The Unwarranted and Revealing Disrespect to Montserrat Icon Kenneth "Yogi Laser" Greenaway

The Unwarranted and Revealing Disrespect to Montserrat Icon Kenneth "Yogi Laser" Greenaway

Kenneth "Yogi Laser" Greenaway is a National Icon!

It has been a most unfortunate observation to see the level of disrespect and mud-slinging being delivered to Montserratian born Guinness World Record holder, Kenneth "Yogi Laser" Greenaway, over these past days.

To see the level of vitriol being spewed against the man known to many as Yogi Laser, for stating his grievance, via social media, at the alleged treatment he was given by local immigration on island upon returning, is an appalling testimony to the lack of nationalism and disrespect too many Montserratians show towards persons who have contributed to the national development story.

Despite the recriminations and verbal abuse showed towards Yogi Laser, the man is a National Icon!

To be featured as a Montserratian in the Guinness Book of Records is an achievement that is not given to undeserving individuals, but rather to persons who test limits and put in hard work, discipline and dedication to their chosen craft, so as to draw the attention of the Guinness Record Book officials. Kenneth Greenaway is one such person, and anyone who states that he should not be celebrated for this is possibly bereft of a moral conscience towards what this man represents.

The matter of Yogi Laser's treatment at the port of entry on Montserrat by Immigration officials - MNI Media has researched both sides of this story from official sources  - both Yogi Laser's and also the side of the Immigration official on duty that evening.

What we have here in this situation is a clear need for training and a review of the immigration system upon entry for born and bred Montserrat citizens. It is very disheartening that a person born on Montserrat, who is returning home; one who has property and other such interests on the island, that they should be discussed and dismissed in the terms such as how Yogi Laser has been treated in recent days.

The issue of returning Montserratians feeling unwelcome in their own country is not a new issue being brought up by Yogi Laser's situation, as this has come to the fore many times before. I recall during the Reuben T Meade Administration, it was even brought to his attention that immigration officials who may not be of local origin are bordering on rude and oppressive towards Montserratians who were returning home. Today, we see with Laser's situation, the issue is back at the helm. It needs to be addressed officially once again. 

Who is right, or who is wrong has long stopped being the issue in this development; neither is it the point of this article.

What has now taken over is the lack of pride of place, that seemingly many people are happy to delight in, to be displayed towards Montserratians who have gone out and achieved. This pride of place by all means should not just be for returning Montserratians, but also for any national who has achieved something of note contributing to the nation's development. They should all be treated with regard and due respect, and ought to be celebrated on the national front continually.

How else does the country expect to enshrine Nationalism and a Montserrat first mentality? By continually disrespecting our own? To call them all manner of filthy names on social media, and question their right to be considered a national hero, when they clearly have demonstrated that they have earned it?

What has happened to Yogi Laser is wrong. He was once appointed a cultural ambassador because those who gave him this honour saw value and merit in what Yogi brought to the table in propelling the Montserrat story to a wide audience.

Why do some on island find it so easy to always insult their own, and continue this ill-advised fight to be the star that shines the brightest from the island?

Division and professional disrespect will be the albatross around Montserrat's neck until we the people develop that inclination, with supporting action to be rid of it.

Is it because Yogi Laser is from the place once called "Trench Town", and is perceived to have come from a lower social class, than from the so-called elite family names on the island? If he held a different surname with different connections on the imaginary Montserrat social scale would he have been disrespected this way equally? Questions to ponder as we collectively search our national psyche.

Kenneth "Yogi Laser" Greenaway you are a Montserratian treasure! MNI Media salutes your achievement, as we have done before when first accomplished, and we once again place you as an example of dedication and a commitment to excellence to have been featured within the pages of the Internationally acclaimed Guinness Book of Records, amongst your other accomplishments.

Montserrat may very well have further shown it has lost its soul in the way so many have jumped on board to deride you as meaningless and unworthy.

Is this a sad development? Not so much as it is revealing towards who we are showing ourselves to be as a developing nation.


Note: Jeevan A. Robinson is Editor-in-Chief and Head of Business Development at Marketing, News & Information Media. He can be reached at jeevan@mnialive.com