April 26, 2007



April 25, 2007 was the date on which the long awaited 2nd Semi Final Match in the World Cup Cricket 2007 series was played. Yours truly was there to test the system and witness the match between Australia and South Africa which was won by the former. I guess that many who saw confusion and hitches of all types were surprised to witness the smooth execution of the day’s activities. The traffic flowed, the people were well behaved and St. Lucians can proudly say that our people have the ability to deliver on their promise and exceed expectations.

Since my accident, I always check to see what arrangements are in place for physically challenged persons. On arrival at the Beausejour Cricket Ground, I noted that it was a little distance to the Stands and I promptly requested assistance to get there. After a few minutes, I was given a Golf Cart ride to the Gros Islet Stand where I spent most of the time in the Fans Tent networking and catching up on the politics of the moment, and the Budget.

I listened to most of the presentations of the Parliamentarians who had one hour to do so and in some cases extensions were sought. Has this new approach enhanced the debate? The debate was generally of a high standard, with few exceptions. If this system is going to be continued in the future, Members of Parliament will do well to receive some training from Toastmasters on the art of better listening, thinking and speaking and the ability to use eye contact, voice modulation and body language, and finally to stand up, speak up and shut up. In three months, one meeting per week of two hours duration will go a long way to enhance the quality of presentation by Parliamentarians. Toastmasters’ Training produces Miracles in transforming fearful speakers to confident, dynamic speakers.

The Diplomatic maneuverings by China and Taiwan was put to rest in Hon. Rufus Bousquet, Minister of External Affairs, Internal Financial Services, Information and Broadcasting speech during the Budget debate. Taiwan will establish diplomatic relationship with St. Lucia.

The present Government led by Sir John Compton has its work cut out. The projects proposed seem to set an Agenda for the entire five year term. St. Lucia can achieve substantial developments in the future as long as there is VISION and political will by the leadership. The Bible says young men dream dreams and old men see visions. The House of Parliament has a fair share of youth and experience to ensure the hopes and aspirations of the nation will be realized.

I was heartened to note that it was recognized by the Prime Minister in his presentation that the Private Sector is the Engine of Growth. It is time for the sector to be given the support it needs at the institutional level. The Associations serving the private sector must be strengthened to execute programmes on guidance and training to businesspersons. The promise of a Development Bank is welcomed but consultation with the stakeholders’ associations should be undertaken before the final draft of the banks mode of operations decided upon. It is vital that the bank be established with a full understanding of the needs of the micro, small and medium enterprises. This is a special bank that should be established to meet the needs of its potential borrowers and their special circumstances. It should not operate as just another bank, it must be prepared to deal with risks. The rules of engagement have to be different.

The Budget has provided a blueprint which I hope is not set in stone and amendments could be made. It would be great if the people could be given an opportunity to discuss the Budget in town hall meetings. This would be a truly democratic approach and the people through this medium will be better informed and feel a part of the decision making process.

On a closing note, while watching the 2nd CWC 2007Semi Final Match I saw something which struck me. All the players were slim. I feel it is time to stage one day matches for Obese people. It will give them an opportunity for another form of exercise. The wrestlers have a special category for the big boys. Think about it. Blind persons now play cricket. It is time for us to extend the possibilities for persons to get involved in the game.

It was an interesting week while the nation dealt with serious business, the party continues.

Keep the faith, God is in Charge, Expect Miracles in 2007.

Edward A. Harris Email: eaharrisdestiny@gmail.com Website: http://www.stluciasimplybeautiful.com

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