The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

I have been reading with interest, the criticisms levelled at the so-called ex-pat community of Bequia and in particular those aimed at the covering of the old gutter in Port Elizabeth and those complaints regarding the organising of the Easter Regatta.

Whilst I would defend anyone’s right to criticise, in fairness, those remarks should be balanced, well-informed and reasonable and most of what I have read are ill-informed and certainly do not present a balanced argument.

The statements made about the gutter running past Tannis in Port Elizabeth are a good example. Does the writer not remember quite how the gutter used to smell? Stink might be even a better adjective to use; it was terrible. Taxi drivers parked in the vicinity used to have to apologise to visitors arriving from the ferries. It was that bad. And the beach has always silted up, to clear the gutter it has always had to be dug out as sand continually blocks its exit, the pump put in during the reconstruction was an attempt to find a permanent solution to the problem of keeping the water moving away from the gutter area. Today it doesn’t smell, the walkway is attractive and less dangerous for pedestrians. What’s to complain about? Unless all you want to do is create divisions in a society where none exist at the moment!

The comments about the Regatta also show a lamentable lack of knowledge of the difficulties involved in running an event of its size. The first thing to realise is that no Bequian enters their boat in the Regatta unless they are assured that there are considerable amounts of monies available to be won in a large number of cash prizes; that there is free beer aplenty; that their crews will be given lunches during race days. And who is to pay for these facilities? Let me tell you, you can count on one hand the number of Bequia businesses prepared to put that hand in their pocket and bring out cash to support the Regatta; the money needed comes from businesses on St. Vincent that want to both help the event to continue and, at the same time, promote their product — be it beer or cell phones, it matters not as without their support there would be no Regatta.

The Regatta is run by Bequians. Born and bred Bequians. The fishing boat registration was done southside simply because that’s where the majority of the participants live and work; the yacht racer entrants were registered at a hotel in Port Elizabeth owned and operated by an extremely well known Bequia family; the closing and prize giving ceremony was held in another hotel and was open to all entrants whether from the fishing boat races or the yacht races. NGOs have a useful function in today’s world as they can assist or can criticise government as they see fit because they are not beholden to government in any way as their financial model is independent of government support.

I would suggest that the writer, study the make-up of the various committees of the NGOs in question before suggesting that they reflect views that only support one certain element of Bequia society as the make-up of those committees demonstrates just how representative of Bequia they are. Meetings are generally held in the early evening so making it easy for as many to attend as possible. To suggest otherwise is simply not true.

In conclusion, may I suggest that instead of writing to iWitness News and complaining, the writers get themselves involved in what they criticise and help change what they don’t like, if it’s appropriate, in a constructive manner rather than hide in anonymity by writing rubbish and doing actually nothing.

RA

Bequia people should indeed take stock

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].