Saturday, May 31, 2014


THE QUESTION 'What do you think of the politicians of today?' will, more often than not, bring negative responses. 'They are only in it for the money, the power, the position' and 'It is impossible to find an honest politician' are likely replies.

Seldom is there a positive or sympathetic thought for the politician and the challenges they face in their personal and family life while fulfilling a demanding public role on behalf of their constituents.
Meanwhile, the media makes us very much aware of the faults and failings of any politician. Yet, the Houses of Parliament have had a worldwide influence.
The government building at constitution park houses the debating chambers of the The Parliament and The Senate   may seem far beyond the influence of most citizens, yet, through prayer, it is possible to have a powerful influence on politicians and, through them, the Government of the nation. It was Alfred, Lord Tennyson, who said, 'More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.'' It is through prayer that we, as Christians, can reach into the House of Parliament building and have a greater influence than we can imagine.
There is power in the spoken word and to speak critically or negatively is destructive. To take our anxieties, concerns and desires to the Lord in prayer is constructive and opens the door for the Lord to move on our behalf.
As Christians, we have become more aware that laws that once reflected Godly standards are being eroded. Belatedly, we have become more concerned about the laws that have been passed or are under consideration.
Previously, we have been guilty of doing nothing or of failing to pray for our parliament and our politicians, Before praying for our politicians, should we not come to the Lord in repentance that we have failed to be obedient to his word? Today, there is a greater awareness of our need to pray, but has repentance been missing? How should we pray? Begin by praying for the politician that represents the constituency in which you live.
Pray for them according to 1 Timothy 2:1- 2. Try to imagine what pressures you would experience if you were an MP. Take a walk in their shoes, so to speak, then you will pray with greater understanding. Pray similarly for the Prime Minister. Pray for the parliamentary business of the day. Ask the Holy Spirit to presence himself in West- minster that he may influence day's business, 'The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water: he turns it wherever he wishes' (Prov. 21:1). lt is also true that 'we have not, because we do not ask'.
What political party should we pray for? Let us remember that God is not a party member, Testimonies have been given by members of various parties of how God called them to be an MP. Truly it is 'in the multitude of counselors that there is safety' (Proverbs 11:14).

Within St Lucia, there are a number of Christian groups that meet regularly for fellowship. These groups have representatives from the two political parties and meet in fellowship as members of the body of Christ - while their parties oppose each other in the House! The godly members of both the Senate and Parliament do have a voice, and they do have an influence. Let us pray for them that God will open a way for their influence to be more powerful. it is through them that God can speak into the affairs of this nation.
Adapted from

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Which Way You Going Billy?

