|Girls may run the world, but College boys rule St Lucia! Which is why it is so important that they are not trained to be backward, obedient little robots.|
College Boy. Probably thinks boys should cut their hair. But probably doesn't think boys should be kept out of class. Broke the rules by daring to be something everyone said was impossible.
College Boy. Insisted that progressive (not backward) education is the most important thing for poor people.
You cannot understate the importance, the influence and the power of the Samarians in St Lucia.
It’s a wonder that conspiracy theory never fingered that institution as a secret lodge for indoctrinating young boys into the power and money circles of St Lucian society. In effect, that’s what it is.
Think about this:
Out of seven St Lucian prime ministers, only two did not attend St Mary’s. One was an accident and the other was a genius who later elected to go to UWI instead of Oxford. There have been more parliamentarians who attended SMC than any other two schools on the island. Both political leaders of the two major parties are Samarians. In every single election that has ever taken place in St Lucia, a Samarian has been named prime minister, regardless of which party won. Except of course for that one Vieux Fort Comprehensive School boy who is still the only person at UWI to do a double major and get first class honors for both.
College boy. Broke the rules to liberate the peasant workers from oppression.
College Boy. Broke the rules by abandoning Flambeau for Labour just before the became the worst government in the small islands for the 21st century.
Samarians run the banks, the government and the biggest businesses and they dominate the legal fraternity, the magistracy and the judicial benches.
You cannot understate the importance and the power of St Mary’s College. It is the single most effective breeding ground for power in the Eastern Caribbean. SMC probably has the highest number of Nobel Laureates per capita of any school in the world apart from Harvard and Oxford.
To be the Principal of St Mary’s College is like being the Dean and the President of Harvard at the same time. It is a unique and rare honor reserved for the very, very few. In hindsight, I can see that every single Principal of St Mary’s College whom I knew personally was, at his core, a truly great man. Mr Mondesir, Father Clovis and yes, Mr Seon. They were all exemplary citizens, shining examples of St Lucian greatness in one way or another. I can’t speak for the reign of the Presentation Brothers, but for my generation, the black St Lucians who were the Commanders of Samaria have, without exception, been great men and gentlemen.
It is only fitting. For there can only be one Commander of Samaria at a time. He HAS to be a great citizen. He HAS to be historic in his own right.
My own Principal, the Great Michael ‘Kyak’ Mondesir, I judged rather harshly during my time as a quiet, young rebel at the College. I thought he was an old wacko who had nothing better to do than obsess about long tails at the backs of our heads, when our eyes were red and our thoughts well toasted, right before his naïve eyes.
With hindsight, I can see that Mr Mondesir was a progressive for his time.
He probably knew better than to ruin good boys for predictable acts of rebellion. He knew he couldn’t stop us from smoking ganja. He also knew he couldn’t give it the most tacit approval. And so, he held us by our little pony tails and ‘negotiated’ with us on several different fronts. He made us understand that we were not to take our stolen liberties for granted.
But I was never kept out of class for failing to cut off the stupid, vain piece of hair at the back of my head. None of us were. In fact, when we were caught making beast from class, the first thing he would do is send us back to class. Punishments would come later. Not getting an education was not an option.
College Boy. Broke the rules by challenging an extremely bad leader instead of being a loyal little follower like he was expected to be.
For years after not being allowed to graduate, I held Mr Mondesir in high esteem because in spite of our last great battle, I realize what he was one of the few people holding me back from the brink of a rebellion I had started too early. He held on until it was time to let go and he gave me a hard lesson on the way out.
But he never kept me from class. He never kept us waiting on the bench for hours. It was cane now or cane after school, but it didn’t take ten minutes for him to dispatch a student back to class. Much less to exile a form one from class for two weeks!
College Boy. And living proof the Walcott is no fluke or aberration. Breaks the rules by continuing to grow hair that Seon is convinced will open the door to hell and damnation.
The Principal of St Mary’s College and Commander of All Samarians carries a great weight. The future of a government, banks, the education system, the courts, business and commerce starts under his wing. In a way, everything depends on him. He can create a climate that perpetuates nonsensical, conservative values that cling to the past. He can foster an environment that embraces the future and cultivates true excellence. He can decide the balance of style over substance that will rule society for decades after he, himself, is dead.
The Principal of St Mary’s College, by being the common father and absolute general of these brightest little boy soldiers, has a responsibility to the future. The past may inform the way he deals with his responsibilities, but he has no responsibilities to the past, only gratitude.
The Principal of St Mary’s College has more of a duty to prepare the boys for the world of tomorrow. He has to be living tomorrow before they are so that he is prepared for the true dangers they face. He absolutely CANNOT be caught up in the past, rehashing values that have been shown to be irrelevant at best and flat out racist, at worst. He must be the one teaching the boys that what you are inside is what matters.
College Boy. Broke the rules by painting Mother Mary and the Christ Child, not just as Black, but as Lucians.
He cannot be the one who is standing up for an archaic policy of shaming black boys into covering their nappy heads, because it is not presentable. He cannot be the one encouraging them to negotiate with the stupidity of the status quo. He cannot be the one advising them to go only halfway into the future.
He ought to be the one telling them that these values are false and were meant to denigrate Africans down to their very soul and make them think they are ugly for life. He ought to be the one telling them that they are strong, handsome black men and they only have to make their inner light exceed their outer light and the kingdoms of heaven and earth will be theirs.
As for being the one who restrains them from the edge, as Mr Mondesir restrained me – Mr Rohan Seon ought to spend a lot more time focusing on alcohol and marijuana use by students than on the length of their hair and whether they cover it up or not. St Lucia has the highest lifetime prevalence of alcohol use among teens in the entire Caribbean and boys are most at risk.
Seek out those kids. They’re the ones who actually need your attention.
These kids with the hair and the braids and the plaits, they just need you to leave them the hell alone while they try to get some work done and finish off their youth without feeling like damned prisoners of conscience.
El Commandante - learning the hard way that you can't fight the future and escape unscathed. Finding it hard to accept that he is fighting for the future, not defending the past.