Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has urged his countrymen to change their bad habits in an address to mark this country’s 41st anniversary of independence.
He urged citizens to come together to get rid of habits that continue to stifle this country.
“Should we continue to drive as recklessly as we do? Look how many people, especially young people, have been killed in traffic accidents in the last five years, many of them talented boys and girls, some victims of recklessness and crass stupidity,” Chastanet lamented.
He asserted that figures for serious traffic accidents are on the increase, causing mayhem and grief for families and friends of the victims.
“How many people were killed because of personal differences and the inability to resolve conflicts peacefully? We have to develop the capacity to forgive and walk away,” the PM observed.
“Why are our young people choosing the path to gangs? The path to a life of crime and ultimately death? This has to stop,” Chastanet declared.
He said the pictures of young Brandt Jean publicly and in open court in Dallas, Texas, hugging and forgiving a policewoman who had shot and killed his brother, sent a powerful message of love and forgiveness to the entire world.
“But how many will follow his example?” Chastanet asked.
He noted that there are other dangerous habits which harm the country; like cheating on taxes, failure to collect taxes and dues owed to the government, whether it’s in hospitals, Customs department or the Police Department.
According to Chastanet, it cannot be right when 95 percent of the traffic tickets issued by the police remain unpaid.
“More and more the social problems confronting our country have their genesis in practices and habits that start small. We ignore them in our homes, in our schools, in our communities and the reality is it comes back to haunt us all,” the Prime Minister said in his address.
“When will it stop, unless we put a stop to it?” He asked.
The Prime Minister observed that the advent of social media has given citizens a great communication tool.
“But instead we use it to hurt each other, spread gossip and sometimes even malign our own country without considering the consequences,” he urged.
“It is time to change such habits. It is time that we together identify the simple ways in which we can all pull up our socks and do our part to make Saint Lucia a better place. This is what togetherness means,” the PM declared.
“This is a call to action; a call to develop a change in attitudes. Let us collectively take stock and recommit ourselves to Saint Lucia, to take control of our own destiny,” he asserted.
“The words of our national anthem were well chosen, in its call to all Saint Lucians to “love the land that gave us birth.” This is one of the basic requirements of true patriotism,” the PM pointed out.
“The words of our National Pledge also speak of the principle of nationalism, as we proclaim to serve our country “with pride and dignity and to defend it with vigour and valour in the pursuit of excellence, justice and equality for all.” The fact is that these ideals require discipline and commitment,” he stated.