COMMENTARY: Time for national unity in St. Lucia

By Melanius Alphonse

melOver the years I have been accused of being too critical of the government of the day in Saint Lucia, without offering a new direction. 

In this regard I would respond that this is a false assertion. However, while I have been critical, it is within my civic obligation; I have had every and within reason to be and, further, I have been an equal opportunity critic, without regard to whether the administration was the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) or the United Workers Party (UWP).

Everyone knows the serious problems that the country faces and it serves no purpose to rehash them at this time in terms of ongoing recriminations. What we need are effective and practical solutions, some of which are included in my numerous writings with a sense of objectivity.

This to my mind can only be achieved without recourse to party politics, whether SLP, UWP, Lucian People’s Movement (LPM), National Development Movement (NDM) or the Green Party. What is needed is national unity, not blind political agendas and ideology.

As noted, we all know what the major issues are, including the IMPACS report, citizen security, the need for sustainable and appropriate foreign direct investment, preservation of the environment and addressing the dysfunctional administration of justice.

Possibly the most intractable of these is how to resolve the fallout from Operation Restore Confidence in 2010/11, notably the Leahy Law sanctions, and the current administration is now the third that has been faced with finding a solution.

The ability to act is equally challenging; however, cooperation and partnership can address this obvious albatross around the neck of all Saint Lucians.

Based upon my own discussions with those that are in a position to be able to help in this regard, there is a way out but, in my view, this will take genuine national cooperation separated from political agendas and party or personal self-interest.

Saint Lucia must move from a position of being ignored, if we are to attain peace and prosperity. Since my withdrawal from the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) in March of 2015, I have been engaged regionally and internationally in socio-economic, security and governance issues.

I therefore encourage all Saint Lucian patriots to stand with me and eschew the party politics of the past and work to move forward as a country, not as separate interest groups of whatever kind. 

In times of crisis, business, government and we the people must seek to fortify the future with resources on a higher level than previously.

There are opportunities to be grasped. For example, we have seen that Grenada seems to be determined to shoot itself in the foot when it comes to attracting and retaining foreign investment. Let us demonstrate to the world that Saint Lucia, on the other hand, is open for business, by creating a secure and welcoming environment in which it can flourish.

This we can accomplish, but let us all consider the specifics of what must be done to achieve prosperity, beginning with a reset agenda on socio-economic, security, governance, trade and international relations, on a bilateral and multilateral level.

This choice is one that must be made with sharp focus on the greater good of people from all walks of life. 

“So mote it be,” in the cornerstone of our sovereignty.    

Melanius Alphonse is a management and development consultant, a long-standing senior correspondent and a contributing columnist to Caribbean News Now. His areas of focus include political, economic and global security developments, and on the latest news and opinion. His philanthropic interests include advocating for community development, social justice, economic freedom and equality. He contributes to special programming on Radio Free Iyanola, RFI 102.1FM and NewsNow Global analysis. He can be reached at [email protected]

 

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6 comments

  1. It is easy for one to sit comfortably in Toronto and seemingly out of touch with true St. Lucians and the realities of our nation, and it might be unwise to expect those that read your paid column to expect that you woke up one morning and had an awakening about the notion of our nation's unity given both our challenges and specifically, our problematic fiscal situation and the looming OECS banking sector-related monetary storm clouds.

    Some pundits who have the benefit of a paid public forum are known for having integrity and a core set of values and beliefs that they stick though. A set of values and beliefs that stand by and espouse, through both thick and thin, when popular and when not popular. With unshakable commitment and integrity, one knows what they stand for, like it or not as the case may be.

    Others are not.

    Then, there are other both existing and former politicians who, rightly or wrongly, have a reputation of being blatantly opportunistic, of being selfish, and of going with whatever the popular and trending political winds of the day are so as to remain (at least in their own minds) relevant and retaining having the opportunity for a grasp at power.

    The stunning, though not surprising 180 degree turn that is seen in your latest column would very, very strongly suggest the latter.

    Such a 180 degree turn, as in I-have-woken-up-and-seen-the-light, would reasonably indicate a glaringly disrespectful and mockingly trite assumption that the people of St. Lucia are that gullible and would be fooled so easily.

    That would be a very unfortunate and disappointing assumption on your part. It really would be.

    Melanius, you need to remember that you have a long, long and well documented history of paid commentaries prior to this most recent one.
    https://www.stlucianewsonline.com/category/interactive/commentary/

    Are the readers to believe that, miraculously, in the past three weeks after years of political rhetoric otherwise, that you have all of a sudden had an altruistic change of attitude? Seriously? The readers are really expected to be that gullible?

    In the past, the paid commentaries, among other things, not too arguably have very consistently been:
    --- Back-bitingly partisan;
    --- Over-the-top in the inflammatory tone (referring to the present government as "sociopathic", which borders on slanderous and is simply the comment expected of someone desperate);
    --- Unattributed in quotations and numbers used (interesting to note from someone who writes frequently about transparency and responsibility);
    --- Inciting of social unrest in a well-functioning democracy in which processes and mechanisms exist for all members of the public to each and equally engage their elected officials in assorted ways, be it to express support, concern, or simply to ask more questions and get more information to allow them to make their own decision, a decision not unfairly co-opted or hijacked by partisan interests that lost, plain and simple when a decided majority of St. Lucians did not vote for them;

    There is also the apparently deceiving and discrete substitution in your post-column biography of the former words describing you as LPM *critic* (allegedly now with no further affiliation in any way) for several portfolios with, instead the simple substitution with the word *philanthropic interests* for the exact same portfolios.

    Also, you might want to double-check what the word *philanthropic* means.
    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/philanthropic

    If you are giving money to those causes, that is wonderful, it really is, and it is most certain that readers would very, very much like to hear about where you are helping with your generous money and considered time and the resulting success stories that you have helped achieve in your specifically stated philanthropic interests of community development, social justice, economic freedom and equality. As a philanthropist, that also indicates that you have pursued these causes in a completely non-partisan manner, working with whichever happens to be the governing party.

    As you already know from living in a G-7 country, that is one of the beautiful things about philanthropy --- it knows no political lines.

    Please do share with your readers in your assorted paid columns in your philanthropic accomplishments in St. Lucia, many might truly find your investments both inspiring and praise-worthy.

    One more thing --- the paid column is intended to be for sharing perspectives, not for the publishing of a GQ-wannabe photo of you in a suit, the purpose of the full-length photo being uncertain as this is not a dating web site. Believe it or not, that doesn't give you more credibility. Rather, perhaps it only prompts many readers to perceive the column as text simply selling the snake-oil product of the week.

    God Bless.

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  2. This was a vague and empty piece from Mr. Alphonse. Who are we uniting with? Are we going to unite in a burning house? Are we going to unite with a conservative, rigidly ideological right-wing government whose best policy is tax cuts for the wealthy? We cannot unite for the sake of unity. We will struggle until our demands are met.

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  3. Melanius, who died and made you king?
    Your absurd, abstract ideas only work in utopia. Have you ever had a real job? How about practical solutions to St Lucia's problems?

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  4. Johnny Fartypants

    Wow! Mr. Alphonse has all the solutions to our problems, can't believe a person like this exists.

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  5. And you all the way in Canada writing shate! Come down and unite the SLP.

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  6. LPM is in its death throes. Trying to make headlines is all that is left. UWP will prevail. Tell the SLP chaps to read the "Magic of Thinking Big". That my shake off their heads buried in the sands and their shate shooting comical routines.

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