The way I see it, the old adage ‘CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS,’ still holds true, even in this ‘modern’ era.
I had the rare opportunity to have a conversation recently, with former Educator, par excellence, Mrs. Hyleta Liburd.
We were discussing the issue of keeping Nevis clean. Now I thought that there was no one in the world who loves Nevis more than I do but the passion with which she spoke about our beloved Nevis, gave me goose bumps.
Here is a lady who genuinely believes that Nevis is a unique paradise, loaned to a few fortunate thousands of people, for them to be caretakers of, or STEWARDS.
Both of us believe, sadly, that some of us do not share the same zeal and passion, about this beautiful piece of rock.
We both spoke to the fact that too many of our citizens (not in the majority, fortunately), are still littering without a sense of pride.
People can still be seen throwing used tins, wrappers, the remains from box drinks etc, from their vehicles.
Interestingly, there is a Litter abatement regulation in place, which clearly dictates certain specific punitive measures, but with no one being punished, of course things continue and people become comfortable in not only breaking the law, but lowering the required standards for a clean, safe and healthy Nevis.
Mrs. Liburd spoke of the joys of doing her early morning walks and walking on stretches of road without seeing one bit of litter and the pain and agony of walking on other roadways and seeing the ugly reality of litter carelessly discarded along the pathways.
She spoke of the indelible imprint made by teachers and parents in her youth, that ‘when you make a mess, you clean it up and if you cannot handle the cleanup effort by yourself, get help in doing it.’
She noted that there were punitive measures put in place. For example, when someone failed to clean on the day scheduled at school, the punishment may well be, that instead of cleaning for one day, that individual may have to clean for an entire week and that person will be closely monitored to ensure that the job was done properly.
In those days as well, CHILD ABUSE was not yet invented and headmasters were known to mete out punishment with vigour and zeal, with some big, old straps, that stung when they COLLIDED with your backs.
Of course those persons who were always on punishment row, would come up with creative ideas to alleviate the pain, like stuffing their shirts at the back, with lots of card board but the wily headmasters would inevitably find them out.
Seniors statesman, Mr. Franklyn Browne, used to quip: “I have eyes in the back of my head!’
Well I newa!
There are also the truckers, who despite the Litter Act clearly stating that material must be duly covered, while being transported, in order to prevent spillage, persist in transporting such material without cover and thus creating hazards along the road and lots of unsightly spillage, which can lead to accidents, rodent and fly harborage and breeding and numerous other potential nuisances.
Mrs. Liburd believes like I do, that the children must be taught to be clean and tidy from very young and then ‘when they are old, they will surely not depart from it.’
We also concur that punitive measures must also be put in place.
For instance, when someone is caught blatantly littering, Magistrate Clarke, or whoever is in charge, could sentence that person, to the cleanup of Charlestown on a Friday afternoon, with a sign hung around the neck of the guilty individual: ‘I messed up my Nevis and now I have to clean it up!’
Seriously, those of you who are so minded to litter and throw stuff in the ghautsides and take stuff in your trucks, anywhere else, outside of the Sanitary Landfill, at Long Point, you better STOP IT!
Stop it now!
We can only benefit by keeping our homes clean; our yards clean; our island clean….and we are not doing it for the tourists. We are doing it for us and when the tourists pass by, they too will enjoy the beauty of our sacred space.
That’s the way I see it. How do you see it?