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Yes: Colonialists had a conscience

By Denys Springer

Martin Luther King Jr. said: “I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centred men have torn down, other-centred men can build up,” and that is what I am trying to do in having a more developed Saint Lucia.

In the past few months, I have tried very hard to envisage what the prime minister of Saint Lucia meant when he said emphatically that: “Colonialism had a conscience”.

I have concluded that – in a sense – the government had a conscience: “privatization and re-colonization plans”.

Leaving behind the fruits of slavery and colonialism after independence on February 22, 1979, the British left us a hospital that catered for the health of the nation [rich or poor]. In the UK, the National Health Service still exist. In Saint Lucia, a new hospital, the Owen King Europen Union (OKEU) hospital was built. However, the prime minister and his Cabinet of ministers [ a failed experiment ] do not seem to have a conscience, attempting to prepare the OKEU for privatization.

Expressions of disappointment with the health care system in Saint Lucia, referring in particular to the island’s two major hospitals, is an understatement. And according to the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) – Saint Lucians’ can expect to reinstate public status to both hospitals and review any privatization plans.

“We shall ensure that the running of OKEU is not privatized and remains under the control and management of the government and people of Saint Lucia,” said political leader, Philip Pierre, last November.

In his New Year’s message Pierre affirmed: “I am looking forward to 2021 with optimism knowing that there are many battles to be fought and won. But today stands out more than previous years, as 2020 was a testament of our fortitude. We rose to challenges that confronted us. We adapted and we conquered with great Saint Lucian tenacity”.

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However, I am unable to say the same for our prime minister who does not seem to have a conscience and represents a discredited administration that stands accused.

At this juncture, Saint Lucia needs a new broom to sweep clean the poor representation that has been amidst since 2016 when this government, in opposition promised: “five to stay alive”. A false promise that now represents 95 percent of the population fighting to stay alive. Either from COVID-19, hunger and starvation, economic and/or healthcare deprivation.

I don’t act in anger as I once supported this government. I have compassion for the right government. But, once again, I quote King Jr. asserting: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy”.

With the need to restore the heart and soul of our country. Dignity and respect must return to the leadership of Saint Lucia. We must never give up or give in to dishonesty and lying representatives, regardless of which party we support.

Looking at the last days of a lame-duck prime minister and government who is prepared to do everything in their power, even to seemingly bankrupt the country, borrowing and spending like drunken sailors. And even in the caring and sharing of the Christmas season, were creative in canvassing with attempts at voter persuasion “cash and carry” that won’t be enough to keep them in power beyond the 2021 general elections.

This is not surprising. In the term of this government, they have and continue to squander the resources of the state. The pretense of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has come home to roost: Desert Star Holdings (DSH) CABOT, OJO Labs, CBI., etc.

The flamboyance of this government proves a conscience to “privatization and re-colonization plans” are squared alongside their policy and legislative agenda.

Moving forward, perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from the United Kingdom and its National Health Service (NHS) that escaped us at independence. Also, Taiwan is an example of a good and caring government with an impeccable health service that is in great demand and capable to serve the rich, middle class, or the poor.

The idea of putting our health service in the foreign hands of foreign-controlled is ludicrous. There will be gnashing of teeth and in an election year, the citizenry will vote with their conscience. Saint Lucians will be mindful of their treatment as cannon fodder for Family, Friends and Foreigners (FFF).

Adam Swift (2006) writes: “making sure that all citizens can read, write and are free from the kind of poverty that precludes political participation implies – a lot – about the distribution of education and money”; I hasten to include health, agriculture and a humane society.

The continual borrowing and plunging the country into more debt cannot continue. No amount of propaganda and lies can obliterate the truth from even the less educated in our midst, because they have common sense and eyes to see the poverty that is emanating day in day out.

The dishonesty and callous attitude to the poor and vulnerable in our society must come to an end; cognizant that the day of judgement will come and is certain to devour evildoers like a snake.



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