Submitted by Mahogany Coconut Think Tank and Watchdog Group
We usually try to avoid commenting on the empty statements of the current breed of politicians entrusted with the development of the Caribbean. However, as a responsible watchdog group, we are totally dumbstruck by recent statements of the Barbados Minister of Tourism, Mr. Richard Sealy, who claims that the St. Lucia tourism product is lagging that of Barbados by some thirty years. We are equally supportive of the stance taken by the St. Lucia Minister of Tourism; Mr. Lorne Theophilius that he will not engage in any spat with his Barbadian counterpart but prefers to look at the industry from a regional perspective. This is in keeping with our view of regional economic development.
Minister Sealy must understand that if St Lucia is making great gains, in the industry, it is a reward to their tourism planners, and the people of St Lucia. It is also a significant gain for the Caribbean economies, that we have another player in the global leisure industry.
Insular thinking and ungracious dialogue are not attributes that will build the great Caribbean nation we need to survive in the real world. It is equally depressing that Sealy, who is a prominent member of a party that was one of the regional architects of what is now called CARICOM, would want to engage in such senseless nitpicking. It is unfortunate, that some government ministers in Barbados are resorting to inflammatory statements in defending their administration. Most recently, we heard the current Minister of Education, Mr. Ronald Jones, mouthing off about the need for police to shoot people and crack heads in the event that the populace rises up against the administration. We remind Mr. Jones that his ministry deserves more rational and intelligent speeches when he finds himself before microphones. It was not his finest moment.
At present we are witnessing the people of Trinidad and Tobago protesting against their government and we have not heard about police shooting and cracking heads. We are aware that bad economies mostly affect those at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder. The masses of the Caribbean do not have overseas bank accounts and investments to turn to when our economies go into prolonged periods of non-growth, commonly called a recession. We are aware that Barbadians by their nature are not radical and only take to the streets when they really cannot take the pressure any more. We saw that some years ago, when they took to the streets to protest the economic policies of former Prime Minister, Sir Lloyd (Sandiford). There is a big difference between an insurrection and a protest. We don’t recall any violence being unleashed on the people for marching and to use such language now, is to say the very least, an act of unparalleled stupidity.
We therefore urge our politicians to desist from nitpicking, and to concentrate on turning around these Caribbean economies, so that the next generation would have a better wicket to bat on. If that is not their purpose and vision, we urge them to do the proper thing and quietly retire from public life.