Saturday, November 09, 2019

Has the Morne Sion "Symbol of Faith" Monument Faded Into Oblivion?

The anniversary of this terrible tragedy is bound to bring renewed pain and grief to the families and friends of those who died.”- Kenny Anthony.
Tomorrow marks 8 years since the tragic Morne Sion bus accident on Saturday 10th November 2011. 19 people — 17 declared dead while two toddlers remain missing — perished on a stretch of beach at Morne Sion.  Michael Alexander, Michaela Alexander, My Kelly Alexander, Salyand Stephen, Anallsha Mayers, Sherdelle Samuel, Jacinta Florence, Davia Charles, Kerelle Modeste, Darnelly Modeste, Johnny Jn Marie, Darius Jn Marie, Karen JnMarie, Keran Jn Marie, Semontha Phillip, Venon Alphonse, Venantious Alphonse, Terry Phillip and Lex Andrew all passed away.
The Cliff
The vehicular accident plunged the community of Choiseul/Micoud and the whole nation into deep mourning. This accident which occurred at about 8:00pm on that fatal night is said to be the worst in living memory. A mini bus carrying residents from Dugard and Ti Rocher from a funeral service in Choiseul, plunged over a cliff and landed in the sea 120ft below.
The “Choiseulpowerhouse” gives a graphic account of the beach scene in the following two paragraphs. 
  At first sight, the accident seemed to be a horrific one, with the bodies of three victims – one of them a child with signs of life - sprawled on the beach and being washed by the wave action. The jury is still out on how those “souls” got there: Did they jump out of the minibus when it was on its downward flight from the top of the cliff to the sea below? Were they ejected from the vehicle on impact? Were they washed from vehicle by the wave action? Did they get out of the wreck after the impact?
The wreckage
Meanwhile the partially submerged wrecked minibus on which they were traveling was further into the sea in a capsized position about 40 feet away; and it wasn’t until after the emergency services gave the local heroes the green light to turn over the capsized wreck about ½ an hour later that the full horror story unfolded.  At the end of it all, 15 bodies removed from the vehicle were confirmed dead. The next day, the final count reached 17.”

On the third anniversary  of this tragedy the Office of the Prime Minister issued a press release – the second paragraph reads: “On this day, I call on all to spare a moment to offer prayers for the souls of the departed and the families and communities affected by this tragedy. Share a word of comfort with the children, parents, friends and other loved ones who were left behind to redefine life after this dreadful day.”

The Governor General, Dame Pearlette Louisy, in a throne speech remarked, “……So that our departed brothers and sisters will not be soon forgotten, my Government plans, in remembrance of the victims, to construct a memorial on the site of the tragedy.  The families of the victims need to know that this nation shares their loss both in word and in deed.”
A Barrier or Monument?
The OPM also stated, “It is my sincere hope that with the completion of the Symbol of Faith which has been commissioned to mark this tragedy, we will in future remember this day in a more collective manner.”

Did you know that the submissions of the design for the monument were reviewed by an eight-member committee headed by Mr. Darrel Montrope who was Cabinet Secretary at the time?

Also,the Cabinet of Ministers at the time, then reviewed the recommendation of the Committee and had agreed to share the designs with the families of those who died on that tragic day, before announcing its final decisionthat was in 2014.

 Question! What is the status of this Monument or “Symbol of Faith” as it is defined by the OPM? Eight years later should a line of 6 - 7 culverts painted in white  with non-reflective black-pained arrows still serve as a reminder or a security barrier. Inquiring minds want to know!!
On the fourth anniversary Kenny Anthony puts it nicely: "This event must remain forever etched in our minds. No words can ever be enough to comfort the relatives and friends of those who lost their lives." 

In whose court is the ball now?  Is the present Government willing to take up the mantel?St Lucia still awaits this promised “Symbol of Faith.” 

Editor's note: Most pics compliments "The ChoiseulPowerHouse." Efforts to contact the District Rep and the Communications Officer in the OPM were unsuccessful.

Monday, October 07, 2019

Who is Standing up for Choiseulians and Putting Dem First?

Choiseul Carnival 2018
You know there is an old patois saying for lack of a better phrase which says, “ Choisez say un  denyae  pyon ar dan un dam” (Excuse my kweyol spelling…lol) My understanding of this term means that Choiseul always gets shafted.