For the past weeks the Delcer Farmers' Association, the so called newly elected executive have been posting on social media complains which they say affect them grossly - the past executive has not relinquished its hold, one Brian Charles still goes about business as usual, though the new executive says he has no more jurisdiction, Brian apparently seems to be the only one with a copy of the constitution, a member of the association may have been evicted from a meeting which seems to have been called by Brian, the community District Officer being amazed at what transpired at that meeting, and the list of persons in the association is not being disclosed by Brian. Whooye! What a bouillon?
    To my limited understanding of this bouillon going on in Delcer, there seems to be a division - two separate sides that want to head the Delcer Farmers' Association. There are few questions that are lurking in my mind. Was Brian Charles' executive constitutionally voted out? That's the fundamental question. Because it beats me, knowing Brian Charles personally, that he would linger in an association that he has been voted out using the proper protocol. Did a group of over enthusiasts decide to take over the Association barring all protocol? Is there a concerted effort by certain persons who may have scores to settle between them and  the Farmers' Association seem the best avenue to do so? Whatever it is, it doesn't seem to be helping the cause of the true Farmers - just read that there is no water running for irrigation. Yet still the grumbling goes on.
       Though Brian is a son of the soil, and now lives in Reunion,  I am sure that he has given much dedicated service to this association, I would want to think that a president from the area itself would be more convenient for the farmers. Or does Brian foresee ulterior motives by certain persons that want to get into the association so he clings onto power for the sake of the association? Or is there something Brian is hiding?There appears to be more in the mortar than the pestle.
One should also take note that all these Delcer's Farmers' Association complains are being posted by Jimmy Haynes. It begs the question, is he the main man behind all this? Is he the one who wants to see the back of Brian Charles? Inquiring minds want to know.
     Choiseul on the Move have tried to contact Mr Charles by phone, but to no avail. mr Haynes has contacted me and asked why have I not posted the Farmers's issues on this blog? When I told him that I wanted to speak to Brian first to get his side of the story, he chastized me by referring to my piece on Sweet Boy Stan. I was not at all surprised.  Choiseul on the move allows for opinionated statements and as u will see much written here is of an opinionated nature.We will pursue Mr Charles to get his side of the story so our followers and readers can balance both sides argument.
    In the meantime, both sides - Jimmy's side and Brian's side need to come together at the table and get the the Farmers' business back on track.
Isn't it strange that Wibur Joseph a member on the so called new executive have not ushered a public statement? I spoke with him via whatsapp;
Dedan: Hey, just read a PS from ur farmers group. An issue with Brian's exec. Like you guys in a tussle for control of the farmers it appears to me? Any comments,
Wilbur: Lol. I think all of this is counter productive. We should all work together to advance this project n if I see no light, I may have to back out. It takes too much energy to bicker.
Dedan; Boy, I was shocked to read this release. Did you have a hand in this?
Wilbur: Nope. but what is it all about? Where can I read it?
Dedan: The usual.......... one-man show. Take care u are branded in this fracas
Wilbur: Lol. the people know me better. I can never be branded with that. And I tell you there is success in this project, when I put both feet into it........I promise you.
Dedan: I have all the confidence in you bro. Cause u are a no nonsense person. But I must warn you. Keep ur eyes open.
Wilbur: Ok
Well, at no other time than this, are Wilbur's  feet more needed.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Imposition of VAT on Salt and the Removal of the Subsidy on Sugar are Insufficient

The LPM has come out and chastised the government for not "having enough balls" to go further to increase VAT on alcohol and cigarettes
Below is their argument.
 In reacting to the government’s decision to impose a 15% Value Added Tax (VAT) on sodium and to remove the existing subsidy on su.gar, the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) opines that it is not at all opposed to these measures as deterrents to the overconsumption of these products.
 However, the LPM also wished that the government had the courage to approve new legislation that would effectively double the VAT on the importation and sale of alcoholic beverages and cigarettes in Saint Lucia. The LPM argues that the consumption of alcohol and cigarettes has not only reduced the life expectancy of most Saint Lucians but has also become one of the leading factors which have transformed the island into a major partying hub which lacks the focus or ability to respond effectively to economic challenges. 
 Moreover, with very little attention paid to underage drinking in Saint Lucia, the future cost of healthcare and juvenile delinquency could reach levels that have never been seen in the history of the country. 
 Notwithstanding the government’s decision to omit alcohol and cigarettes from its list of priorities for stiffer VAT rates, the LPM fully acknowledges that a reduction in sodium intake is likely to lower the number of Saint Lucians who suffer from strokes, acute myocardial infarctions, diabetes and other lifestyle-related diseases. However, the party remains unconvinced that these measures alone, in the absence of a national campaign aimed at educating Saint Lucians on the importance of making healthy lifestyle changes, will amount to much.
 While the mere imposition of VAT on sodium and the removal of the subsidy on sugar will increase government revenue in the medium term, it will have a minimal effect on the government’s long-term desire to reduce its public expenditure on healthcare for fellow Saint Lucians who have developed diseases and other serious illnesses as a direct result of overconsumption of these products.
 A more effective strategy, says the LPM, would have been for the government to go beyond the simple imposition of VAT on only two products that contribute to poor health. Rather, it should have sought to expand the list and embrace a serious national agenda or campaign to raise public awareness regarding the consequences of the overconsumption of these products. 
 The Saint Lucia Labour Party government should have also considered offering a tax relief for food companies which make it a priority to import sugar-free beverages as well as processed food and dairy products with reduced sodium content.
 In addition, the LPM concludes that placing a ban on indoor smoking and urging all restaurants and other food handlers throughout the island to adhere to a voluntary policy of reducing the amount of sodium and sugar that is used in the preparation of local dishes and drinks could have gone a long way towards preserving the health of the people of Saint Lucia.  

