It’s not always good to mix bad and good news. But if we may in this case, the announcements of the death of the late Micoud South MP Arsene James and Saint Lucia being again designated as ‘The Best Island in The Caribbean’, respectively and both on the same weekend, could have had some soothing effect, having been disclosed (in the local press) in that order.
Mr James was one of those rare politicians who not many could find a bad word about. But there will always be those deciding to remember him most for the least of reasons.
Be that as it may, the tributes that have been pouring in since news broke of Mr James’ passing in neighbouring Martinique have all been speaking loudly of the nature of the man and the impressions he left on others.
Perhaps most demonstrative of this effect is the early tribute paid to him by another ex-Education minister who was supposed to have been his political rival. Mr James and Dr Robert Lewis spent ten years as the respective parliamentary spokesmen for the UWP and SLP, each serving one term as Minister of Education during that period. But, as Dr Lewis points out, Mr James was always respectful in debate, even in disagreement.
After 60 years of faithful public service, there are also those who will choose to only remember the more colourful aspects of his latter days as a politician. But Mr James was definitely more than just a politician and he will long live in the memory of those who knew him and those who three times voted him into parliament.
Saint Lucia’s latest accolade on the Caribbean tourism circuit is also being received in interesting ways.
While most Saint Lucians naturally warmly welcome Saint Lucia being designated The Best Caribbean Island by a global tourism player – and for the second time in the six years this particular designation has existed — there are also those who openly claim the designation does not fit the destination.
Believe it or not, one or two (thankfully not more) who claim to be Saint Lucians are claiming that this is a perfumed paradise designation that does not fit the ‘crab in a barrel’ nature of inhabitants of a sick island where people tend to love visitors and treat them better than fellow citizens.
The idiocy of the argument is obvious, but that it is planted in the social media by a person or persons unknown, to be read by the untold numbers surfing the ‘Net, is sufficient reason to (sometimes) be worried about the extent to which some will go tarnish their own country’s image abroad.
Unlike in societies where such expressions would attract the wrath of the state, the diatribe posted in this regard has been responded to with adequate testimony by those visitors who repeatedly voted for this designation with their pockets.
Fortunately too, the complainant’s very complaint is against just what makes us qualify to be the best: our people’s warmth and their collective determination to always try to do whatever they can to help each visitor not only enjoy our island, but to also return – again and again!