Thursday, August 4, 2011

Friday Musings

Well, lookie here it's Friday again. Nevis is going to attempt to have their Culturama parade again (it was postponed Tuesday), and in order to encourage people to attend, the Premier declared today (Friday) a 1/2 day holiday. Jeez - if you're a business owner, 2 1/2 holiday days in 1 week is a bit much. Employees that are forced to work anyway (and would be since it was in their schedule to do so), now have to be paid time and a half. Ouch. I'm curious if this is a one-time holiday??

Writing I'm still playing ping pong with my editor with questions and answers, but the book is now being sent to a second-tier editor who will also be taking into account the book's formatting. I have to put together some pictures. Next week, the marketing aspects will be reviewed and a cover created. Getting exciting! It's been an interesting process and I've been really pleased with the amount of input I've been allowed and even humbled to note what the publisher's caught (I was going to self-publish with those mistakes??!!). I'm really grateful for this fantastic opportunity, whatever the book's sales/profits (although those would be nice too). Stay tuned for A Sail of Two Idiots...

Now, one of the reasons we chose St. Kitts out of all the other islands we visited was for its potential. Relatively new in its independence (mid-1980s), just coming out of the sugar cane industry (mid 2000s), etc., the island just seemed like one of the few places left that could be anything it wanted. Of course, so far the country has had mixed results. There's a lot that needs work (a friend has had his house broken into for the 5th time!!!!!!), but we see attempts being made in other areas.

There's talk of a cancer treatment/referral center (referrals to a more heavy-duty treatment place in Antigua). The PM here has discussed shaping St Kitts into a place to go for various medical procedures, but it's hard to picture with the current hit-or-miss hospital care situation. I guess private organizations setting up shop with their own medical staff would be different - but there's that have and have not thing again - rich people coming for care while locals get shoddy service. I think they'd have to set it up so that the private doctors would be required to volunteer time or training to the public sector or something occasionally.

There's draft legislation for harsh laws to stop the gang situation. Personally, I think if a cop or government employee/representative is found to be involved in gang activity (or money laundering), his sentence should be automatically doubled. That said, with the harsh sentences being proposed, St. Kitts/Nevis could end up with a potentially high # of its citizens (mostly male from teens to mid-30s) in prison (young fathers, working-aged potential tax payers, etc.). Just the # of people "harboring" gang members could be huge - the island is small, people know who's doing this crap, but they're scared so say nothing - we're going to arrest them? What will happen to the now father-less children? Can the country afford to feed/keep a large prison population? Who will staff the place? What happens once time is served? Will the convicted simply get more hardened while shacked up? Will there be education/training so they have a way to make a living when they get out? Who would hire them? Can (will) the police make arrests, let alone get convictions? How do you even prove some of the offenses being suggested? This is all fine for the creeps who have already gone "bad," but what makes a gang member? The education system here is really strange (there are different levels in each grade depending on how "smart" you are - there's an interesting post on this here) and should be reviewed big time. There should be more attention paid to drop-outs (before they get bored and in trouble). The policing and educating solutions need to be implemented simultaneously.

There's talk of a waste to energy plant. I love alternative methods to generate energy. My only question about this project is that there's a middle man for 25 years - the government (a government desperate for revenues). The energy is sold to the government and then to the customers. If the mark-up puts prices on par with current costs, big whoop. I guess it's worth it for a possible "greener" technology, but it would be nice if for once the end-users benefited financially from such a thing. The only reason organic food costs more than pesticide-laden produce in the U.S. is because the bad stuff is still being subsidized. If you switched the subsidies to the organic farmers instead, the costs would go down and consumers would switch. Who the heck voluntarily says "I'll take the stuff with the poison (or hormones or steroids or antibiotics if talking about meat) please" when given a choice? Or at least remove the subsidies altogether and give everyone a level playing field. It all comes down to $, so make it beneficial (or cost effective) for people to eat healthier. It's really not rocket science.

Anyway, there it is. My thoughts for the week. We're hoping for a dry weekend and some beach time and no thinking whatsoever. BTW, if you're on Facebook and like more introspective fare about island life from a Kittitian, Loughlin Tate makes some interesting points on all kinds of subjects pertaining to St. Kitts/Nevis (you don't have to be a "friend" to read them).