September 26, 2007

Edward Harris at Large!


My first order of business in this article is to extend condolences to Lady Janice Compton on the passing of her husband, The Right Honourable Sir John Compton, Prime Minister. These sentiments are also expressed to the members of his family. May his soul rest in peace.

They came from far and near to pay their final respects to Sir John Compton. It is like the old saying you never miss the water until the well runs dry. It is in dying that he lives. The tributes poured in, many who had so much negative things to say, all worshipped at his feet singing praises.

The monuments we cause to be erected, the legacy of our actions – was it worthwhile? That is the question that will be asked of each of us as we cross over the other side to eternity. I watched our deceased Prime Minister deliver his 2007/2008 Budget Address and it was nothing short of an anointed delivery that clearly defined the vision of a man sent by God whose name was John. Then I watched the funeral service where the life of this great Caribbean Man was shared with the world. St. Lucia stood tall in his life and in his death. To God be the glory!

Only a blind person will not be able to see the economic and social advancements of St. Lucia through the years. The vision of one man can change the world for good or for evil. Sir John Compton changed St. Lucia for the better. The challenge is ours to carry on the task of continuing on the high road of continued progress which he charted so clearly for us. It will take years of intense developmental work to complete the journey of the vision in the 2007/2008 Budget.

The sense of peace and stability which St. Lucia enjoys is due to the vision which was implemented by Sir John Compton. Of course the state of well being of the nation is allowed because of the fact that democracy is at work in St. Lucia. The opposition parties in spite of their dissatisfaction from time to time have not made any serious attempt at destabilizing the Government of the day, be it SLP or UWP.

A perfect vision must be built on a platform of giving back – caring and sharing. Sir John Compton affectionately referred to as the Father of the Nation cared for the people of St. Lucia. He shared his life with the nation, always seeking out ways to improve living conditions. He placed service above self. As we go forward, we will need to change the way we think and act to a large extent. It cannot be business as usual. The wind is beneath our wings, let us soar to new heights. Let the out pouring of love for our deceased Prime Minister be translated into action.

In relation to the private sector, I recall the days under the UWP administration led by Sir John Compton when local manufacturers were protected and given approved industry status that guaranteed that the local market demand would first be met by the locally produced products. Those years will never return unless we decide to isolate ourselves from the WTO regulations. The ongoing negotiations with the EU will necessitate putting country before self and the legacy of Sir John Compton in this regard should be the guiding principle.

The work of his successor, Honourable Stephenson King, newly appointed Prime Minister is cut out for him and his task could be made easy if the level of respect given to Sir John Compton at his passing could be translated into working to achieve his dreams for a better St. Lucia.

Sir John Compton was named Man of the Century in the St. Lucia context by one of our local publication and it was fitting that he got the Funeral of the Century.

Let us all look to the future with hope and do everything to ensure that the life and work of The Right Honourable Sir John George Melvin Compton was not in vain.

Remember always to Keep the Faith, God is in Charge and expect Miracles in 2007!

Edward Harris

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