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]

My latest contribution to what seems to be the latest fashion of criticizing what just is, is one of disappointment in the contributions to date as they are all very critical without offering any positive suggestions as to past happenings or a possible alternative future.

Let’s take C.ben-David’s latest offering regarding the new airport. Now I have to admire both his writing style (maybe we have a budding novelist here!) and the painstaking research he has made on the subject of airports in other parts of the world but — and this is my point, what does it all achieve! In my view, absolutely nothing, unless the object is to continually say, “I told you so”. The airport is now substantially complete, the battle to not build it at all has been lost, the money is now borrowed and spent so why not just forget the past and look to a future which none of us can actually see but many like to forecast, rightly or wrongly, and hope and pray that the end result has been worth the huge effort put into its construction.

It is unfortunate that, in general, politicians have great difficulty recognising what is truth and what is but a distortion of that truth so that whatever negotiations are taking place over how and who might service the airport, we will never know the outcome, or even the progress, until everything is settled whereupon some story or other will be put out those politicians that will show them, and their decisions, in a positive light. We will never know the real facts of anything as, unfortunately; there isn’t a politician alive who tells the unvarnished truth about anything!

Recently there was an extensive article on rust showing in various parts, mainly the surrounding fences, at the new airport. Now why on earth did this rust come as a surprise to anyone when the country has always suffered, as do all other Windward Islands, from sea blast. You’re never going to build an airport using only stainless steel, even galvanising everything would most likely be prohibitively expensive so we live with rust and to express surprise at its appearance is in itself, a surprise!

The letter that upset me most was the somewhat vitriolic letter from Dr. Kingsley Simmons. Like MK before him Dr. Kingsley, who I understand lives in the UK and hasn’t visited Bequia for some years now, harks back to those “golden years” beyond the memory of anyone younger than at least 50. Those apparently wonderful years of full employment and consequent full stomachs; of a Government that fully represented the people (those of Bequia anyway), and in that rosy glow, nothing bad ever happened.

Although he owns property in Spring himself, as I do, he apparently has the belief that some elements, as he put it, want to turn Spring into a gated community. Well, I’m sorry Dr. Kingsley but in all the years I have been a Spring property owner (since the late 80s) I have never heard anyone make such a suggestion, only to ever continually deny rumours that Spring residents have ever had such thoughts. Please remember that Spring itself was designed as a fully open community with no walls or fences between properties, boundaries being marked, generally, by a row of bushes or some such natural break. It is unfortunate that latterly some owners have constructed walls in an attempt to counteract outbreaks of lawlessness, unfortunate but perhaps understandable but in no way an attempt to turn it into a gated community.

But what in itself, is wrong about gated communities so long as they do not bar access to beaches which, in itself, would break SVG’s laws? It is quite normal for Bequian property to be fenced and that strangers are not expected to cross such fences and enter what is private property without invitation so what if half a dozen homes are surrounded by one fence and one is expected to ask permission to enter? Is it any different? I think not. It is not segregation and certainly not an apartheid-like action as you suggest.

Personally, I am convinced that should the colour of the government in St Vincent change then all talk of returning to the district council system would quietly be dropped. Bequia is heavily NDP and with a ULP government in power now for so many years, a feeling of being somewhat disenfranchised is understandable but the system of local government that you propose is expensive and these are chastened times and I doubt any support for such as system would continue the moment the population were asked to finance it. If I am wrong and there is such a demand, as the writers seem to think there is, then I suggest they begin with a voluntary group, form an NGO amongst themselves, finance it themselves and then become a pressure group for the changes they seek. Do all that and then you would have a platform to criticize the existing system from, that might be admirable; right now you have nothing but memories of a past that is never going to return!

In conclusion I would simply ask readers that if you are inclined, as I am, to write to newspapers to criticize what you see as wrong, do everyone a favour by at the same time suggesting a positive alternative so that instead of all the negative vibes that spin around this beautiful country we all enjoy having some positives to look forward to in our futures.

Richard Ashton

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].

3 replies on “An opinion of Opinions”

  1. “Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

    These words written by George Santayana (1863-1952), a famous philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist, which has many variations that others have given, is the best defence of my continuing preoccupation (some may say obsession) with the folly called Argyle International Airport), the only difference being that unlike historians who often dissect events long after they have occurred, I am dissecting something that is still in progress.

    Would you have the same criticism if, say, I wrote a whole book (which I may well do) about why AIA was a huge failure in which I detailed many of the issues that I have been dealing with in my essays 10 or 20 years after the fact?

    I hope not unless you have some sort of anti research, anti historian analysis, or pro “let sleeping (or dead) dogs lie mentality.”

    Or do you just want our infantile Vincentian savagery to continue in perpetuity?

  2. sad that the writer is obsessed with attacking those that are critical of a government the does everything in a very flawed way. Instead we are to not worry be happy. The writer can’t see how the writings of C. ben can help us.
    If we listen to this writer we will always be a poor and failing country.
    the writings of C.ben serve to document problems in the way our government and society conducts itself. This is the first step to correcting our problems. Don’t listen to this writer’s advice he wants us to remain in perpetual stupidity.

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