Former Barbados Prime Minister, Owen Arthur, addressing yesterday’s annual conference of delegates of the ruling Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP), has asserted that in a real sense, the state of regional cricket is merely reflective of the state of regional society.
“As we painfully witness the dramatic decline of our performance on that field, the question can easily be asked, when last have we in the Caribbean produced an Arthur Lewis or a Derek Walcott? When last have we produced a Sparrow or a Marley?”
According to the former Prime Minister, it it may very well be that one of the torturous aspects of being small societies is that the region experiences the occasional birth of greatness which cannot be sustained for a variety of reasons.
He said that in almost every sphere of regional endeavor, it as if the vase of Caribbean development has been broken.
Earlier Arthur had quoted from Saint Lucian Nobel Laureate, Derek Walcott, whom he said in receiving the Nobel Prize for literature had asserted that the love with which a broken vase is reassembled is stronger than the love which was taken for granted when it was whole.
The former Barbados Prime Minister was of the view that the region stands only to gain by working in unity to confront common challenges.
“We live on what are really large rocks in the Ocean and as such, we also now have to come to terms with the reality that it is difficult and highly improbable to contemplate the development of strong and successful societies on what are no more than just large rocks in the Ocean,” Arthur told the SLP conference in Vieux Fort.
“All across the Caribbean, it is as if a vase has been broken not only because of the distressing state of the performance of the economies but more so because of the dramatic change in the circumstances that constitute the environment within which we, the world’s smallest and most vulnerable group of societies are now required to operate,” he said.
He spoke of a dilemma that exists nowhere else but in the Caribbean where on the one hand, the economic sectors which have traditionally been the source of livelihood in the region such as bananas and light manufacturing have gone into rapid decline while sectors such as tourism, intended to be the new sources of growth and livelihood have been losing market share in the global economy.
“Others like the offshore financial industry are now also facing continuous threats mounted by the advanced countries,” he said, adding that the region’s “sunset” and “sunrise” industries are both facing poroblems.
Arthur warned that if the uniquely Caribbean situation is not properly managed, regional societies can become failed societies.