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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

INDEPENDENCE DAY MESSAGE: ST. LUCIA AT THE CROSSWORDS

Today, we celebrate our 32nd Independence Anniversary - not with the traditional fanfare, national pride and euphoria – but under a dark cloud of fear, crime, corruption, bad governance and hopelessness.

St. Lucia is fast approaching the “midnight hour” which will usher in a "new world' fraught with danger and despair. Anecdotally, we are fast becoming one of the poorest countries in this hemisphere; we are also being threatened with health care problems of enormous proportions: firstly, we have recording-breaking levels in diabetes; secondly, we have a high incidence of HIV-AIDS. To add to our woes, PAHO has reported record-breaking levels for hypertension (high blood pressure) in “our sweet St. Lucia”. At the rate we are going, it beginning to look like - sooner or later - we will have to declare a national health plague, a state of health emergency.

Regardless of our impending doom, government has callously abandoned Universal Health Care when the masses need it most and they cannot afford it. 

Over the weekend, a team of us from the Powerhouse visited a young woman on her deathbed literally dying from diabetes. It was heart-wrenching, to say the least! How many such cases we afford? I have reason to believe that a lot more persons may be condemned to death because of the plague of poverty; and if government does not act with haste and urgency, a lot more people will suffer the same fate.

Side by side with poverty, we have the plague of HIV-AIDS. In fact poverty may be directly contributing to HIV-AIDS, because young females without the means of livelihood may be lured into prostitution as a means of survival. They can unsuspectingly become victims of the dreaded disease in the pursuit of a livelihood. 

If our young men are lured in drugs and crime; and our young girls are lured into prostitution, then what type of nation are we building? We should use our 32nd Independence to do some serious introspection on our way forward. Is that the St. Lucia we want for our children and grandchildren?
It’s no wonder hypertension has struck us with the force of an earthquake! With our country now being rocked by crime with no end in sight, what recourse do we as citizens have? Yes! We can run but can we hide from the gunmen? With that overwhelming stress created by crime, poverty and health care, what do we do? Where do we turn to?

On our 32nd independence anniversary, we are greeted with 17 homicides in 53 days – one homicide every 3 days! At this point in time, it may well represent the highest homicide rate in the Caribbean.

In the midst of all the crime, health care and poverty problems, agriculture – the only hope for poor rural people – has been wiped out and the farmers are facing immense challenges. Rather than investing in agriculture and sustainable youth employment projects, the politicians are encouraging the youth to cut grass along the roadside and to work in “ti canal” projects, as if they are still living in the days of slavery. Tourism – our main hope - does not look good: my friends, we are a nation in trouble.
I urge you to use our 32nd Independence Anniversary as a platform for reflection. Let us reflect deeply on what we as a people do to rescue our nation from the large “black hole” of fear, crime, corruption, bad governance and despair which threatens to devour us as a people.

Let us act before it’s too late!

1 comment:

  1. Tucker was in Balca on Sunday (February 20)bluffing the young people. He was accompanied by Pastor Wally. I want to Powerhouse to investigate immediately. Pastor Wally is a hired gun for Tucker. He also went by our Star Girls on Saturday offering them milk and honey. But we are monitoring him. Check your email for more details on who and where he went to.

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