St. John’s Antigua- Ever since the first free primary school in the British Empire was initiated in a pilot scheme at the Johnson’s Point School in Antigua in 1894, the pupils were taught that they should keep the environment clean.
Under the Biblical adage that “Cleanliness is next to Godliness,” succeeding head teachers who had become famous for the control of their schools, instilled in their pupils that they should always be neat and tidy.
The legend of headmasters like “Stepshun” Stevens, Anderson Harney, A James, T N, Kirnon, JT Ambrose et al; of headmistresses like Mary Pigott, Avis Athill, Amelia Lewis, Hyacinth Walter, Gwendolyn George et al, have all passed on their insistence on personal cleanliness and respect for the environment.
In those days, there were no organisations like the Environmental Protection Agency or the Environmental Awareness Group, but it had been hammered into the heads of every primary school child that the environment belonged to them and that it was their solemn duty to keep it clean and to protect it.
Those were days that preceded the implementation of the tourist industry in which we were impelled to sell the existence of sand, sea and sun as a prime prerequisite to the enjoyment of a visit to a clean, healthy, pretty and aesthetically pleasing Antigua & Barbuda.
I would advise my readers to read and study Roy Dublin’s Tomorrow’s Blossoms to awake to the realisation that our country is beautiful. Very beautiful. And what is more, it belongs to all of us, lock, stock and barrel. I know that people have called the area of Antigua ( beyond Cherry Hill ) originally developed by Ash & Watson as “South Africa” because access to some of the beaches has been blocked by the fake “make-believe” concept of a modernisation called “Gated Communities.” This does not detract from the beauty of the area. On the contrary, it rather emphasises its desirability by telling us that others who have come here have found the area to be most beautiful and want to keep it exclusively as their very own.
Laws do exist that can prevent such continued, illegal monopoly. Do we need others to come here and demonstrate to us, that Antigua & Barbuda is most beautiful? Ought I to remind us that – “The fault dear Brutus is not in our stars, but in ourselves that we are underlings?”
The fundamental question is, ought we to fix-up Antigua & Barbuda and make everything look nice and pleasing to the eye, mainly because tourists are expected to come here and because we want to satisfy them and make them happy? What about our innate sense of pride and beauty? What about our own concept of what ought to be? Have we ever heard the lines, “Breathes there a man with soul so dead, who never to himself hath said – This is my own, my Native Land?”
If we have never set our priorities right and placed our appreciation of Antigua first, then we need a psychiatric examination in order to correct our Global Positioning System and put Antigua first.
If we have ever travelled on the road that runs southward from Tammo’s Cement Manufacturing Enterprise, to Bethesda, we would receive a sharp stab in the heart, Merely from observing the acres upon acres of old iron that has been stored in that part of Lavington’s Estate. What an unsightly super-mess. And don’t tell me that nothing can be done about it! The Health Department can!
When I was in the political arena, I awoke one morning to find Radio Station ZDK blasting me about an old house on High Street that I was supposed to own. In my view, the house, built in the early part of sixteen hundred and something, needed two coats of paint to restore it to its prime beauty.
The more ZDK attacked me, the more obdurate I became. I sent several messages to VC Bird. One was by Major Dennis Gardiner so I knew that he got them. The crux of my messages was that “Me come from Grays Farm and that if he think he bad, stop attacking me on ZDK.” He should mount a bulldozer and mek sure that Lester, Vere and Ivor were on it with him. He should come and try to push down my place on High Street and we would know who was bad. Henson Stevens was my lawyer and I did not have to pay, so whoever come and try, what they get, they tek.
VC was badder than me. He simply told the police, “He is a trouble-maker. Don’t bother him.”
The matter did not end there. A few days later, a female came to my bakery to warn me about my Old House. I replied by asking her if she was male or female for, I was not sure who to tell my lawyer, had delivered the writ.
The next morning, I received the first two of several writs in which my house that was several hundred years old was deemed to be littering. VC Bird was shrewder than was thought. The Health Department launched a health blitz on my bakery and my reply was that if they wanted to hear my version, come to Parliament tomorrow morning.
The counter-attack that I launched on Cosmas Phillips, Lionel Hurst et al, was so blistering that my 65 by 36 foot, several-hundred-year-old house immediately ceased to be in a littering mode.
Every person will not find themselves in a position to make a libel-free reply to perceived trouble and wrong. However I am convinced that an approach by the Health Department will be able to stop and solve Antigua’s biggest twenty-first century environmental nightmare, with the utmost of speed