Thank you and sorry, Your Holiness

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Your Holiness, I would like to thank you for the eight odd hours you spent in our midst and for the peace and serenity you brought to the island. It was a balm, particularly after divisive forces that get hit by religious fervour every time elections approach had started using religion for their own benefit.

Thank you for highlighting our unity as a people. We have indeed achieved a social miracle which you saw in action with the harmony amongst the multitudinous communities making up our rainbow island. It is unfortunately a miracle that transpires only when unifying events happen on the island. Your visit is one of them. Please pray that we don’t go back to our respective compartments as soon as politicians start exploiting our weaknesses.

Thank you for speaking up for us in relation to our long struggle to get back sovereignty over our rightful islands. The whole world heard your voice and the tone of your appeal. So conciliatory, so fair, so unlike the tap lestoma and acrimonious tone we are using over here.

Thank you for speaking on behalf of the poor and the underdog. Your reflection on the type of development we are pursuing is timely. We are investing billions in tramways and smart cameras to spy on our citizens while those at the bottom of the ladder still helplessly watch their houses with their belongings being washed away every time there are a few drops of rain too many. We still have refugee centres where the most unfortunate are served a diet of water and cheap biscuits while their homes and everything they have worked for may be devastated by cyclones. And we are making this that much worse by continuous attacks on trees and forests meant to attenuate the risk.

“Keep praying for us, Your Holiness. More than ever we need your prayers.”

Thank you for highlighting corruption in unambiguous terms. This scourge can only be stemmed through setting the right example at the highest possible level. A prime minister and his son – today’s prime minister – who withdraw their money out of a bank that their government decided to close down in the middle of the night are not sending the right signal to those working with them. A new unelected prime minister who delegates a crony to negotiate expropriating someone’s properties under threat and fear is not setting the right example. A government that has made nepotism its credo is not setting the example. Nor is the constant refusal to be accountable when it comes to the way taxpayers’ money is spent. Are we then surprised that each one is following suit and trying to excel at the game?

Thank you for making us face the reality about drugs. Our country is being ravaged by drugs and our youth are slowly but surely being killed by those you rightly called “death peddlers”. Some of these are given free rein deliberately or through lack of action. All this is rubbed in through constant talk about kas le reins barons ladrog that families decimated by this scourge know is fake and unhelpful.

Thank you for the great lesson in humility you taught us and our leaders in particular. I hope they now know the difference between self-importance and self-worth. Though they will continue to sit behind drivers in costly guzzlers paid for by the taxpayer, they will at least – I hope – not get to feel so good about it.

Thank you for stressing the dire situation when it comes to unemployment. Figures are being tossed at us in the middle of an unpalatable spin about job creation. The reality as you know is that there is very little job creation. Those who are close to government are being thrust into a bloated civil service. The others are having some change thrown at them to secure their votes while keeping them safely entrenched in poverty.

I also want to apologise for the treatment we subjected you to. We blatantly turned a historic state visit into a family affair. And so the prime minister and his whole extended family, the acting president and his family hijacked you for egregious photo ops with you. No photos with former presidents, former prime ministers, current and former leaders of the opposition... no nothing. We felt your unease and embarrassment. As you must have realised, our government is shameless in treating the country as its own private property. I hope you forgive us as a country and that we meet again in better times. Keep praying for us, Your Holiness. More than ever we need your prayers.

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