Not sure how many of you have noticed that after an absence of nearly 24 months the cows are back in town, roaming free-rein in the Choc area. This, to me, reflects the state of Saint Lucia. The sense that anything goes, that people now feel “empowered” to do as they please and say whatever they please, however offensive to others, regardless of who’s right or wrong. The bullies are in business!
We are witnessing an upsurge in bullying and intimidation online, in our House of Parliament and on our streets. Respect for each other and for the sanctity of life have been thrown out the window. Might all of this be related to the shocking increase in homicides in Saint Lucia. As at August 8, 2022, the official homicide count stood at forty-one.
We wake up every day expecting to hear of another homicide, another vicious attack. Drive-by shootings are now commonplace. I woke up this morning to the news that two more citizens had been shot by drive-by gunmen in the Prime Minister’s constituency. We should not be living this way in our Saint Lucia. Some of us have become more than ever emboldened and I have asked myself whether in consequence of what they see, including the behavior of politicians in and out of the House of Parliament and the tacit endorsement of the worst attitudes by people who should know better.
It seems that civility has gone out the window in Saint Lucia. We have little tolerance for other people’s opinions. Perhaps we should take a page from the Leader of the Opposition: exemplary is his demeanor in the face of constant malicious attacks from government parliamentarians and their operatives—even, believe it or not, from a particular NTN/GIS commentator.
There is just too much hatred and anger on our streets. We seem to have lost our reason and are hell-bent on demonstrating at every opportunity our party loyalty, regardless of consequences. We are fast becoming a nation of bullies, more than ever abusive of one another, of women in particular. Even our police appear reluctant to take appropriate action. It is so sad that we’ve lost the ability to share differing views without egregious name-calling and disrespect. We have developed and nurtured bullies, some of whom we’ve placed in our highest offices. Our House debates seem to be about who can get away with the worst behavior, who can spew the worst language. It is this demonstrated par melay (don’t give a damn) attitude that concerns me. It’s as if there were a national contest to discover who can more blatantly spit on everything once considered decent and civilized by regular Saint Lucian society. Even the police appear reluctant to take appropriate action. Are they afraid of something? Perhaps worst of all is that many of us seem to have become indifferent to the daily acts of horrifying violence. We are no longer outraged, even by the worst brutalities. Is this to be the new normal in Saint Lucia?
Coupled with our indifference to the level of crime is our tolerance and encouragement of all things mediocre. So, for example, the gains made by the former Mayor of Castries in beautifying our capital have been erased. Castries is now back to being an open urinal. Both genders pee wherever they please, regardless of witnesses, children and older. Food and dry goods vendors are back on the sidewalks, ready to assault complaining pedestrians. One vendor, seemingly out of his mind, was recently videotaped declaring at the top of his lungs to a police officer that no one can stop him from vending at whatever site he chooses. Why not? He said he had voted for the Castries Central MP, on his promise that he’d be free to do as he was doing.
Covid 19 protocols are hardly adhered to. Coconut-water sellers are back in business on the sides of the Gros Islet Highway, darting in and out of traffic, as if copying the cows. Lord help us!