NB: cartorns, Mine

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Darren Sammy's captaincy and the unfinished quest for the return of national purpose

By Dr David Hinds

This past week the West Indies cricket selectors named a new captain of the region’s team for Test cricket, which despite frequent obituaries remains the soul of the game. But the news was hardly about the new captain; it was more about the one who was fired -- Darren Sammy.

Dr David Hinds is an Associate Professor of Caribbean and African Diaspora Studies at Arizona State University where he teaches Caribbean Popular Culture -- Music and Sports -- as Political Expression. More of his writings can be found on his website.
This was inevitable, as Sammy is one of four significant captains in the almost nine decades of West Indies participation in Test Cricket -- the others being Frank Worrell, Clive Lloyd and Vivian Richards. Note, I say significant; not best. What they all have had in common is that they assumed the captaincy and presided over the team at critical eras in Caribbean post-colonial history -- independence, black power and radical nationalism and globalization/structural adjustment.

To get to what I am saying we have to go back to the appointment of Worrell in 1960 and, as CLR James would demand of us, extend our thoughts Beyond a Boundary.

Worrell, the first black man to be named as the team’s full-time captain, assumed the captaincy on the eve of Caribbean Independence. Like his counterparts in other aspects of the Caribbean experience, Worrell had a dual task. First, to prove, contrary to the racist narrative that informed slavery and colonialism, that non-white formerly enslaved and colonized peoples could govern themselves and exist in a state of freedom. Second, having assumed the captaincy two years into the West Indies Federation, his was the task of welding the players from the various pre-nations into a collective national unit.

That he succeeded on both counts was due not only to his own formidable personal talent, but, more significantly, he led a team of players who could marry their individual exploits to the independence expectations and aspirations of the Caribbean nation(s) which at the eve of independence included Caribbean integration and the quest for self government. Eric Williams’ “Massa day must done” had significant resonance for the Caribbean masses.

Worrell retired in 1963. A decade later in the midst of a black consciousness and radical upsurge that swept the Caribbean, beginning with the so-called Rodney Riots in 1968, Clive Lloyd assumed the captaincy of the team. To understand the significance of Lloyd’s stint as captain and that of his successor, Vivian Richards, we must understand the forces that produced them and the teams they captained.

Black power and radical Caribbean nationalism arose out of a desire to own and shape independence in the image of the Caribbean to be of service to the Caribbean peoples of all classes. For this generation, independence meant a radical break with the colonial praxis and the evolution of a revolutionary independence praxis based on ethno-racial and social equality and freedom.

Having endured dehumanization of one sort or the other more than three centuries, independence could not mean anything short of total freedom. In effect, this radicalism challenged the reformist, neo-colonial praxis that had consumed most of the independence political and cultural elite.

With physical shackles unlocked, the sons and daughters of the enslaved and indentured were obviously eager to fling them in the face of the former master, to paraphrase Martin Carter. This is the consciousness out of which emerged the Lloyd-Richards teams and which motivated them to turn the cricket field into a space of freedom production and conversation between players and nation and between players, as representatives of the nation, and those who still sought to stifle the new nation march.

Like Worrell before them, Lloyd and Richards possessed tremendous leadership and cricketing skills, but their successes at the helm was dependent ultimately on the ability of the men they led to merge individualism with duty to and consciousness of the role of the team on the field and the larger one beyond the boundary.

Cricket meant black power, anti-racism, anti imperialism, working class liberation and Caribbean integration/nationalism. These weapons informed a culture of triumph for approximately two decades -- the smallest and poorest cricketing nation conquering the cricketing world.

Richards left the scene in 1991. By 1995, the West Indies team had surrendered the pride and glory of our nationhood. By then the radical nationalism of the 1970s and 1980s had given way to an era of anti-nationalism, which was premised on a sense that Caribbean independence was a colossal failure of nationhood.

