Alfred Leevy
Alfred Leevy

A declaration in the creole language, featuring as the national motto on the Coat of Arms of Dominica, commits our nation to an acknowledgement of the lordship of the Creator over the earth. This is indeed God-honouring and very good for Dominica. The expression, LA TER, in the motto, APRES BON DIE C'EST LA TER, must be taken to mean specifically our piece of the planet earth that the Creator has given us. And it is common knowledge that our land is unsurpassed in the grandeur and beauty of its physical characteristics.

I am, however, under the impression that we make only glib and passing reference to that motto, especially during the celebration of the Independence season. There is indeed a need for us to dwell on its significance in deference to the spirit that inspired the late and illustrious Edward Oliver Le Blanc to conceive that motto. In so doing, we would not only be perpetuating the memory of Le Blanc but would be giving all glory to the Almighty Father, who has lavished his love and care on this unique and beautiful land.

He cared enough for our land to have bestowed on it the richness alluded to in our national song: "Isle of beauty, isle of splendor, isle to all so sweet and fair, all must surely gaze in wonder at thy gifts so rich and rareā€¦"

If there is anyone who doubts that Dominica's physical characteristics are special, a reference to the seventh verse of Deuteronomy chapter 8 would dispel such doubt. The content of this verse is like a description of the Dominica we know, and it reads:

"The Lord your God is bringing you into a fertile land that has rivers and springs and underground streams, gushing into the valleys and hills".

God is indeed very good to us and we have every reason to express our deepest gratitude to Him for his favours.

On certain occasions a call is issued for us to put people first in our planning for the development of Dominica. While this can be understood in a strictly secular context and as a call to set aside selfishness and parochial considerations, it falls short of capturing the spirit of the national motto. The motto clearly states that God comes before the earth, which includes the people and things on the face of planet earth. We should therefore put God first in our national planning. This implies that we should become more of a praying people. When we do so, we acknowledge that He is in supreme control of things in general and that we can trust Him to guide our affairs. When we do so, we are assured of His continued abundant blessings and the kind of prosperity we yearn for.

I am accordingly taking the liberty to suggest in the national interest that greater prominence should be given to our national motto. There are things we can do to demonstrate to the rest of the world in no uncertain terms that we are truly a nation under God. For instance, we could erect a highly visible, towering monument at our main port of entry with the words of the motto clearly inscribed thereon.

It would also be appropriate for us to erect a similar monument in a location within our country's capital, perhaps in close proximity to the State House. Such a national symbol would be a constant reminder to us of our continued dependence on the Almighty God for all that we have and all that we are as a people.