St. Vincent and the Grenadines recently celebrated its 42nd Independence Anniversary. Many Vincentians saw it as a time for frolic and enjoyment, many spent time with family and friends while others saw it as a time of reflection regarding our development trajectory and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the recent volcanic eruption on the nation.
It is also a time when many reflect on the service others render to our nations development and look and consider such issues as national awards and national heroes.
Sometimes when we cast our view around we look for glaring heroic deeds to be recognized and miss the heroes of everyday life; people who do the small things that are necessary to hold the fabric of our nation together and they do this without expectation of reward.
On or about the 10th August, I was driving through Owia in the red zone and saw a number of young people cleaning the community. I was quite impressed and stopped and casually asked if they were employed by the government. I was told by one young woman that their representative had organized the clean up and had hired them.
I was pleasantly surprised, because I had privately expressed the view that the government should employ the young people in the red zone which would provide some meaningful employment to them and jump start economic activity in the areas most badly affected by the Soufriere eruption.
Wanting to express my support and appreciation for the initiative I reached out to a close member of the Hon Montgomery Daniel’s team and asked them about it. Well to my amazement he did not know of the initiative and was surprised that young people were working in the red zone and that they had no control over what was going on.
Mr. Editor, under further investigation it became clear that the initiative of putting young person’s to gainful employment in the red zone was the initiative of Sen. Shevern John.
I contacted Sen. John and learned that she had started the initiative over an abundance of concern for the young people who were just doing nothing on the block. Sen. John pointed out that most of the work the government did were done primarily by persons living outside the area. She observed that the young people from the community were left frustrated with nothing to do and little opportunity open to them.
Sen. John then sought and received funding and employed over 80 young persons in Owia and the surrounding areas for three weeks and was able to assist returning residents in cleaning their homes and surroundings from ash and other debris.
We must also understand that Sen. Shevern John had to evacuate her home during the volcano eruption. Notwithstanding this personal setback she was instrumental in providing food water and clothing to many persons from North Windward living in shelters and private homes.
If SVG had a national award system Sen. Shevern John in my view had met the criteria for national honours. This is the type of practical leadership that SVG needs in this time – Selfless patriotic service.
It may be early, but on the merit of her works, all persons in North Windward should give their unanimous support to Sen. Shevern John. If this is what she can do in opposition, during a volcanic eruption without government support, could you even begin to envisage what she can achieve with the resources of the government behind her? With Sen. John, I am confident Vincentians will marvel at the change and development in that part of the country. I am not talking a few bridges and a few hundred feet of roads every decade, I am speaking of personal and economic development that will positively impact the quality of lives of the people in North Windward.
For the 42nd Anniversary of SVGs Independence, I nominate Senator Shevern John for national recognition. Undoubtedly, “a breath of fresh air.”
The Vincy Observer
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