The Grenadian Revolution had self- destructed. Guyana had killed Walter Rodney, the prophet of self emancipation. Democratic socialism and cooperative socialism had given way to structural adjustment and globalization, which Professor Rex Nettleford called “a new name for an old obscenity”. Banana died at the hands of the global greed. High tech narco trade had infiltrated state and society. Education slid down the ladder of importance. Material crave became an end in itself. Conscious reggae and calypso was replaced by nursery-rhyme lyrics and jump and wave. The nation was floundering.

In the absence of nation both as symbol and imagination, predictably the notion of individualism, as means and end, became normative. It is in this context that the leadership of the nine appointed captains (one appointed twice) from 1992 to 2010 and the tenth, Darren Sammy, from 20010-2014 should be analyzed and understood.

During this period the region continued to produce some world-class individual stars, the most outstanding being the great Brian Lara. But unlike the stars of the two previous eras, the individuals could not marry their talents and exploits to the needs of the team inside the boundary and the nation beyond. That they could not achieve that pointed to an absence of national consciousness.

One player, a part-time captain, pledged loyalty to his club team over that of his nation. One full-time captain of the Test team declared that he would not mind if Test cricket died. Another embarrassed the collective dignity by displaying a piece of paper in the wind, not to the oppressor but to a freedom fighter. Many other players only played for the nation when they were not playing for their clubs abroad.

What is critical here is that half of the society, perhaps a majority, was sympathetic to and identified with this anti-national individualism as the normative present and future of the society at large. Therefore, for them, celebration of the collective was replaced by celebration of the individual player. In the absence of team glory, many became obsessed with the individual player either as good or evil -- us versus them.

Many, including respected journalists repeated the untruth that Sammy’s captaincy divided the Caribbean. The Caribbean was divided long before Sammy’s captaincy between those who celebrated individualism as identity-choice and individual survival and those who critiqued unbridled individualism as a danger to the collective health of our Caribbean.

It should be remembered that, when Sobers visited Rhodesia, he was forced to apologize to the nation and, when others went to South Africa, they were banished. Now, those who shun the nation are defended and celebrated, even by political leaders, and are rewarded with leadership. I am not excusing the players, but they are products of the state of play beyond the boundary. How can they play for a nation when they cannot imagine a nation?

It is against this background that Darren Sammy assumed the captaincy in 2010. The nation faced disintegration not just from outside but from within. The independence solidarity and aspiration were dissolving. Sammy embodied the alternative to individualism and nationlessness. He represented hope for a shift away from recolonization. He was not going to turn his back on the people who still held out hope for the glory days.

Like Worrell, Lloyd and Richards, Sammy was not appointed captain because of his cricketing skills, but rather because he was perceived to have the leadership qualities that were needed to meet the larger challenges of the moment. But unlike the others, his was not the task of leading a charge that gave voice and meaning to the larger quest for self-expression and freedom. Rather, he had the uphill task of leading a charge to halt the slide of West Indies cricket into oblivion. And, critically, unlike the others he did not have enough troops to fight the battle.

But after four years, against great odds, he has had moderate success in reintroducing a sense of collectivism in the meaning of team. The individualist had returned to the fold. Glimpses of national passion were becoming less infrequent. The recent victory over Australia in the recent T20 World Cup was the most recent manifestation of this stir of the collective pride and spirit. Nevertheless, the return to glory was beyond his reach as it was for the nine captains who preceded him. That, I submit, will arise from a new national consciousness beyond the boundary.

The understandable, simplistic explanation that Sammy cannot make the team on merit and thus impeded the team’s balance became a mantra. After repeating it for four years many came to believe it, while others became afraid of rejecting it as an explanation of the West Indies continued decline on the field of play.

The logic seems to be that, with Sammy out of the way, there would be balance in the team and all players will be picked on merit and that would open the door to the team’s resurgence. The less said about such foolishness the better. Suffice to say, the teams between 1995 and 2007, when Sammy started to play, were supposedly balanced and everyone merited his place. Yet history shows us that the results were the same and worse in some instances.

Ultimately Sammy’s tenure has exposed some uncomfortable truths about our Caribbean. In some quarters, he was otherized; the other who didn’t belong to us. On a popular meeting space, where some of our thinkers frequent, he was daily referred to as a “donkey” a “fraud,” a “scam” a “dotty”, the latter a reference to him being a “small-islander.” Those who know something about our history understand the origins of such self-hate.