Here are a few issues that concern Choiseulians:
  •            Last year’s carnival band got shafted….no prize monies up to now.
  •           Blotje Choisez cancelled this year
  •         Jounen Kweyol pulled from under Choiseul this year
  •         Choiseul Sound system owners  rated as second choice to an outside sound system
  •         And the mother of them all the sand mining in the village ( But that’s for another show)

Are all these coincidental or is it that there are too many square pegs in wrong holes in the administrative affairs of the district? Choiseulians want to know!

Haven’t the Parliamentary Rep come to his senses and realize that these continuous recycling of tired persons just can’t get the job done?  There are so many talented youths in the district, yet I am given the impression that they are not being given an opportunity to do the job that these tired recycled persons can’t do. Time to look ahead Mr. Rep!

I only speak to two issues in today’s post – 3 and 4.

Jounen Kweyol Rug pulled from under Choiseul.
I recently posted on Facebook my annoyance that Jounen Kweyol was pulled under Choiseul for reasons it’s alleged that the Choiseul organizers said it was “UNDERFUNDED.” Ok, granted that they felt it was underfunded and thought that they could not host the activity; why then did they take the unanimous decision to cancel the activity before bringing it to the general public or local entrepreneurs whom might very well inject some needed resources to keep the activity in the district? Have you ever heard a statement from the organizors about this issue?  Why should they care anyway when they refuse to put Choiseul first before their self-interest?

Choiseulians continue to be shafted by the persons in authority, year after year, term after term, political cycle after political cycle, government after government! What should we do? You know the answer just like I do!

NB: Btw, there is a version of Jounen Kweyol being organized to be held in Choiseul….info about how things are progressing is still being kept a secret. There’s talk circulating that one man can’t do it all alone. Par men ke de le!

Choiseul Carnival 2013
Choiseul Sound system owners shafted
Our party goers in Choiseul know what a good sound system sounds like. We have Arfany sound system, Blazing Sounds, Big Show Sounds, Busta Sounds, Hungry Lion Sounds, Adoozay sounds and last but not least remember Dot Com Sounds.
Every one of these systems can provide heart thumping sounds to any jour ouvert crowd, Period.

Question. Why were they bypassed and a Soufriere sound system…Bombshell hired for the annual Choiseul Jour overt? It I alleged that there was never any negotiation with any system owner to offer them a chance to run Jour Ouvert. At least one owner said he was approached but never heard from the organizors again.

For Soufriere activities, Busta Sounds have never had the privilege to play in any jig organized by the Soufriere Foundation. Soufririans have maintained that only Soufriere sound systems play in Soufriere activities organized by the Soufriere Foundation.  Ask Busta Sounds? Yet these Choiseul self-serving individuals that don’t want to see Choiseul move ahead bypass our boys and head to Soufriere to get Bombshell. Aben bon! So what say the Choiseul organizors for not hiring a local sytem for the Jour Overt? Y’all made a boo boo!

Choiseul continues to weep under the strokes being inflicted on it by non-caring, self-centered and above all inept individuals that always want to have their hands and feet in Choiseul’s business. But mark my word, that won’t last long….the young, talented, skilled, innovative ones are out there watching the every move of these recycled individual.

Time to pass the baton! Let’s put Choiseul and  Choiseulians first!     

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Dugard Combined Tops Above National Mean Score In District 7 and Places 4th On Island.

           50% of Schools in District 7 Scored Below the National Mean in CEE 2019
It would not be a far-fetched idea to openly say that with the low numbers in the Grade 6 classes in District 7 one would expect most schools if not all to reach the National Mean of 60.09 – this was not to be  in 2019. Half of the 10 schools in the district scored below this mark.

The schools which scored above the Nation Mean in District 7 are shown in the table below:-
Dugard Combined
Laborie Boys
Piaye Combined
Mongouge Combined
Roblot Combined

Here are some stats on the recently completed Common Entrance Examinations for District 7:

1.       One hundred and sixty-eight (168) students wrote the examinations
2.       Ninety students reached or scored above the National Mean
3.       District 7 scored an average mean of 60.52
4.       District 7 placed 4th among the 8 districts island wide

The most improved schools in the district 7 are Laborie Boys, Piaye Combined, Banse, Mongouge Combined and Delcer Combined.

