|Volume No. 1 Issue No. 54 - Monday January 26, 2004
|And the Lord Made this Land |
by Dr. Gerald A. C. Grell SAH
"And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food: the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden."
It was Sir. Denis Byron, Chief Justice of the OECS Court of Appeal, who drew my attention to these descriptive words, at the swearing in ceremony of President Dr. Nicholas Liverpool.
In this quotation from Layfield, in his translation of the King James Version of the Bible, in the chapter of Genesis, he had in mind as he wrote, the incomparable forests of Dominica where he himself in 1596 had visited and described how "trees doe continually maintain themselves in a greene-good liking".
Adam Nicholson in his book, Gods Secretaries, said "The seventeenth-century English idea of Paradise, a vision of enveloping lushness, was formed by the seduction of an almost untouched Caribbean (Dominica)."
So, we can see that this land of ours, which we take for granted, and some even blaspheme, is a land made to Gods idea of a perfect place for man to live. Indeed, a land of wood, and water, and of paradise lost and found.
No wonder Ma Pampo lived here to be 128 years old. It is a land from whence no one wants to leave ! After all, the English Bible says it is Paradise itself, so where else is there a better place to be.
Thus, as we move into 2004, let us give thanks for our good fortune to live here, and, for our selection by the Almighty to have caused us to be born in Wytukubuli.
We have beautiful waterfalls, clean air, organically grown foods of all kinds, fruit, and fish, and crapaud, and cyrique, and agouti. Much to be thankful for.
We have a stable Government, have had the first Female Caribbean Prime Minister, we now have cruise-ships galore, Ecotourism Resorts, and bananas and dasheen, and exotic flowers, and sand and tarish, to export. And talented youth to be harnessed and given the opportunity to flourish. And, Indigenous Caribs to give us a sense of history. We are indeed a lucky people.
Bishop Gabriel Malzaire said in his New Year homily, by way of advice and food for thought that we should all remember and repeat: "What I can do I ought to do. What I ought to do I must do, by the grace of God." Let us take his counsel wisely as our guide for this New Year ahead.
I think that we should put our differences aside as we contemplate the New Year, and remember also, the advice of our President, Dr. Nicholas Liverpool, in his inaugural address "if you are not against us you are with us". He had in mind a strong Nation with Citizens working collectively for the common good. Each producing for the benefit of all. Each loving their neighbor like themselves.
Unfortunately in a peaceful society, like Dominica, people are sometimes inclined to wage war against themselves. While in war torn countries, the population fight perceived outside aggressors, and unify to do so. Some politicians overseas, even wage war just to keep their own people together! So we should be mindful of this, and join hands, and strive for peace, and not kill one another in gang wars motivated by greed for money, and fueled by drugs.
Let us remember the words of Emerson White:
"Greatest of all forms of wealth
Is the wealth of kindness.
Material goods are riches
To fools only."
The senseless killing in Tarish Pit and Gutter village on the second day of this New Year is a disturbing beginning to 2004. We must make it the last such internal war against ourselves, and let love and kindness be our guide.
To continue to keep Dominica as the Paradise it was intended to be, we must ensure continuous peace and safety for all. We must respect the rights of others.
Then, we must have a wider social responsibility. We should for example, work to keep our environment clean and healthy for the benefit of all, locals and tourists alike. We must conserve the plants that protect the soil from erosion and so prevent land-slides and the loss of life and property, as recently happened on the Bellvue-Pichlen road.
And as we develop our tourist industry, we must be mindful to keep those ecotourism resources in their original state, to ensure the sustainability of that economic gem for future generations. The Ariel Tram is an excellent example of a venture which has captured the imagination of our nature lovers and visitors, while at the same time leaving almost intact, our virgin flora and fauna.