Now, the powers-that-be have succumbed to the logic, loudness and relentlessness of the silly crowd. The professed quest to return to the glory days is a long way from finished; it might have been dealt a setback. And the long silly season that started in 1995 continues, Dinesh Ramdin notwithstanding.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sleek Boy Stan takes on the Law.

Jazz was over and the late-nighters had to find a watering hole to have a last lap. It reminds me of my school days at St Mary's College, during the Carnival season when we, 'de boyz and dem' would always look forward for Ash Wednesday when the revellers after partying so hard on Carnival Monday and Tuesday, used go and 'taway vaval.' That's when we would do our last lap mischiefs etc. A similar case may have occurred at Sleek Boy Stan's place.
The news of a minister's arrest went viral when the Tim disclosed the news, followed by the General Secretary of the SLP who called Newsspin to add clarity to the issue. Before he called many persons were in the 'no no' as to whom this minister was.
According to Leo, and trying to make light the issue, it was only a little music playing inside which did not even disturb the patrons in the place when an officer came in and asked Sleek Boy Stan to lower the music or turn it off since according to the officer the music was too loud. It must have been around 3:15 am Monday morning. Leo went on to inform Newsspin that an exchange of words ensued between the two and Sleek Boy Stan was arrested, taken to the Rodney Bay sub station and released some 15 minutes later.
Wow! It had to take the General Secretary of the Party to come to Sleek Boy Stan's defense? What is Winston Springer's job? Leo should have let this one pass for Springer. Is it in the SlP constitution that when ministers fall short of public expectations that the GS runs to his defense? Would Sleek Boy Stan be arrested if he had complied with the police request? Did Sleek Boy Stan use abusive language to the police officer? What was his demeanor at the time? Was he under the influence of alcohol? Why was he not charged? Was the police officer forced to drop the charge he intended to put on the minister? And the list of questions could go on and on.
The bottom line could be, the minister, in the company of his friends may have wanted to show-off and belittle the police officer. 'Don't you know who I am' and similar foolishness like that, may have spewed from his mouth. But the police taught him a lesson that he will never forget : ''He is not higher than the law.'' That must have been the longest fifteen minutes in his life.
I won't be surprised if the police officer who effected the arrest is being reprimanded by his superiors and higher officials. If my memory serves me well a certain officer working at the Soufriere police station suffered a horrible transfer after he refused to carry out the wishes of a certain parliamentary Rep over an issue where the latter wanted him to effect an arrest on a citizen and the former refused.
It clearly is an offence to play loud music after hours in a neighborhood and as a lawyer Sleek Boy Stan knows that. Persons have been charged and some instances or their equipment confiscated. Sleek Boy Stan got off lightly this time around. Oh how sweet it is to be a minister! An ordinary citizen may not be so lucky.
This is St Lucia where any shit passes.
St Lucia awaits his story.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

