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Montserrat’s National Awards in a Volcanic Context

by Claude Gerald

Claude Gerald

Claude Gerald

Stripping away the obvious political motivations of last year’s inaugural National Awards Ceremony allowed for a cleaner, more sharply focused event in 2015.

The framework for analysis is the before and the after volcano eruption periods.

Giving thanks is an act of divinity. Individuals who stand out in their contributions towards widening the circle of our social advancement; whose lives represent unpaid sacrifices in service to the development of a variously challenged island, ought to be hailed as continuing examples of sustainable social progress and enlightenment.

Montserratians must wrestle with no less than three award ceremonies of a nationalistic flavor each year: the enduring Funky-man awards started over three decades ago and remains a fixture on year end celebrations; Her Majesty, the Queen continues to rubber stamp nominations subject to local machinations and of course this latest attempt to disguise our pretenses on nationhood.

The more the less is not the desired goal but it is the reality; we will do good to embrace the thinking of Albert Einstein: everything should be made as simple as possible but not simpler.

Our population, though relatively more dense hovers in the 5000 region and less than one half of the pre-volcanic statistic. Unofficial estimates offer that non-natives of a wider Caribbean basin outnumber the local population by impressive margins. The society is a melting pot of cultural configurations, unimaginable to social planners gifted with keen foresight twenty years past.

We rest in blissful comfort at the rapid social changes with no vocal attempts to analyze their ramifications. Things run us as we tell ourselves that relinquishing control of the makeup and continued evolution of a society is the way to go; we take it as it comes just so; and the political framers that now construct our static existence dance with it in an inoffensive way, to maintain their hold, on the power and purse strings in national underdevelopment.

The question is thus posed as to the sustainability of these awards if the desire is to foster credibility beyond the feel-good-feeling and sense of occasion that such events afford. Annually choosing from this narrow pool can diminish the essence of the award’s spirit.

The politics and the economics of size are already central to the determination of a viable path of the island; this is needed to counter emerging social stresses that require wholesome thinking not entirely beyond our reach: if only we know it, by conditioning our thinking outside the individual good. This notion is hard to dispel after it was firmly planted in the psyche of a gullible electorate, in the wake of the outcome of the mother of all election battles, in November 1978 that announced the reign of a virtual Methuselah on a yet rudderless Montserrat.

On examination, to maintain the status quo, the ridiculous possibility of having to recycle awardees is an option. Alternately the stage is set to dumb down nomination requirements, thus in short order allowing for an increasing ratio of awardees per head of population; a concept that is remarkable to contemplate.

Much is at stake.

The competent Awards Committee, with another year to the completion of its mandate, ought to know that discretion is not necessarily part of valour. It is expected to not only competently abide by guidelines set for the different classes of awards but use its discretion to ensure that the process and end result will set the bar heavenwards.

The awardees must fit the lock and key principle without any shadow of a doubt. No gratuitous selection designed to massage egos is permissible.

Many a Montserratian has given yeoman service to the cause of our island’s propulsion, at great personal sacrifice. Sacrifice embraces the concept of being voluntary in nature, good natured, with a firm philosophy of dedicated service to the welfare of our people.

Contributors who have departed this life but who have made sterling impacts in the struggle to advance a people in the pre-volcanic period ought to be eligible.

No man alive in this new hard fought dispensation, who has not contributed to it; with presence unfelt and who has not borne and shared the fluctuating pains and sufferings of a people, for the last 20 years, should ascend the stage to claim proprietorship of any national award. No genuine experience with people who stayed and build with their backs to the wall: diehards who bobbed and weaved, sneezed and masked, screamed and died, to ward off a cataclysmic act of nature at its creative worst.

That is tantamount to a sacrilege and it cannot be ignored as easy as that.

The committee must have had pause. If not it must be roundly condemned for allowing the snaking in of the Distinguished Order of Merit to a pre-volcanic stalwart in the area of communications. With 20 years of cold silence except for being desirous of ‘I want to remember Montserrat as it was’ the committee has spoilt the plot, set bad precedence in entitling this award and has brought discredit to the ‘Spirit of Montserrat’ in the award processes.

The thought of an award, no doubt jogged memories of a homeland and urged a flight to frolic in the glamour of the occasion.

The idea of being Montserratian is not an adulterated construct. The yolk is the key to the identification of the egg of an organic Montserrat. It is inseparable. To gain its recognition requires that you mold and preen its feathers with tenderness and consistency, as flippancy is a sure recipe to her rejection and a strenuous recall of her undeserving recognition.

When the gospel of Montserrat is preached there must be no half measures in recognizing its maternal gifts to us. Anything done on its behalf must reflect our higher selves. Only then can this mutual partnership thrive for our collective good.

