By Peter Lansiquot, a citizen of Saint Lucia and a potential candidate for the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) for Castries Central.
I am of very profound patriotic instincts concerning Saint Lucia, the land of my birth, and I am convinced that three essential factors have imbued me with this burning, soul-searing patriotism.
Firstly, the indelible verses of our National Hymn, particularly the words: “wheresoever you may roam, love oh love, our island home.” Secondly, my years in Cuba, where I was exposed to the Cuban National Anthem, notably the words: “no temais una muerte gloriosa, que morir por la patria es vivir.” And thirdly, and most wounding, and the most touching of these anthems, the words of The Red Flag: “The people’s flag is deepest red, it shrouded oft our martyred dead…then raise the scarlet standard high, beneath its shade we’ll live and die, though cowards flinch and traitors sneer, we’ll keep the Red Flag flying here.”
There is a soothing, mind and soul-blending quality that emanates from the simple though elevating line, “wheresoever you may roam, love oh love, our island home.” When you have lived your entire youth, hearing and singing this beautiful verse, and walking along the same paths that many of our patriotic, distinguished, world-renowned, accomplished sons and daughters of Saint Lucia had trodden, and where our two Nobel Laureates themselves had trudged and tarried, deep patriotic instincts are inspired. Then, in later years, having travelled abroad to other countries, and having immersed yourself in the life and culture of those far-flung environments, and on condition that you are a normal human being, your own Saint Lucian patriotic instincts would normally be further sharpened and deepened.
This is what happened to me during my years in Cuba. While savouring the sweet Castilian literature and the militant rhythms of the above quoted Cuban hymn: “no temais una muerte gloriosa, que morir por la patria es vivir” (“do not fear a glorious death, for to die for your country is to live.”), my previously inspired love and emotions for Saint Lucia shifted in the womb, and a newly resident, ferocious patriotism was born.
Significantly, therefore, I actually became a Saint Lucian patriot while a student in Cuba, singing the Cuban anthem, living and struggling with my Cuban brothers and sisters in La Lisa and Old Havana, chilling in Provincia Bauta, watching baseball in Marianao, studying, liming and imbibing “Coronilla” in Santa Clara and Camagüey, taking the public bus with Cuban doctors of medicine, scientists, architects and engineers, reading Cuban history, while hearing my comrade, Fidel Castro, locally on air and at the United Nations, fighting for Cuba’s right to be an independent country, free from the dictates of the United States and Western imperialism.
One fine day, in an economics class, my patriotism got fired up when a lecturer advised that we should acquaint ourselves with the text, “The Theory of Economic Development, by an American author, Dr Arthur Lewis.” I raised my hand and proceeded to explain, with a mixture of pride and mild indignation, that Dr Arthur Lewis had been born and bred in Saint Lucia, and of course happily informed the class that I had already read the book in its original form, in English, while a student at Saint Lucia’s A Level College, 1979-1981.
In the ensuing economics lecture, having now seen the Spanish translation, I went further to explain that the translation of the name of Dr Lewis’ masterpiece, “The Theory of Economic Growth,” into Spanish, by the Mexican Editorial Press, was seriously flawed. The name was translated thus: “La Teoría Del Desarrollo Económico.” The proper translation should have read “La Teoría Del Crecimiento Económico” since “crecimiento económico” (economic growth) and “desarrollo económico” (economic development) are two fundamentally different categories. While economic growth has essentially to do with annual increases of gross domestic product (GDP) and gross national product (GNP), economic development is a more qualitative category, involving not only nominal GDP and GNP growth, but the various uses such increases are put to.
Genuine patriots belong to a rare category of human being. Fundamentally, we don’t suffer fools gladly, and we, therefore, tell it like it is. This profound patriotic instinct flared up, like the Concorde’s engines belching flames on take-off, when I listened to another patriot, my unconditional friend, Winston “Springs” Springer, properly lashing prime minister Allen Chastanet with the whip of righteous indignation, letting him know what a “downright” awful political, cultural and social misfit he is, and telling Saint Lucians all over the world, who “love oh love our island home,” of the unprecedentedly warped and “severely sick” nature of the mind that presently occupies the principal chair of Saint Lucia’s highest executive office.