St Lucia ministers called on to resign

By Caribbean News Now contributor CASTRIES, St Lucia -- Women in Action (WIA), the
women's arm of the opposition United Workers'
Party (UWP) in Saint Lucia, on Tuesday called for the
immediate resignation of Alvina Reynolds, minister
of health, wellness, human services and gender
relations, and Senator Victor La Corbiniere, minister of legal affairs, home affairs and internal security. According to the WIA, under Reynolds' watch there
have been serious breaches and gaps in the public
health systems and La Corbiniere continues to
ignore the serious crime situation in the country. However, UWP member of parliament and former
minister, Richard Frederick, took a different view,
saying that no minister should be made to resign
unless he or she has done something wrong that
can be substantiated with evidence. "Sometimes politicians see things as being
politically expedient for us to seek the resignation
of this minster and that minister. As to whether it is
in the interest of the country and the public is a
totally different scenario. In my humble view,
unless a minister has done something that can be substantiated with evidence, then I don't think that
a minister should be made to resign just on the
whims and fancies of an opposing party, and that
goes for everybody, not necessarily La Corbiniere,"
Frederick said. He referred to calls for his own resignation as a
minister and said, now that events are unfolding,
people realise that that there was no justification for
such a call. In March 2006, La Corbiniere unsuccessfully
contested the Castries Central seat as the St Lucia
Labour Party (SLP) candidate against Frederick. "He was one who took me to task, he was one who
said a lot of stuff about me but I do not see that he
should resign because of a request coming from
someone or a party that does not support him,"
Frederick said. Separately, former MP and agriculture minister in
the previous UWP government Ezechiel Joseph,
now party chairman, called somewhat
unrealistically for the resignation of the "entire
government". Melanius Alphonse, speaking on behalf of the
Lucian Peoples Movement (LPM) pointed out that
the parlous state of healthcare and crime in Saint
Lucia is one that predates both Reynolds and La
Corbiniere, although this does not exonerate either
of them for their "dismal performance and aimless management as seasoned professionals in the ir
respective fields". However, he added, the LPM concedes that the
management of both health care and crime has
become noticeably worse under the current SLP
government, while pointing out that the UWP under
its current leadership is at the same time trying to
distance itself as mere political expediency from all responsibility for the unfortunate position in which
the country finds itself today. "A lot of the blame for where Saint Lucia is today
rests on the shoulders of both parties, which have
allowed health care and crime to deteriorate to
levels that may be impossible to manage unless
there is a national consensus on how to effectively
root out crime and to secure Saint Lucia's porous borders, with all the tools available locally and
internationally," Alphonse said. He said the LPM believes the way forward for Saint
Lucia is through a national consultation on
healthcare and crime, which engages the entire
citizenry of the country in order to address
effectively those very serious concerns. In an earlier op-ed piece on April 3, 2014, (Health care in St Lucia), Alphonse focused on the demise of the Soufriere hospital, the challenge that already
exists to maintain other health facilities and now to
furnish the new hospital with modern equipment
and highly trained human resource in a competitive
marketplace. He also pointed to the sixteen policy positions and
six law enforcement and anti-crime measures
proposed by the LPM in an open letter to Dr Kenny Anthony, prime minister of Saint Lucia, on January 24, 2014. According to the WIA, a number of unexplained
deaths have occurred at public health facilities in
Saint Lucia and the results of investigations have yet
to materialize despite promises made by Reynolds. "Contagious diseases such as chikungunya are
rampant while the minister has failed to inform the
citizens of the extent of this epidemic, which is
widespread, nor has she bothered to embark on
any public education campaign," the WIA said,
apparently ignorant of the fact that chikungunya is not a contagious disease but a viral infection similar
to dengue fever spread by the Aedes aegypti
mosquito. "The forensic laboratory remains comatose without
proper technical staff and the minister is now
callously asking aggrieved citizens to seek recourse
through the civil courts in cases where citizens died
whilst in custody of the state. Minister La Corbinere
is oblivious to the many victims of rape and families of victims of murder, who crave emotional relief
and closure, by ensuring that all investigative
services, especially forensic, are functioning
properly and efficiently," the WIA continued. However, Alphonse responded that, unless there is
a willingness to accept the need for an over arching
national strategy in saving the country, calls for the
resignation of Reynolds and La Corbiniere are likely
be "absolutely meaningless."


Did Sammy Quit or Axed?

Darren Sammy has formally notified the West Indies
Cricket Board of his decision to retire from Test
cricket. Sammy has also informed the Board of his
decision to continue to make himself available for
selection for the other formats of the game.
While he is well-liked and a respected figure,
Sammy often batted low down the order in Test
cricket and his medium-pace bowling was much
less effective than in shorter forms of the game. That raised some critics to question whether the St
Lucian merited a place in the team despite generally
positive views of his influence as captain. Sammy averaged 21.68 with the bat and made only
one Test century, while he took 84 Test wickets at
an average of 35.79. He led his side to eight Test
wins, 12 losses and 10 draws.
Ramdin replaces Darren Sammy in the wake of leaving the post
but will continue to skipper the Windies Twenty20
team. Wicketkeeper-batsman Ramdin has played 56 Tests
for his country and had served as Sammy's vice-
captain before being appointed to the top job. His first assignment will be the home series against
New Zealand beginning on June 8.