What are the reasons for the Banse Combined, Laborie Girls, Saltibus Combined, Rivere Doree Combined, and Reunion Primary not meeting the National Mean in the year’s Common Entrance Examinations? We can attribute this to many reasons. This post does not intend to list these reasons here but in summary the reasons
students get poor grades include external factors, such as the subject matter is too difficult, the teacher is hard to understand. Other reasons have to do with poor attitudes, such as didn't do homework and absenteeism. Finally, there are reasons related to personal issues, such as test anxiety and problems concentrating.

The stats clearly shows that 46% or approximately 78 students did not reach the National Mean. (Yet they are sent to a Secondary School…Gosh!)

Though a principal express her disappointment in her school's results she wnt on to say that the District Education Officer, Mrs Kay Nicholas, is quite satisfied with the overall results of  District 7. She went on to say that the DEO gave  lots of support  to the schools and initiated many programs to motivate the students.

Friday, June 28, 2019


Lately, I’ve been following the weekly news conference by one of the political parties on the island, and  it occurred to me that a lot of the information I am being exposed to is potentially fake.  If not completely fake, it is presented in a way that is biased towards a particular belief or viewpoint in order to appeal to like-minded people to rally viewers, listeners and followers.

It seems to me that there’s an agenda behind this type of information sharing. And it’s not an agenda rooted in truth or honesty, which frankly, is a danger to the peace and unity of our shared island.

I always have to remind myself to question the context when I hear such rhetoric that seems one-sided or untrue or improbable. What else is going on? What happened before or after? What are the credentials of the presenter, and why should I believe him or her?

What concerns me is whether other people are actually questioning the things they see and hear. And how many of us run the risk of just swallowing the information as fact without healthy interrogation to make sure the full story is told?

We are living in a time of great division and intolerance. Power seems more than ever to be generated by people and “winning” by ensuring that others are “losing”. But why can’t everybody win? Life doesn’t have to be a zero sum game, does it?

In today’s tech-driven world we have unprecedented access to issues, images, clips, factoids, opinions, facts, news (real or fake). We can see a picture that somebody wants us to see, negative or positive, but how do we know if we are getting the whole picture?

What is behind the curtain? We can’t tell what is really happening by looking at one photo or viewing a video clip. We are all susceptible and vulnerable to being swayed by dishonest, misleading, or incomplete snippets.

I always want to ask myself questions about the motives of others, but I never want to become jaded, distrustful, angry, frustrated, fearful, or violent.

Pumped up by all the hype, people can start to believe their neighbour is their enemy simply because they disagree on who has the best team or what politician they voted for.
It’s all pretty confusing and sometimes overwhelming when we are trying to cope with all the differing points of view without the confidence that all the facts are on the table.

So, what do we do? All I know is what works for me. I do my best not to get sucked in and be influenced by all the noise and fanfare and the hype. I tell myself to stay true to the values I believe in, and more importantly, to the universal values of honesty, trust, authenticity, fairness, reasonableness, acceptance and compassion.

I do my utmost best, not always successfully, not to allow myself to get steered away from positive emotions.

I choose to be generous, joyful, thankful, curious, peaceful and loving.

This is just how I try to “Keep it Real”. I’d love to hear about yours.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Band Launch: Blyss Launches For Choiseul Carnival 2018

Choiseul carnival revelers had almost given up hope on the ideal band to play mas in this year. However, Choiseul Carnival 2018 will see a new band on the streets of Choiseul Village.

The band, BLYSS which is an amalgamation of Bliss and Passion will be launched at a grand festival at the Galvaro Bar, next to the Nicholas Gas Station on Friday August 24, 2018, from 4:00 pm .

You will no doubt recall the spirit in the revelry, organisation, road music and  band sections that the organizers of a previous band had years ago. Well, this spirit has manifested itself into a new and vibrant group of young men and women who intend to make Choiseul Carnival look like what CARNIVAL in Choiseul is supposed to be.

So head down to La Fargue tomorrow to join BLYSS CARNIVAL BAND. Registration forms will be available and you will get a peek view into what the band is all about.



There is already talk of this band providing the #BestCarnivalExperience for 2018.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Making Roblot Look Nice Again?

The Roblot Community which is part of “The Forgotten Communities” has had its fair share of being forgotten time and time again regardless on the political party in power.
Sometimes I feel pity for the residents – myself included, who put all our energies into voting for a candidate (SLP or UWP) only to be shafted after elections. This must stop!

