TO say that the effects of the past year are behind us would be foolhardy even as we look to raise the standard in the new. While there were those rare moments that made us almost collectively lift our heads with pride, last year produced some of the most unsavoury moments in recent history. In this new year, something’s got to give.
Who would have thought that Saint Lucia would be so audacious as to record an unprecedented sixty homicides in one year? Or be split that wide on national issues, namely the Desert Star Holding development, St. Jude Hospital debacle and who best to replace a long-serving Governor General? No one knows the true extent for sure, but what is undeniably true is that hardly a day went by in the past year when at least two of these cited issues were not trending.
Fissures and factional fervour still dominate the nation, especially as many people complain about being out of touch with the happenings in their own country as far as governance is concerned. Citizens continue to complain about the mixed messages and lack of explanation regarding crucial elements of their future. For instance, will healthcare finally breathe a sigh of relief following the prolonged failure to complete and open the two contentious hospitals, namely Owen King-EU Hospital and St. Jude Hospital?
Notwithstanding that the political divide will always exist, this year provides the perfect opportunity to reduce that divide from obtuse to acute, if only in the interest of a serious first attempt at bipartisanship. That goes for politicians as well as the electorate. Time is of the essence and squandering precious days and nights squabbling over spilt milk rather than investing in a few healthy cows. If we keep up the counter-productive pace of passing the buck of blame to each other, our country might well become a place overrun with external forces dictating to us what we should be like.
Just this week, the power play between U.S. President Donald Trump and his North Korean counterpart, Kim Jong-un, took another precarious turn as both boasted about having and being ready to use their nuclear warheads just like that. While these two supposed ill-advised leaders continue to put the entire world on the brink of a major war, we must collectively ask the question: must our situation really get to the point of madness before we resort to resolving outstanding differences?
With the Prime Minister scheduled to address the nation this week, one can only hope that he pitches bipartisanship as an essential mantra going forward, especially as it relates to our future development and survival. The opposition, too, must show that same spirit of unity when it is needed so as to bridge the divide that still exists among Saint Lucians who vote collectively but see government as either theirs or someone else’s.
Finally, it would seem that since many of the outstanding issues that have been confronting us for years have gotten worse rather than better, a new approach to how we deal with them is needed. Maybe instead of trying our utmost and spending money we do not have to find the root cause of our problems, it is time that we recognize that the root cause is right before our eyes: us. If this year is to be anything better than the last, then we must all seize the opportunity of choosing unity over division. Anything less would simply lessen us.