AS a nation grows, it certainly deserves to adopt a few changes that better shape its national thrust. History has shown that throughout the world the willingness to change has actually contributed to many societies going from being considered mere minnows to glorious giants.
Saint Lucia should by no means be an exception to that rule of change that makes a good thing better. Take, for instance, how since being introduced about 22 years ago Nobel Laureate Week has transformed the typically sleepy month of January into a buzz of recognizing national excellence. The achievements of Nobel Prize-winners, Sir Arthur Lewis and Derek Walcott, are worthy of such praise, no doubt.
But sometimes it’s bad practice to keep a good thing for too long; sometimes one needs to make it better. Just imagine for a moment how more interesting and crowd-pulling Nobel Laureate Week would be if that week of excellence actually fell within the Independence celebrations calendar. Given that both Sir Arthur and Walcott share the same birthday (January 23), how about having Independence celebrations run from January 22 to February 22 each year?
Quite often, whenever a great idea comes up it gets shot down by a weird excuse. However, in the same spirit that, say, a New Year’s Address by the Prime Minister, is looked forward to as something to “put a pep in the nation’s step”, so, too, should our nation’s Independence celebrations be. After all, one cannot expect Saint Lucians to be put on a high for a week or two in January, followed by a pause of a couple of weeks, then up again in February. Such a nationalistic mode needs to be sustained for such a lengthy period that by Independence Day people can actually recall what the theme for Nobel Laureate Week was.
Moreover, the theme chosen for Independence each year needs to be made known in January. A key reason for this is that that theme needs to be intertwined with every major event that takes place in Saint Lucia – from Assou Square celebrations in January right down to Christmas in December. By December, fewer Saint Lucians should be drawing a blank as to what the theme is.
As stated earlier, the willingness to change will always be met with opposition even if what is being suggested makes real and tangible sense. Sometimes what is being suggested to be changed is even deferred to a time when it becomes an anathema. But serious thought needs to go into creating a stronger nexus between Nobel Laureate Week and Independence celebrations. Savings on the two separate budgets for each of the observances can also serve as a teaser.
Obviously, it’s too late now to do what is being suggested here. Nevertheless, it’s never too late to change, especially since next year is waiting just around the corner.