One can very well make the case that there is nothing sustainable in the community and as a result there is nothing much that can be done. Point taken! The residents of this community in which I have lived for the past 33 years don’t appear to need handouts from any politician - they rarely go to the Rep’s office. All they ask is to keep their community roads, drains and roadside up to date and of course a personal visit by the Rep to the community off and on. Is that too much to ask?
Well, the feelings of the residents must have reached the present Rep’s office because from Monday this week two or three supervisors were selected with a crew to tidy up the Forgotten Communities. A stimulus program it is being called, to “block a hole” for the most needy parents who have children attending school.

Dedanier Jn Baptiste
This blog is personally impressed with the work done by the crew headed by Dedanier Jn Baptiste. Not only was their work of a high level but it is the passion with which they tackled the work. Their aim was to uplift the appearance of the community to make it look attractive again.

In spite of all this effort, what remains of the community centre is a real eye sore in the community. At the last budget debate the Rep, Bradley Felix, mentioned that works are in the pipeline for a new centre for the residents.

"Choiseul on the Move" followed with him recently asking him where are we at now in relation to the centre? He replied, “The sketches have been presented. The challenge with Roblot is based on the funding agency condition that all these centres must have access for the physically challenged. Based on the size nof the property available it would be a challenge to construct a ramp for the top floor."

He continued, "We are looking whether we can aquire additional lands or change the orientation of the structure. The matter is being discussed and when they get back to me I will call the community meeting.”

So while we wait crews are helping uplift the appearance of the community in spite of our poor road conditions.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

What Should Emancipation Day Mean to the St Lucian Working Class?

A people without the knowledge of
their past history,origin and culture is
 like a tree without roots. ~ Marcus Garvey
The history of the New World since Columbus re-discovered it is one of conquest, pillage, exploitation and forced migration of a people. For more than three centuries millions of people were forcibly transported from their homes in Africa, across the perilous Atlantic Ocean to the New World, where they were forced to labour on sugar plantations for the rest of their lives.

This enslavement of a people continued until events in Europe changed the fortunes of the West Indian and North American colonies. Humanitarians started questioning the validity of slavery, there was competition from beet sugar producers in Europe, and the advent of the Industrial Revolution spawned the rise of a new group of influential men in the British Parliament who believed that slavery was no longer economically viable.

In 1833 Thomas Buxton presented The Emancipation Bill in Parliament. The Act was passed and came into effect on 1 August 1834. On that day, thousands of slaves in the British West Indies became free men and women. On 1 August 1838, enslaved Africans in the British Empire won their emancipation from slavery. Emancipation Day is now commemorated throughout the Anglophone Caribbean as a public holiday or national observance. 

One hundred and sixty four years later, on 1 August 1998 the government of St Lucia declared Emancipation Day a national holiday to commemorate the abolition of slavery.

Emancipation was not a gift from Britain or White abolitionists. It came from the accumulated covert and overt acts of resistance by enslaved Africans.

Emancipation Day sends a clear message to the St Lucian labouring classes that capitalism exploited their ancestors’ labour under chattel slavery and is doing the same to theirs under wage slavery.

Emancipation Day is a continued reminder of the need for British imperialism to pay reparations for the enslavement of Africans and colonial exploitation. 

Emancipation Day is a mocking memo to the African labouring classes that they live in societies in which they do not exercise political power over economic and social policies that impact their lives.

Emancipation Day is an annual announcement to the labouring classes that anti-African racism is still a source of oppression and exploitation in their their lives.

Emancipation Day is a painful reminder that working-class African women are still being clobbered by the (un)holy trinity of patriarchy, capitalism and racism. Slavery was a brutal regime of exploitation for enslaved African women.

Emancipation Day is communicating to the masses that they must organize to give birth to the Second Emancipation. This phase of emancipation calls for the elimination of racism, patriarchy, capitalism and other systems of oppression that affect the people’s lives. It also demands the self-organization of the masses.

While it is great for the people to commemorate Emancipation Day, this day must also be used to reflect, critique, assess, deliberate and plan for the next year of struggle.

August 1, 1838 or Emancipation Day tells us that humanity’s quest for freedom cannot be smothered by oppression.