Friday, January 30, 2009

Person Of The Year (cont'd)

Bousquet their Person of the Year, on the basis that “we didn’t seek someone we always agreed with. Instead, our primary criterion was one who generated tremendous public interest and, for better or for worse, impacted the lives of Saint Lucians at home and abroad.” Just as Time magazine has done from time immemorial.
Saint also noted that Bousquet was proving to be the prime minister’s strongest supporter, that he always reports promptly on his return from overseas assignments, unlike some who simply never bother, and others who come and go without the prime minister’s knowledge. Perhaps it is that promptness in reporting that recently inspired the prime minister to let Bousquet deputize for him at two important overseas conferences.
I would add that his reported loyaBousquet to stand up and speak his mind publicly, whenever it occurs to him that the prime minister is not acting in the best interests of the country. As he has on more than one occasion demonstrated, loyalty to country, in particular, to the people of his Choiseul constituency, comes first.
It is hardly a secret that the trade minister is far from happy about the behavior of some of his colleagues toward the more deprived of our nation, especially in the current economic climate. It remains to be seen if he can persuade his fellow Cabinet ministers to tighten their elastic belts in the best interests of Saint Lucia’s poor—or whether it will take public action by him before the government does what needs to be done.
The persistent word is that he remains to be persuaded that a bailout for the nation’s leading hoteliers will redound to the benefit of the tourism industry as a whole. He is concerned that other stressed-out business people might see their government as practicing a kind of economic apartheid at the expense of native entrepreneurs, for whom life has always been more difficult than that of foreign-based counterparts.
The word is that the recent announcement by the prime minister of impending increases in the price of certain staples caught the trade minister off guard. If true, I suspect we’ll soon be hearing from Rufus Bousquet. Who knows what it will take to convince the finance minister that the hoteliers must show slate before public funds are handed over to them, whether in cash or in kind? For my part, I believe Rufus Bousquet will do what he has to do in the public interest, regardless of the risks to his political career. He’s been down that road before and knows the pitfalls; still he will not be dissuaded. It’s just the way he’s made.
Like Saint, our choice for Person of the Year was never restricted to goody-goody-two-shoes types. Which is not to say they are excluded from consideration. We are just as much interested in them as we are in other candidates whose actions, positive or otherwise, impacted on our lives during the year under scrutiny.

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