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Thursday, November 24, 2016


I was taken aback by the “type of activities arranged by the government if St. Lucia designed to celebrate Prince Harry’s visit to St. Lucia. I’m curious about the chemistry and rationale which guided the thought processes of our government. Hence, I feel compelled to ask: Why is a representative of the monarchy who is officially our Head of State treated so shabbily and without any hint befitting the Office of Her/His Majesty? Not only are the optics bad; they are atrocious and do not genuinely reflect us!

The argument may be that we live in a post-colonial era and that we may wish to shake the shackles of colonialism; but that is missing the point by light years! It all boils down to good manners and respect which seem to have reached crisis proportions in our country and sadly officially celebrated by our government.

We need to treat the office of her/his majesty with respect irrespective of our conceptions and the circumstances. To me, this is the ABC of diplomacy which should have informed all processes and stages of Prince Harry’s visit.

I remember previous visits by Queen Elizabeth, HRH Prince Phillip and Prince Charles were immersed in the grandeur and respect like school rallies befitting royalty.

So, I’m asking: why the “downgrade” for Prince Harry? Whether the visit was official in nature or not is beside the point. Whether it was just a two-day courtesy visit en route to a bigger event or not does not subtract from his royalty!

Wouldn’t it have been more relevant to have the prince (who is himself a youth and a role model) interface with the youth of St. Lucia and deliver a message of hope and inspiration to them at a time they need that sort of critical interactive experience? Or wouldn’t it have been more appropriate to culminate that experience with an underarm cricket match with them?

I was equally appalled by the SLP’s statement that the young Prince Harry was being subject to manipulation by being drawn into St. Lucia’s 2.6-billion-dollar environmental controversy!

Essentially there are two angles to the controversy: one angle is the perception that a member of royalty was thoughtlessly relenting to the whims and fancies of an unconscientious and reckless PM without the necessary due diligence.  Secondly, there’s the suggestion that the government “took for granted”, violated and abused diplomatic protocol at the highest level – the level of royalty. The optics don’t look good!

The prince visit will make history for all the wrong reasons. It was immersed in controversy from the moment it was announced when a hotel advertised as being owned and managed by the PM issued a press release indicating that it would roll out the red carpet for him. The sequence of events which followed is now well documented in the public domain. It resulted in the public abuse of a young journalist and the threat of legal action against the Television network he represented. It is sad that the Prince visit is ending in even more controversy.

If the government of St. Lucia had any respect for the prince, then they certainly would not drag him down to the political ghetto. He deserves better.

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