Sunday, February 24, 2013


RIP Norma Keizer

Last week my Girls High School family was thrown into mourning when the death of Mrs Norma Keizer, the longest serving headmistress (1975-90) of the institution was announced. All told she spent 36 years as a teacher at the school but prior to her teaching career she was also a student at the school. Norma Keizer strode the hallowed halls before my time but her shadow loomed large. From the time I entered the gates there was the Norma Keizer Resource Centre- a building that housed the science laboratories and the library to my right.  Prior to the erection of this building, the girls had to make the journey to the nearby Grammar school to use the Science labs. That situation irked Mrs Keizer who felt that we needed our own laboratories if our interest in science was to grow. She spearheaded a fundraising drive and got the government to match the monies raised and sometime in the late 80's the labs were constructed.

 Although she taught many subjects at the GHS her lessons went beyond the classrooms. An excerpt from her profile in the Centennial Magazine says  "The lessons she sought to teach did not confine themselves to the academics.  For example, in the 1980’s when Anita Richardson, a student at the school was brutally murdered on her way from school, she led the entire student body on a march through Kingstown to protest violence against women. On another occasion, she led the students on a march to protest a protracted and severe teacher shortage.  She felt that the marches were important not only to bring attention to their plight, but to instil in her girls an understanding of the role of social activism in bringing about change in society"

After leaving the GHS, Mrs Keizer's teaching found another medium as the Editor of the newly found Searchlight Newspaper. Instead of moulding teen-aged minds she was now shaping the minds of the nation.  Once a teacher always a teacher comes to mind. Mrs Keizer was loved by her students and I daresay their parents..Her students all speak of a woman who knew them by name and whose stare was enough to keep them on the straight and narrow. The stories are many and varied but the central theme points to the genuine interest she had in the welfare of her students and the mutual love they shared.

During the Centennial celebrations of 2011 I saw the reverence with which Mrs Keizer was treated. Everyone seemed thrilled  beyond words to see her as evidenced by the hugs, kisses and general well wishes for her health. I can still see her sitting in her wheel chair surrounded by adoring alumni  graciously signing copy after copy of the Centennial magazine.  Walk good, Mrs Keizer you served GHS and St Vincent well. I just wish I had the opportunity to have had you as my headmistress

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Another clean sweep

It seems like Caribbean politicians with the last name Mitchell are adept at  sweeping the polls. In 1989, St Vincent and the Grenadines' James Mitchell led his New Democratic Party to an emphatic 15 nil win. Ten years later Grenada's  Dr Keith Mitchell and his NNP party did the same and went one step better by repeating the feat in 2013.When a country goes back to an administration that demitted office under a cloud of corruption charges you know its replacement had to have lost the plot. It seemed as if practically every day there was some report unflattering to the Tillman Thomas administration and they paid the price.

As is to be expected tongues are already wagging about the lack of Parliamentary Opposition. Grenadians stupid-a charge that was undoubtedly directed at Vincentians when the same situation prevailed. Is the electorate really stupid for giving a party all the parliamentary seats? It's a bit of a stretch to call them stupid given that when you cast a vote you really have no clue how the rest of the nation is voting.Nobody knows beforehand that there is going to be a clean sweep. In other words you go in the polling booth and cast a vote for the best candidate/party that suits your mindset. The stupidity is the electoral system we operate under that leaves thousands without a political voice in the Parliamentary Halls. Constitution/Electoral  Reform anyone?

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