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Posted: Wednesday 1 June, 2022 at 11:32 AM

Country Above Self?

By: T. Coreentje Phipps-Benjamin, Commentary

    Once we lowered the Union Jack in September, 1983 and proudly raised a brand spanking new flag as a symbol of our independence, the citizens of the federation of St. Kitts and Nevis no longer answered to colonial masters. Instead, we vowed to bear allegiance to our own affairs. 

     

    Independence was the paradigm shift that loosened the colonial tentacles of Mother England, allowing our people to assert their own abilities to govern themselves. Or so we thought!

     

    We bravely touted a beautifully designed national flag, a national anthem, and our national coat of arms created by our own people! What a promising start on our independent journey. We convincingly proved we could determine our own destiny! Our coat of arms in 1983, replaced the previous one adopted in 1967 with the motto, "Unity in Trinity,” which represented our union as St. Kitts, Nevis, and Anguilla. 

     

    The irony of our current state of affairs is that even after two mottos created by our own people, we are still at odds with our own national goals. Weren’t we supposed to be better to each other, guided by the tenets of our mottos? Unity in Trinity- 1967; Country Above Self- 1983; Must we constantly challenge our leaders to hold true to the motto we pledge to follow?
     
    It’s easy to marvel at a McDonald’s commercial, which earned acclaim as the Fuzzy Math commercial. An older sibling splits her fries with her younger sibling, giving him what seems to be his “fair share.” He quickly realizes he has  less fries on his plate than his far from honest sibling has on hers. The older sibling thinks she can get away with tricking her younger brother, however, by the look on his face, he knows his sister is being dishonest. At the end of the commercial, big sister starts over, seemingly willing to do the right thing; willing, at the very least, not to take advantage of her brother.

     

    It seems Fuzzy Math has clouded the consciences of many of our leaders in St. Kitts and Nevis, undermining their own people in plain sight. Sadly, the cost the entire country pays for corruption is borne by the ordinary man and woman. But like the younger brother in the McDonald’s commercial, our people, can spot Fuzzy Math when they see it.  

     

    All of our nationals can eat, live, and prosper in St. Kitts and Nevis if only our leaders have the political fortitude to commit in earnest to service rather than breaking the backs of the poor by pillaging the spoils of our nation. 

     

    A slew of reforms are necessary to course correct the direction of our native land but we ought to first take a hard look at our nation’s motto; Country Above Self. It should serve as our moral compass or else it should be recalled. 

     

    You see, we will all die one day and we can take nothing with us beyond the grave. NOTHING! Not the pretty money, not the fancy car, not the house, not the offshore accounts, not the fine china. NOTHING.  But our legacy, our name, our honor, that’s what remains.  Why then do we crave material things to the point that we are willing to hurt one another or even strip the resources of the country for personal gain? No earthly possession is eternal. NONE!!
     
    Our people have many “asks” in this upcoming election but none could deny the “ask” that seems to resonate among the electorate, “When will our leaders serve without abusing power?” “Who will change the culture and address the failures in upholding our nation’s motto, Country Above Self?” 

     

    Many of us can recall a time when fast money didn’t stand a chance over pride in community; a time when love for beautifying  neighborhood gardens and community clean ups were staple activities several times a year.
    Understandably with time, people change but have we changed for the worse?

     

    In a little over a year, we will realize 40 years as an independent nation. Although we have made considerable strides over the course of our young independent nation, we have much work to do, particularly as it relates to our good governance agenda. Our demand to ALL individuals who claim interest in serving is simple; serve our people with honor, serve with loyalty to country; SERVE OTHERS, NOT SELF!!! In leadership, service of self will be bluntly rejected by the masses over service to country.

     

    If our leaders cannot stand tall with our nation’s motto, they will suffer the ultimate recall!!

     

    Country Above Self?
    https://youtu.be/SViUaDY0Xn0

     


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