Saint Lucia
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We still haven’t awoken or smelt the coffee!

Carlton Ishmael
By Carlton Ishmael

AS history would tell us, in the islands we were forever growing crops to export and whatsoever we planted was to send elsewhere as raw materials or produce, to be manufactured and possibly re-sold to us like cocoa powder and coffee.

We always seem to have the ideal conditions for producing, but not to manufacture, or becoming self-sufficient, to reduce our import bill at home and by extension improve employment opportunities in our country. Now, with little or no crops planted for the foreign market like bananas was, or sugar in the early stages, we are planting new seeds as in training our locals, with only one option to sell their services elsewhere.

Our manufacturing prospects still seem to be at a standstill and the only crop worthy of selling elsewhere, apart from human skill, is sea moss, which is now the new craze. Like our nurses and in some cases teachers, we are now venturing into technical training, and training our people to facilitate the hospitality industry all over the world with our people, because we don’t seem to have the capacity to keep them or grow fast enough to absorb them.

We get grants and if necessary loans to transform our youth into desired candidates for the same First World that has exploited us throughout the years, but we do not see new industries or factories being built or established with the goal of being self-sufficient at home.

Many scouts for universities of a foreign base are making themselves available, forever ready to grab, or offer better opportunities, especially for living in their countries. Now visas are being lifted, information technology is at our fingertips to access all the opportunities that will offer us a better living, once it is not at home.

As long as the best that we have keep moving on seeking greener pastures and a more lucrative life abroad, our plight will continue. As long as we are the training ground for employment for the First World, we will get all the help we need especially through our political system, that cannot see the bluff, nor find use for our nationals to progress within our shores at home.

We do not build for ourselves, we rather build for others, we import rather than make for our own use, as it is easier to import than to be the exporter of goods — and we surely do not mind exporting persons in the absence of crops.

When will we wake up and smell the coffee? When will we see the international bluff? When will we realize that the foreigners are establishing shops and their own livelihoods here, while we send the best of what we have elsewhere? Our sportsmen and women can only be exalted if they play for foreign teams, we see ourselves as too small for greatness at home, and feel sure we will be better rewarded if we apply our skills elsewhere, as there is nothing at home to hold on to, because we will always remain underdeveloped.

We cannot see value in ourselves and making home-grown talent worthwhile to keep.

We need to get rich, go to the best universities, become Mr and Mrs ‘Out There’ and we think that only then we may consider returning to contribute, or just simply stay where the benefits are greater.

But one of these days we will get caught in the crossfire, and when the wars have unfolded and the world erupts we too will be in the firing line and it is only then we may see the folly of our actions, but by then it just may be too late.

We have always been known in some circles as persons living in paradise, but most of us are being deceived and given a different view point, indoctrinated if I may say, because of the lack of forward thinking by our political directorship or the ability to think outside the box.

Thus, the slave trade continues, but we are not bounded by chains, and most people cannot see the affliction or being a product of mental slavery, so we let the smiles and the great conspiracy continue to confuse us.

We don’t seem to have the capacity to think for ourselves, so we need to be told or guided by the hand, or believe in what others tell us. This is so sad….