Springs’ words inspired me to put pen to paper on that very day, to add some choice cuts to those well-deserved uppercuts. But I had tarried a bit in that endeavour, until just a few days ago, when another particularly grotesque misfit, Saint Lucia’s by far most notorious home-grown political and cultural embarrassment and traitor, Peter Josie, appeared yet again, on stage, in the full view and hearing of Saint Lucians old and young, at home and in the Diaspora, to slurp up the crumbs off the ground beneath his Massa Allen Chastanet’s table, in a shameless and vain attempt to massage Chastanet’s bruised ego.
Josie, long ago, joined the band of former politicians and political commentators, who have lost their sense of purpose and conviction to do what is right: speak truth to power, though the heavens fall. Apart from politicians, this band has a long list of other members, including former journalists, public servants, entrepreneurs, etc. My next article will present and analyze the baleful, shameless, unpatriotic words of that unique misfit, Peter L.B. Josie, who is also on record praising Chastanet as the best prime minister Saint Lucia ever had.
The following patriotic words from Springs are destined for the history books of Saint Lucia, and there will come a time when younger, newer generations of Saint Lucians will wonder just what it was that could have allowed nationals and citizens of our country, to have embraced – even for a year – a misfit like Chastanet as prime minister of the land of the laureates.
Of course, most citizens already know the answer to that perennial puzzle: political, social and cultural ignorance, or what is alternatively described as “improper or inadequate education.” A better “educated” citizenry – say 90 percent of the total population – even only at the secondary school level, could never have voted a misfit like Chastanet into political office. It is my distinct pleasure to again place for the historical record in this piece, the righteous indignation of my dear friend and comrade, Winston Springer, which he eloquently spat out, like a laureate would, national Anthem in mind, and Potiphar’s whip in hand, as he flogged the corrupt cretin, Chastanet.
Lest I end my traversing of this piece, on Springs’ patriotic plateau, and forget to articulate the most important point I wish to make, I hasten to say the following:
- Saint Lucia must legislate as necessary and appropriate so that no foreigner can ever again become a prime minister of Saint Lucia.
- Saint Lucia must legislate as necessary and appropriate so that no foreigner, who does not become a citizen of Saint Lucia for a certain number of years, can ever again become a government minister in Saint Lucia.
Saint Lucia must take these steps looking forward to a future where national pride and patriotism are clear elements of the character of citizens vying for national political representation at the highest levels in our country. If Chastanet, that self-acclaimed “product of Canada” had even an ounce of Saint Lucian patriotism in his bones, he could never speak the way he does about the people of Saint Lucia (in terms such as “braying donkeys,” “jackasses,” “barking dogs,” “niggas,” “mendicants,” single-mother parents of criminals, etc., etc,) and he certainly could not even think of leasing an acre of Saint Lucia’s land at a dollar, much less one thousand acres at a dollar per acre, for 100 years. No Saint Lucian patriot would find himself/herself at this end of Winston Springer’s dagger:
“The incredulity of the latest statement by prime minister, Chastanet, that there is no point in saving people if their livelihoods are affected during this pandemic, is callous, nonsensical and downright just nasty. To his enablers who say he misspoke or is being taken out of context, let me remind you of a few of the numerous occasions and asinine statements emanating from the silver tongue of prime minister Chastanet; (1): ‘colonialism has a conscience,’ (2): ‘the country has no money,’ (3): ‘I do not have to listen to every dog that barks,’ (4): ‘let the jackasses bray,’ (5): ’43 percent of Saint Lucians have a primary school certificate;’ the insults go on and on, and should be put in book form, for they are too numerous to mention. The American civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, whose birthday is celebrated this month, is quoted as saying: ‘we need leaders not in love with money but in love with humanity; not in love with publicity but in love with justice.
“There needs to be an intervention by the prime minister’s family, to save him from himself and others, as he will soon be struck down with a severe bout of an identity crisis, not knowing who he is. This guy is arguably the most dangerous, jealous, petty, unforgiving, vindictive, nepotistic, capricious bully, without a shred of a conscience in the history of Saint Lucian politics. The parallels between Chastanet and the outgoing president of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump, is (sic) astounding. Chastanet, when a society regrets its economic loss more than the loss of life, it does not need a virus to know, it is severely sick.”