BRIDGETOWN: St. Lucia Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony says some Caribbean countries are refusing to face up to the impact of the global economic crisis.
“The tragedy of the times is that we are in the throes of a major crisis like the Caribbean has never ever experienced before, but we are refusing to face the reality that confronts us and all of us are engaged in one form or another of self-denial,” Dr. Anthony said in a lecture at the University of the West Indies last week.
Speaking on the theme “Education in the Caribbean – Challenges and Opportunities Facing Small Developing States”, Anthony challenged his regional colleagues to be honest about the hard and unusual decisions that must be made because of difficult global economic conditions.
“It is costly business to tell your people that things are hard, things are difficult and precisely because things are hard and things are difficult, you have to take unusual measures to deal with it,” he said. “But it is necessary that we do so.”
However, he acknowledged the region often closes its ears to frank and honest talk.
“We don’t like frank talk,” said Anthony. “We don’t like open talk. We don’t like honest talk.”
Anthony also expressed frustration that countries are focused on their own agenda rather than pursuing a Caribbean solution to the economic crisis.
“Everybody is busy with their own domestic agenda,” he said, raising concerns about what he called a mendicancy sweeping the Caribbean. “What has happened is that we have created an elaborate systems of mendicancy at the highest levels of decision making, percolating right into the political system at the lowest level, and if you want symptoms of what I’m talking about, these days you have to pay people to want to vote for you.”