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Thursday, January 12, 2017


Perhaps, my views on National Laureate Week (NLW) might be considered elitist, traditional or even retrograde; it may even be considered as radical and ill-formed.  I don't mind. I simply want the event to reflect the “quintessence” of the Sir Arthur and Sir Derek.

Both honorable men are known to the world for their pursuit of academic excellence; Sir Arthur is known for his contribution to the growth of knowledge in Economics and Sir Derek for his contribution to the growth of literature.

Shouldn't therefore the celebration of NLW mirror the magnitude, character and quality of their contributions?

Perhaps, the “festival” terminology used may be what is referred to as a “terminological inexactitude”; but whatever it may be, we seem to have a demonstrated propensity to “festivalise” our events for commercial or political gain.

Let me be clear: I'm not against Festivals! They are part of our cultural and religious landscape and we celebrate many of them; but my view is, not every event should be converted or subsumed under the festival umbrella.  The NLW is one of them. I'm of the firm view that it should be differentiated from the rest as a distinguished event with a world-class “character” and an “academic” orientation and that reflects purity, beauty and the quintessence of the subject celebrants.  

Consequently -  and as a mark of respect for them - NLW should assume a high-end “university-type” orientation designed to involve and attract academics, students, lecturers, professors, teachers, writers etc with a view to simulate interest in the academic disciplines and the pursuit of academic excellence. In other words, it should serve as a platform to inspire academic excellence. Hence, the orientation to excellence should be central to it and should not be lowered to the “festival” level (as I perceive it) to the point where it may become at risk of degenerating into a “block O”.

I anticipate the countervailing view that “festivalising” NLW is an attempt to democratize it so as to make palatable to the general. Theoretically, the rationale for the view may be excellent. Perhaps, the democratization of the event may well present an opportunity to make the work of Walcott and Lewis universal. But the question is: is the festival the most appropriate starting point for the universal appreciation of the work of our Nobel Laureates?  Will the staging and production of Omeros in all quarters of St. Lucia develop an appreciation for Walcott? How do we present the largely academic work of Sir Arthur to the general? I can understand doing so through the school curriculum in the long term; but I have difficulty doing the same through a “festival”.

Another issue may well be lack of information on the festival nature of NLW. Perhaps, it may well be the way forward but that sufficient information has not been put out there for public consumption. Perhaps, the information will eventually leak and we will get to know the details.

Just in case you have not got my “flow”, let me iterate that I'm not preaching exclusion or exclusivity in any form. Ideally, I would love every St. Lucian to develop a substantive appreciation of the works of our Nobel Laureates. I'm simply saying that we should try and maintain a character and orientation to excellence for the celebration to the point where it assumes a “Lucian elitism” that would potentially attract a certain regional and international clientele to our shores. We have enough festivals to play with; let's elevate NLW above the festival level.

Additionally, if we want to "festivalise" NLW, then let's remove the Governal-general from it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


I have a question for the National Security Minister: Why does he seemingly reject the CARICOM Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) but embraces the Regional Security System (RSS) which both fall under his portfolio of National Security?

Will his “dichotomous position” undermine and compromise his local effectiveness and his regional credibility?

I will not endeavour to lecture the minister on any of the sub-regional/regional initiatives of which we are signatories; he is surely well-placed to appreciate the interface between IMPACS and RSS and indeed to reconcile them; otherwise, he might well resign as Minister for our National Security.

I am however perturbed by his confusion between two vastly distinctive initiatives and by his “equation” of the two. I believe he knows better; but instead chose to play a dangerous game with our national security.

A tangential issue arising out of ORC and IMPACS is perhaps an urgent need for the re-education and perhaps “re-engineering” of our police force. He might want to begin by doing research on the interface between morality and competence in the context of the operations of the force.

And because he embraces transparency to the extent that he does, I hope he will share his findings with us. I would particularly like the research to probe how it came to the point that IMPACS which was a consequence of ORC which involved only a handful of law men has been generalised to the entire force and can so significantly erode the morale, confidence and competence of the force. I can however understand that our ineptitude and excuses in dealing with ORC led to the Leahy nightmare. It is entirely our fault!

Part of the terms of reference for the research might also be to help redefine the concept of “resource” and to seek ways to reorient the officers accordingly.

I hope the findings of the research point out that “resource” is not necessarily all muscle and physical tools/equipment as the president of the Police Welfare Association and his sympathisers would suggest. Resource also includes elements of intellectual and strategic thinking and an “intelligence” network on the ground. Indeed, it is the latter that may be most effective in the apprehension of the criminals.

The tone and drift of a seemingly tired Police Association president - along with the sudden spike in crime - suggest that we need to get the Leahy Law off our backs urgently or find an alternative for the development our police resources before it’s too late.

. . . but how can we do so when the Minister entrusted with the mandate of National Security has not observed the basics in the equation.