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Heidi Badenock

Heidi Badenock, barrister at law and solicitor.

By Heidi Badenock, barrister at law and solicitor

Despite the mixed feelings following the most recent string of disasters that have impacted St. Vincent and the Grenadines, it can be agreed by all that there were lessons to be learned throughout.

A few weeks ago, during a public awareness broadcast on the needs of the people following the April 9, 2021 explosive eruption of La Soufriere, a young gentleman quite accurately reminded that panel that in addition to 1979 being the year of the last explosive eruptions in St. Vincent, 1979 was also a year of rebirth for our nation. Notably, in 1979 we saw our multi-island nation gaining independence from Britain and we also saw a revolution, albeit short-lived, where the people of Union Island sought to remove themselves from under the umbrella of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Both examples, although on the face are juxtaposed against each other, point towards the spirit of our people from Fancy in the north to Union Island in the south.

So, where do we go from here?

We have learned how important communication is in any situation; whether it is in the fight against conspiracy theorists, misinformation, distrust, general information or even for relief or fundraising efforts. We have also learned that communication is not only oral or written words but can also take the form of images; and that how it is presented is also a key component. What is often missed in communication is that to gain desired outcomes it must go both ways. Information must not only be provided, but feedback must be taken into consideration and not dismissed as negative criticism. I hope that going forward our agencies place communication in a more important position. Realising that providing information is not sufficient, but that the information must be provided in a manner that is timely, clear, unambiguous, and unbiased, for the persons who it is intended to reach.

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As a small island developing state, we, more than many others, are aware of the challenges we have faced and continue to face as a result of our geographical location. We continue to be victims of extreme weather: drought or rain. The people of the Grenadines have for long battled with drought and now, given climate change, this battle seems to be more frequently affecting mainland St. Vincent. The impact of the ash fall from La Soufriere’s eruption on the existing water storage capacity on St. Vincent should lead us to consider promoting household water storage in the forms of tanks so that whether it is ash or general drought, we will not be as vulnerable in the future. It may also be helpful, once the immediate needs of persons at shelters are reduced, for the water tanks which were donated to aid in water collection, to be redistributed to the most water-vulnerable persons in the community. This would be an excellent first step in reducing our water vulnerability.

So, where do we go from here? The answer to that question will be determined by the choices every single one of us who identify as Vincentians make going forward. Without a doubt we have faced enormous challenges as a nation over the past 40 years and arguably we are not where we should be as a post-independence country.

Whether this is true or not is a matter of opinion, but undoubtedly, we as a people have once again been granted a golden opportunity as we were in 1979 where the heart of our country was purged through ash. Mother nature has now given us a chance to re-chart or paths, redirect our course and rise up from the ash that covered our blessed land remembering the words of Errol “D Man Age” Rose, “We have a country to build.”

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].

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4 replies on “Where do we go from here?”

  1. The option piece of Hidi Badenoch ,is very timely and asked a valid question. Where do we go from here?. Try as we all may.as she so soccently puts it , and I agreed with her wholeheartly .The reconstruction road ahead is entirely up to us the people..Is there time to reshape our thinking,to make SVG work for all it’s citizens?. My conclusion,YES. Just saying

  2. We need more discussions like this!
    We certainly are not where we should be since independence. Too many mistakes are made. Economically, SAINT VINCENT IS GOING THE WRONG WAY! We fight against eachother too much instead of coming together to solve the differences for the best benefit.
    The system of economics is the worst! We should strive to:

    MAKE PROSPERITY INEVITABLE AND POVERTY IMPOSSIBLE!
    Instead we do the opposite!

    The Unity” party is now in charge but why do they do everything to avoid unity? Why is Labour so low when it is called the Labour party?
    This author is right. We need to step back and see where we are going. These time do not have to be a death sentence. In spite of all the pain…DON’T LET A GOOD CRISIS GO TO WASTE!

    As we see what is happening in the rest of the world, we should not let the GREEDY RICH and POWER-MAD tyrants take everything, all our rights and property. If we do not speak-out, then we are partly to blame for our own demise.

  3. We are a stiff necked country and will learn nothing from the challenges that we face as a nation. Further, given that we are a highly polarized society politically makes it even more daunting that we will be an overcomer. There is an old saying that the nation is still suffering from chief Chatoyer’s curse has some truth in it. All fabric of our society has been politicized , the world boss who is the Vincentian Trump is particularly responsible for the mayhem we find ourselves. God help us because every fabric of our society has take a turn for the worse. We even have an elitist gun culture that is use against innocent citizen. Yuremein, where are you?

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