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EVERYTHING BUT: And whither we?


Ridley Greene

EVERYTHING BUT: And whither we?

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When the spirit of a people or a country weakens, when you get to the point where those willing to do the wrong thing are spiritually stronger than those willing to do the right thing, then you can lose a society. – Prime Minister Freundel Stuart at the recent inaugural National Consultation On The Society In Barbados at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
Freundel?Stuart should win himself the Nobel Peace Prize for harping on and promoting among his people such indispensable truths – statements of position insisted upon by our mothers and grandmothers, fathers and grandfathers, ever since we were children.
Truths we could find, if we would, in the pages of the Holy Bible upon which most of us were fed and nurtured, and which today regrettably too many of us have an aversion to – for lack of faith, or for absence of will to attempt the greater good.
In a word, the body of such a one is weak and the spirit even weaker. And those of us so afflicted are fair game for the “spiritually stronger” who exult in wrong.
It is for this reason the Prime Minister sees us losing “a society if the freedom which we seek in Barbados is a freedom from responsibility”; losing “a society if the persons in positions of leadership are not doing the responsible thing”. Indeed, “freedom from responsibility is not an option” if we care anything about our future.
This relates as much to how we express our differences across the political divide as to how we will deal with The Alexandra School issue, as to how we are prepared to treat the embattled Raul Garcia.
Let it not be unsaid: the mouthings of many of our politicians on the eve of election campaigning in earnest are as labyrinthine as ever. All kinds of wild accusations are being made – and even wilder promises.
The Opposition, if returned to Government, for example, will borrow money – from where only God knows – to pay all the beleaguered CLICO policyholders all presumably of their owed moneys. The Owen Arthur group would even support the present Government, it says, to seek out such a loan now. Is this what is called playing to the gallery?
And, in the face of obvious work – whether you think it great or not – being done by the Stuart administration, the Opposition keeps jarring our ears with accusations against the Government of inaction and inertia. What government anywhere in the world can thrive in dormancy?
While these trite homilies from the Opposition will be deeply appreciated by the party faithful and a select group of movers and shakers, the carping does little good for the soul of the country and psyche of our people.
Maybe another Owen Arthur administration will make a more effective Government in these times. Maybe not!
Prime Minister Stuart’s observation is timely: “The number of takers is getting larger, and I’m concerned about that. You cannot lower your standards to get the plaudits of the crowd . . . . The means by which we live should never outdistance the ends for which we live.”
The advice is equally relevant to some spokesmen of the governing party itself – in particular those who have been “breaking for themselves”, zigzagging through dissuasive fluff, regurgitating unqualified gibberish that passes for profound observation and analysis.
Much of the intellectual hallucinating was evident at The Alexandra School Commission Of Inquiry, which for all its soap opera facility ought to be of some benefit to the educational system after all has been said and done. If nothing else from the inquiry, we have learnt that Jeff Broomes is not among the faint-hearted, for which his charges admire him. I will say nothing ill of the other side.
As for Raul Garcia, whither the man? He does need to make international friends, as he does not seem to have many here. After all, he deserves his dignity, for he is no longer an inmate of Dodds Prisons; just an illegal immigrant with unusually “good” cause.
It strikes me, however, that here is a man, who having served his time, has been moved from behind bars into society – to maximum security.
Are we doing the right thing?
• Ridley Greene is a Caribbean multi-award-winning journalist.

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