door, he does not have the specks, he calls Fleva. Using the mantra that the late great brother George Odlum loved so much “ United we stand, divided we fall, “  if we just ponder on these words we should make progress as a community.

Unity does not come about with a positive mindset, a positive attitude, a willingness to identify with T E A M, Together each other more.  We need men to work with women; if we not running an old boys club. We need women to work with the men, because its not a woman’s power or women taking over club. We need the older ones amongst us to work with the youth. Don’t tell them toe the line, they just come.

They too must have a voice because they are the future of tomorrow. If they show signs of making an impact, coach them, mentor them. We don’t need to tell the older folks why those geriatrics not resting themselves. The geriatrics have a lot to share with us, they have lessons to teach. That’s why we need both perspectives of young and old.  Those with experience should be willing to guide those without.


You can only garner experience when you are faced with the challenge. People cannot teach experience. You cannot pursue experience in any higher learning program. Experience is practical contact with and observation of facts or events.

Some persons are opined that, because they have been doing something for a long time, they have experience. I was part of a panel that conducted interviews for the post of general manager of the Roseau Credit Cooperative union in Dominica. In asking an open ended question to one of the interviewees who was the acting assistant manager and had worked with the credit union for 33 years, wanting to know what skills and knowledge he had acquired in the past five years that equipped him for the suitable candidate.

He replied that working at the credit union for 33 years is testament of his ability to lead the team. In continued dialogue, we recognized that he only had one-year experience practicing for 33 years. Actually, he was one who grudged any newcomer who moved through the ranks, obtained higher learning, and / or built a house. He was practically a dead log. He complained when the sun was out too long, then if the rain fell, he complained again.

We have those in lots of organizations, There for the name. Not willing to empower themselves, learn new skills, collaborate with others. All they do is throw dirt on others, not realizing that when they do so, you shake it off and step-up. If we do not unite, we will not progress, and continue to say like me and many others mwen pe, especially when I see the direction my country is taking.

United we stand, divided we fall

As you seek new ways to develop the Babonneau community, persons who put themselves up for office [today], remember that you will only make progress if you unite. Let your quest for unity be positive, real, objective, gregarious, rampant, expressive, selfless and stately.

In concluding, let’s remember that life is going to shovel dirt on you, but the trick to getting out of the whatever well you are faced with, individually or as a constituency group, especially those seeking to give themselves up for service, remember that you have to be ready to shake it off and take a step up each time dirt is shoveled on you.  

There is no guarantee that the dirt will stop being shoveled on you, but it is your responsibility to ensure that every time you shake it off and step up. One of life’s lessons you must acknowledge is that every adversity can be turned into a stepping- stone. The way to get out of the deepest well is by never giving up but by shaking yourself off and taking a step up. When you do, your adversaries will have no choice but be embarrassed.

That’s why it is paramount that we unite for progress. Forward ever, backward never.

Related: Shake off the dust: Unite for progress – Part 1




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