When we arrived, the place was loaded with guavas, banana trees and mangoes and just a handful of offices. We made the entire area our playground, we would sit on the benches next to the students, get invited for lunch by the professors or just walk to the river for a refreshing bath. My dad would let us roam the campus while he carried students back and forth. Did I mention that my dad started working with them at castaways and later he continued at Picard? Then the fence came up, I was growing up a little anyways so collecting mangoes and running around was no longer a thrill, we understood that the place was out of bounds.
When we started construction in the area…yes I say we because I was there, lol I remember clearly complaining that I wanted to stay in Moore Park by my grandmother but my parents had a way of not hearing me. Everybody had to go down to Picard on Saturdays to do something, full stop! We were one of the first to start construction we met, Mr. Blanc, Mr. Fluerin, Pat Corbet, Milton & Irene then later Bubbles and Pastor Meryl built on the other side. The Mc Lawrences … and then a little later everybody else. We now did not have time to learn the names of students because the semesters rolled into each other so quickly and all that time I was busy on weekends mopping and cleaning apartments, it appeared that the school grew as I did, I recall cleaning and praying that one day I myself would have some big books to read. One day I picked up so much dog shit from an apartment tears came from my eyes, but it had to be done. There were endless good times, like when we would have those beach parties at coconut beach, when we had a crowded semester, those little karaoke bars, the rivers, nightclub and all that guava! lol.
Sad to see the end of an era, sorry for the turmoil that is left, hurting for my people but I cannot honestly state that I am surprised. Numb, saddened but not surprised. We noticed our weakened government position from the day they agreed to give them permission to do housing in a market that was saturated with houses…and little things, like a time after I came home from university and I caught a new student filming the brown water from our pipes after a rainfall, he jumped when he saw me in the doorway and asked, “is it always like that?” or the fact that we had to pay solid waste to collect our garbage and then pay a private vehicle to pick up that very same garbage. In some situations, garbage would stay on the roadside for weeks and weeks with no known time of pickup! Before going to study I witnessed a few rodents and by the time I moved back home, some hug rats would greet me on the streets! The place was just not made a priority. You know how many students have fallen down in the pot holes at night? Were the landlords supposed to pay the taxes and then do the government’s job?
Then Barclays (first Caribbean) closed, then KFC and rituals opened and closed, then Whitchurch came and struggled (received bail out from our government) …little things I say and we observed the school had plateaued. And we looked at construction plans and shelved them. We planted bananas and dasheen on the lots and waited because no one would listen. Instead we were called all manner of names. No new investments, no new innovative ideas, 18 years of hemorrhage.
Let me explain….
- Aerial tram-closed- 60 plus people out of work, they said don’t worry.
- DCP (Colgate Palmolive) closed, they said don’t worry- a democratic government interested in reviving a company would first set up a board, do an enquiry, make a determination on the best way forward, get the board with equipped, qualified professionals to run the company and create shares for our coconut farmers. Not just throw money at one man tell him fix the factory and not give any explanation to your citizens as to how the factory will run. This is not rocket science it has been done before!
- Black sigatoka- the disease was also found in St. Lucia and latin America. St. Lucia with our exact climate, like and manner was able to combat the disease whilst our crops wilted and died. Could not someone make a telephone call and ask our Lucian brothers what they were doing? What is the use of OECS and CARICOM if we can’t rely on them for at least technical assistance.
- We are now left with the Citizen by investment program. I will not exhaust myself by listing here the criminals that have found themselves with our passport. At the last count I got ten of them. All this is reproduced in media, find them and read about it….so much we take for granted. Look at your neighbor St. Kitts see what they are doing with their passport millions, then look at your own island. Please just look.
- A coffee factory was built in One Mile> The machines were brought in, and even the coffee was delivered. At this point I can only conclude that the government was lazy and lacking self-will to put on the grinding machine. My hands are up in the air about this one.
- The abattoir is not a new invention. There are several ‘how to do’ manuals, several qualified persons in that field. As a matter of fact, neighboring islands have abattoirs that could be copied, but NO, we had to mess up this one. I say laziness and lack of will!
- The Kubuli factory- did they even take them on?
- I will not list the countless small businessse that have shut down or that our Government’s only way of appeasing people is shoving money towards them in the guise of assisting them with small businesses. What kind of responsible prudent government throws money at people to create small business with no checks and balances, no teaching of accountability, no review of accounts, just give it to them to open a shop and tell them start, knowing fully well they don’t have the capacity. The skill for supervision of small business is right here in our banks, credit union, the NDFD. I suppose supervising would take a little will. Somebody would have to get up and actually work so it did not happen. If someone comes to you with a plan that requires $15 000.00 what is the point of giving them 5000 and turning your back?
- Bridges and roadways…should I expound on this? I mean you know of the 18 million dollar bridge in Roseau while most of the bridges in the north remained without railings right? You know of our roads in and around Picard?
- Hospital…Hospital…Hospital…even when Ross together with the rotary club fixed the accident and emergency section at the Portsmouth Hospital they did not see it as a cue. 18 years now, the PMH is being repaired, should I say more on this? What a waste! Colossal failure
- I mean you would vote with Venezuela against those people all the time! Little things I say, little things!
- I don’t hate this government. They hate me!
So yes, I am saddened but not surprised, my hope is that we learn from this, that we pick up the pieces that we eradicate this party loyalty foolishness from our consciousness. That we become engaged in our politics and our community. Charity is important but it cannot be our mechanism for growth. Communism they building in our face! We cannot allow any government to sit there and be complacent. Fact- the school grew but we did not.
Anyways I promised today I would only reminiscence and be grateful for the benefits of Ross. …..Were you seriously feeling sorry for him with his wet shoes? Lol you shed a tear didn’t you? The man would sometimes compare himself with God and Dominicans “a God fearing people” would cheer. I could go on and on but today I am reminiscing with my parents and siblings on the good run we had at Ross and choosing to say thanks. We are a fearless bunch and will not give up.
It truly feels like a wake and my heart goes out to all those who have been affected. But please don’t cry for too long. There is a saying when it rains it pours. Brace yourself and take the pouring, It is difficult but wake up, dust yourself and let’s stop the hemorrhage together. Let’s make the necessary adjustment; change is our only constant.
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