The people elect and hope the Government will work in their interests regarding various needs, key amongst them the need for security, employment, health care and recreation.
Let me attempt to define them separately, starting with security. It is a given fact the criminality that exists locally is unbearable and another major concern to almost everybody is also the new surge in gun crime and other related weapons of death. It is frightening and makes most people uneasy.
In addition, law enforcement does a sloppy job at arresting and the gathering of evidence and the court of justice takes its time at giving a verdict.
In addition again, we also have lawyers whose sole objective is to find loopholes in the system of law to set their clients free, but justice is only for a few and money is a ticket to freedom and generally we the people are dissatisfied with the results and methods used to suppress or control crime.
Employment seems to be for a few and not seen as a national crisis, so, if you have IT skills or graduated with honours, or have good family roots, you become first choice, while the masses need to wait their turn to become servants at the proposed new hotels on the drawing board while agriculture is still seen as fig-planting and not an industry that needs to be developed for mass employment.
Of late there is a lot of breaking down of structures in the City center and earmarked for administrative buildings, but not a people’s business hub, knowing the need for that kind of support the place needs as outlets for small and medium-size businesses.
As it relates to health care, there is no need for me to highlight as we the people know; and when it comes to cultural and recreational needs, we spend that money on selected persons, but we build no structures to grow and old parks like those in Marchand decay while new parks for our kids are not on the front burner.
Governance has to change to be more meaningful to the people’s needs. Castries needs to be rebuilt to include a bus terminal, service centers, restaurants, gift and craft outlets, more than just the Central Market, to eat a local meal, with more outlets for entertainment, gaming, technical repair and many other services that can generate employment and self-employment.
The Governments have failed us for years, doing what they think we want, but not giving us what we need for real growth. But things cannot remain as is or as was. We have to change with the times and grow a nation, not a country for visitors first and nationals second.
We need to do for us first and others after; we need to think local, buy local, help local and become local. It is only then we will achieve. If not, the continuation of the same will drown us.
The concept of giving jobs as a means of curbing crime has not been tested, the concept of returning Castries as a commercial hub has not been reconsidered.
We went to the North and developed Rodney Bay and surroundings and left the Capital City to decay. We made it too expensive to rent, deterred ownership, closed down businesses as early as possible and keep city dwellers at bay.
But it’s time to rethink and rebrand because Saint Lucia is no longer simply beautiful. Not anymore.