Claude Gerald is a social commentator on Montserrat. Ceegee15@hotmail.com

 

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by Claude Gerald

Claude Gerald

Claude Gerald

Stripping away the obvious political motivations of last year’s inaugural National Awards Ceremony allowed for a cleaner, more sharply focused event in 2015.

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The framework for analysis is the before and the after volcano eruption periods.

Giving thanks is an act of divinity. Individuals who stand out in their contributions towards widening the circle of our social advancement; whose lives represent unpaid sacrifices in service to the development of a variously challenged island, ought to be hailed as continuing examples of sustainable social progress and enlightenment.

Montserratians must wrestle with no less than three award ceremonies of a nationalistic flavor each year: the enduring Funky-man awards started over three decades ago and remains a fixture on year end celebrations; Her Majesty, the Queen continues to rubber stamp nominations subject to local machinations and of course this latest attempt to disguise our pretenses on nationhood.

The more the less is not the desired goal but it is the reality; we will do good to embrace the thinking of Albert Einstein: everything should be made as simple as possible but not simpler.

Our population, though relatively more dense hovers in the 5000 region and less than one half of the pre-volcanic statistic. Unofficial estimates offer that non-natives of a wider Caribbean basin outnumber the local population by impressive margins. The society is a melting pot of cultural configurations, unimaginable to social planners gifted with keen foresight twenty years past.

We rest in blissful comfort at the rapid social changes with no vocal attempts to analyze their ramifications. Things run us as we tell ourselves that relinquishing control of the makeup and continued evolution of a society is the way to go; we take it as it comes just so; and the political framers that now construct our static existence dance with it in an inoffensive way, to maintain their hold, on the power and purse strings in national underdevelopment.

The question is thus posed as to the sustainability of these awards if the desire is to foster credibility beyond the feel-good-feeling and sense of occasion that such events afford. Annually choosing from this narrow pool can diminish the essence of the award’s spirit.

The politics and the economics of size are already central to the determination of a viable path of the island; this is needed to counter emerging social stresses that require wholesome thinking not entirely beyond our reach: if only we know it, by conditioning our thinking outside the individual good. This notion is hard to dispel after it was firmly planted in the psyche of a gullible electorate, in the wake of the outcome of the mother of all election battles, in November 1978 that announced the reign of a virtual Methuselah on a yet rudderless Montserrat.

On examination, to maintain the status quo, the ridiculous possibility of having to recycle awardees is an option. Alternately the stage is set to dumb down nomination requirements, thus in short order allowing for an increasing ratio of awardees per head of population; a concept that is remarkable to contemplate.

Much is at stake.

The competent Awards Committee, with another year to the completion of its mandate, ought to know that discretion is not necessarily part of valour. It is expected to not only competently abide by guidelines set for the different classes of awards but use its discretion to ensure that the process and end result will set the bar heavenwards.

The awardees must fit the lock and key principle without any shadow of a doubt. No gratuitous selection designed to massage egos is permissible.

Many a Montserratian has given yeoman service to the cause of our island’s propulsion, at great personal sacrifice. Sacrifice embraces the concept of being voluntary in nature, good natured, with a firm philosophy of dedicated service to the welfare of our people.

Contributors who have departed this life but who have made sterling impacts in the struggle to advance a people in the pre-volcanic period ought to be eligible.

No man alive in this new hard fought dispensation, who has not contributed to it; with presence unfelt and who has not borne and shared the fluctuating pains and sufferings of a people, for the last 20 years, should ascend the stage to claim proprietorship of any national award. No genuine experience with people who stayed and build with their backs to the wall: diehards who bobbed and weaved, sneezed and masked, screamed and died, to ward off a cataclysmic act of nature at its creative worst.

That is tantamount to a sacrilege and it cannot be ignored as easy as that.

The committee must have had pause. If not it must be roundly condemned for allowing the snaking in of the Distinguished Order of Merit to a pre-volcanic stalwart in the area of communications. With 20 years of cold silence except for being desirous of ‘I want to remember Montserrat as it was’ the committee has spoilt the plot, set bad precedence in entitling this award and has brought discredit to the ‘Spirit of Montserrat’ in the award processes.

The thought of an award, no doubt jogged memories of a homeland and urged a flight to frolic in the glamour of the occasion.

The idea of being Montserratian is not an adulterated construct. The yolk is the key to the identification of the egg of an organic Montserrat. It is inseparable. To gain its recognition requires that you mold and preen its feathers with tenderness and consistency, as flippancy is a sure recipe to her rejection and a strenuous recall of her undeserving recognition.

When the gospel of Montserrat is preached there must be no half measures in recognizing its maternal gifts to us. Anything done on its behalf must reflect our higher selves. Only then can this mutual partnership thrive for our collective good.

Claude Gerald is a social commentator on Montserrat. Ceegee15@hotmail.com