By Denys Springer
On economy and society, Max Webber was of the view that “objective understanding of reality can only emerge out of situations which permit open, endless and free discourse”. He went on to write that “the role of critical theory is to expose those features of social life which make communicative competence unlikely and which distort communication by ideological mystification. Discursive freedom is both the normative standard by which to evaluate social relations and the descriptive statement of how valid truth claims emerge”.
Therefore, I ask: how valid is the State of Emergency in Saint Lucia? Is it a deliberate ploy to restrict the campaign capacity of the opposition in the pending election?
On July 14, during my shopping expedition to the North of the island, I was rather taken aback to see tourist in-breach of quarantine regulations. I asked; are they not supposed to be in an “enclave” quarantine at the hotels? Taxi drivers and others replied – ‘things are not as we were told; meantime, the chief medical officer (CMO) is asking people to be on their safeguard, observe home quarantine and reported to the police tourist that walk about freely and nonchalantly.’
The State of Emergency has alienated the government sympathizers. In my discourse with medical and judiciary experts, they are convinced that this State of Emergency should be removed forthwith. Further, we are told that it has to do with the Cuban medical brigade who are here assisting with COVID-19 measures. This is another insincere and blatant dishonest reasoning by the government.
I, therefore, ask the government in all sincerity whether there is a reason scientifically, medically, or otherwise that still determines the State of Emergency. How can this country be governed any longer when the government is unjust?
Let me point out to those who seem to think that the power they have comes from them. From what I know, no power on earth can govern a human being however feeble, who withholds his or her consent. This is becoming a reality day by day, in the farcical “cat and Mouse” political game that is being played by the government using the State of Emergency as a campaign strategy because the omens are not looking conducive to them.
There is a public revulsion to this absurdity. I, therefore, say to the leaders of government that the people can endure that much, if the leaders are honest with them. Under the United Workers Party (UWP) government, values have shrunk. Taxes on the poor have risen to make the poor poorer. Further to that misery, is a classic case of magical illusion by giving two apples in one hand but taking five to with the other. Yes, many have simply been hoodwinked.
Due to COVID-19, citizens are faced with a serious curtailment of household income and the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side. Banana farmers have lost the market for their produce. The savings of families over many years are dwindling and remittances have reduced. More importantly, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim reality of existence and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist or a con merchant of a government can deny the dark realities of the moment.
It is no wonder Saint Lucia is under a State of Emergency that has no validity beyond hindering the opposition from coming together in large numbers. Yet, a desperate government is opening our borders to US tourist when Canada and Europe are closing them out, for example, Miami where the level of people inflicted with the coronavirus is at its peak.
What bothers me is simple. What are we leaving for our children and their children? Instead of building and pushing to develop this country to make it better the persistence of bad governance is simply destroying this pristine land of ours. Despite the blatant arrogance and inefficiency of this government nature still offers her bounty and human efforts must be multiplied to the realization that in feeding ourselves we can still have a healthy life – and importing less – our balance of payments will improve. This is still possible; however, food security must be part of the strategic plan.
Plenty is still at our doorsteps but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply chain. Yet, because of stupidity and arrogance and a colonized mind by those who lead the government, much of this bounty is used for horse racing and feeding horses instead of feeding the poor and vulnerable in our midst.
Primarily the problem that we face lies in those who are in charge of the fort who refuse to think of the whole but for the few which includes friends, family, and foreigners (FFF). The so-called rulers of the exchange of mankind’s goods have failed through their stubbornness and greed and incompetence. They have virtually admitted their failures and have abdicated somewhat from their responsibilities.
In certain areas, they have tried but their efforts have been cast in the patter of an outworn tradition of colonialism and the pattern of borrow and spend trickle-down economics.
The lure of money to induce our people to follow false leadership is widespread. The government of Saint Lucia has virtually resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence in the party and leadership. But the hearts of many like the civil servants, the nurses, the farmers, fishers as we saw at the Dennery fish complex, chasing the prime minister and his entourage with echoes of #Chastanetmustgo, against the backdrop of ( the privatization of the fishing industry, licensing of fish cleaning, charcoal makers and black pudding producers) by a non-caring government of the poor in our society.
A desperate government only know the rules of a generation of self-seekers and that of their colonials – profit over people. They have no vision and we have been told time and time again when there is no vision the people perish. Yes, the money changers of the government have fled from the high seats of our modern civilization, but we can restore ancient untruths of our forefathers and mothers. However, the measure of that restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values, more noble than mere monetary, and mercantile profit.
All is not lost when we have a humane and humble individual in the person of the opposition leader Philip J Pierre. A thinker and one who plans before a decision is taken by considering the rich, poor, the very poor, the top class, middle class, and lower class.
His decision making includes all the people and not part of. Therefore, happiness, as we are told, lies not in the mere possession of money but it lies in the joy of achievement in the thrill of creative effort by all in the society.
In concluding, I sincerely believe that where there is life there is hope and therefore, we are lucky to have a man of vast political experience who is with the people, of the people and by the people. If we are to have some semblance of normality and development, we can engineer that growth with a humble man – balanced in this thinking and has the attributes of a transformational leader, able to engage those around him.
Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar may have warned the government of Saint Lucia: “Oh pardon me thou bleeding peace on earth that I am meet and gentle with these butchers, thou art the ruins of the most beautiful country I have ever known. Wow to the hands that shed this costly blood, over thy wounds I do prophesy which like dumb mouths do opt their ruby lips to beg the voice of utterance of my tongue. A curse shall light upon the limbs of the men and women in the government, domestic fury and fierce civil strife shall cumber all parts of this country… That these foul deeds shall smell upon the earth with clarion men groaning for burial”.
During the last four years, Saint Lucia has been butchered and plundered by greedy men and women who are not nationalistic and capable of ‘Putting people first’.