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By Sheldon Bramble

A big part of formal education is instructing. This, coupled with the constant assessments of students by teachers. Some students handle it better than others. Some teachers are more tactful and productive with their deliverance of words and demonstration of guidance to students. However, outside of classrooms in SVG, many persons in the working class and public services seem to have magically graduated into a world where it is forbidden to assess, guide, suggest or demonstrate betterment. 

There is hardly any room for healthy constructive criticism in SVG. From the pulpit, to Parliament; from the financial complex to the Kingstown market; from the police to the minivan; from the building site to the workplace; from healthcare facilities to businesses. You often dare not suggest different and definitely not better and more efficient. 

Have you seen suggestion boxes around in public facilities servicing the public in SVG? How about on their social media? Do public minivans have a sign behind them saying “how is my driving” and giving a number?

Are there situations where it might make sense for “democracy” to stop and people need to follow an individual’s instructions without questioning? Situations where there is expert guidance or instruction given to learners. This may be appropriate in the classrooms of educational facilities or in the realm of training in the arts, sports or the military. However, even in these situations, these same experts collaborate or engage professional development to enhance their delivery of instruction. 

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How does a country improve when people would rather pretend that they came up with an idea themself as opposed to giving credit to its source? Either this or they are not interested at all in other ideas or improving because this will imply that they are being obedient to some outside force or influence. And that will be a devastating injury to their post slavery and post-colonial founded liberation. “After all, nobody yah better than me.” 

To listen to a suggestion without feeling destroyed or to offer a suggestion politely and respectfully is just not a normal part of this democracy. It is rather viewed as “talking down” or “he or she thinks she is better than me” If that person has travelled and offering to help, that makes it even worse. There are people who at times do talk down at others, but this is not about that attitude but rather about how healthy constructive criticism is heard. 

“Surely what I am doing behind this desk is so sophisticated and complicated, that you would never ever have any idea at all as to how I can perform this task more efficiently.” This is the sad and tired backwards attitude that we often find from the top to the bottom of this Vincy society. And, can there possibly be collaboration between different entities for more productive and efficient achievements of goals? No, because “I am in charge here. I cannot be in charge with you in charge too. You crazy? Don’t you know who I am?”

When will we become real as a people about development within SVG? When nationals leave this country, there is a liberation which Vincentians experience to be better and deliver better. Within this country however, there is a national headache which exists. Travelled nationals returning to these shores and facing non-travelled folks will show one clearly this sickness. But many are aware of it right here without ever leaving too.

One will think that those in high authority however will try to lift society up to a level where they strive for improvements on every level. However, what we witness is the constant lowering of standards and mediocrity as this will bring the frien’-frien’ vibes to get you on their side and at the same time make them feel good — while keeping people perfectly complacent in their inefficient and backward ways. The dumbing down of society for more control says I would rather keep you down and myself in charge than to lift my game and empower you too. SVG have too many lazy and inefficient “big papi” keeping back progress

Vincentians in charge need to be aware of how they administrate and demonstrate responsibility. Give others a chance to suggest to you how you might do a more efficient job. Be humble and see to their needs. The problem you are not getting solved is ok to point out and lament. However, someone else might have deeper insight into why your mode of operation might not be working effectively and efficiently. This person might seem insignificant or even surprise your fixed mental attitude. This is especially important for Government officials to implement. 

Slave master and slave morality cannot be allowed to continue to destroy Vincy society even after they are long dead and gone. But this country will not develop unless this “big papi” attitude is put aside. The ultimate “big papi” is the devil and he invented slavery. It is time for more in-charged Vincentians to humble themselves under professionalism to allow SVG to rise. Try being humble and serve rather than proving you are in control. Listen to the realities of the people you are serving.  And if you are not in charge, try cooperating and don’t confuse being administered with being controlled. Disorderly and lawlessness is never the way forward. 

The damage of slavery continues when black people treat each other either with the attitude of a slave master or the attitude of a slave. Don’t be either. None of those two were professional or fair attitudes. Let’s strive to rise and ask for suggestions and ideas from those who we serve and to cooperate with authorities when appropriate. 

Furthermore, government officials, please take time to walk among regular Vincentians living everyday lives. You would only understand the people in the country you are serving if you do this. Ride the mini vans once in a while so you can understand the realities you are unwilling to fix. Shop in the market once in a while and see what it’s like to be a small business owner and struggling. Walk around town on a weekday so you can see what people are facing. Line up to pay your bills with locals. Go to the beach and see if you think the water is clean enough and parking there is adequate. Drive through areas with bad roads to see the realities. Accept suggestions and hear local stories and realities. Do this if you really are about progress in SVG. Drop that “big papi” attitude.

And, to Vincentians in all works of life, do not follow indecent models of leadership and serving. It is largely up to the everyday man to continue to allow this country to improve. Let us strive to continue to be the beautiful people we once were and are. 

The opinions presented in this content belong to the author and may not necessarily reflect the perspectives or editorial stance of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].