“Niggas in control of employment”
Prime minister Allen Chastanet believes that he is somehow not just a prime minister, but that he is a King, or a Prince, or some other specie of royally entitled human being, with the right to refer to his political opponents and other nationals – all citizens of Saint Lucia – in such insulting and demeaning terms as “jackasses,” “mendicants,” “barking dogs,” “niggas,” “single mothers of criminals,” etc., etc., etc.
I do not have his voice clip calling us “niggas” but I have in my archives, in live and direct colour, that officially identified as “white-collar criminal”, Allen Chastanet, marching on the streets of Saint Lucia, side by side with an individual carrying a placard, which shouted “NICE: Niggas In Control of Employment.” For my Saint Lucian friends and family, and for those foreigners who did not know that he has been recognized as a perceived “white-collar criminal”, just visit google with some appropriate text of your choice and you will see what a distinguished Judge had to say about Allen Chastanet just a few years ago. If you wish to, you may simply google, “the Tuxedo Villas Affair.”
In 2016, when Allen Chastanet was marching against the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) administration (2011- 2016), the NICE initiative was one of the SLP’s key social safety net programmes. The National Initiative for Creation of Employment (NICE) was designed to create employment among thousands of mostly underemployed and generally unemployable citizens, thereby contributing to the reduction of the rampant indigence and social dislocation in our country.
The NICE, STEP (Short Term Employment Programme) and some other SLP initiatives, served essentially the same purposes as social welfare in such countries as the USA, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Japan, and other developed countries, except that in the case of Saint Lucia, recipients of such social welfare were put to work in many important areas of national infrastructural upkeep and development, in exchange for their “social welfare” cheques. Allen Chastanet, a ‘foreign-born’ but locally resident misfit, was clearly of the view that the Black Saint Lucian ministers and other top officials of the Saint Lucia Labour Party governing administration of Dr Kenny Anthony, were “Niggas In Control of Employment.”
The establishment of a relatively wider social safety net in Saint Lucia, in the 20th and 21st centuries, has been an objective and compelling necessity. This imperative has been a direct result of the fact that the education sector in Saint Lucia had historically received much less attention than was the case, for example, in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. In 1974, for instance, Barbados, with a population of about 190,000 citizens, already had 35 secondary schools. In that same year, Saint Lucia, with a population of about 150,000, had only four secondary schools. In 1974 therefore, while Barbados had a secondary school for approximately every 5,400 Bajans, Saint Lucia had a secondary school for approximately every 37,500 Saint Lucians.
The literacy rate in Barbados therefore was about eight times that of Saint Lucia. Today in Barbados, about 100 percent of the citizenry are fully literate. In Saint Lucia, only about 40 percent of our population is basically literate. Generally, literacy levels are directly correlated to employability levels, and so the typical Bajan would on average be eight times more likely to secure employment than the average Saint Lucian.
This was more or less the situation inherited by the Saint Lucia Labour Party when it removed the United Workers Party from power in 1979. In conditions of such high illiteracy, a political party with a patriotic and social conscience must create conditions for social welfare for citizens. The Saint Lucia Labour Party is such a party. Unfortunately, the SLP imploded only three years later, in 1982, and Saint Lucia spent another 15 years under the mis-management of the same tired, old, lawless United Workers Party, that had neglected the education sector for decades in our country.
By 1979, when I graduated from the SDA Academy, and started pre-university studies at the Saint Lucia Advanced Level College, at Morne Fortune, Saint Lucia still had only five secondary schools on the island: St Mary’s College, Saint Joseph’s Convent, SDA Academy, Vieux Fort Senior Secondary School, and Castries Comprehensive Secondary School, the latter a very recent addition (around 1979) to the secondary school infrastructural stock.
Today, 41 years later, the Saint Lucia Labour Party, founded by Comrade George F. L. Charles, continues to be a political party with a social conscience. The SLP continues to be the only political party in Saint Lucia with a proven track record of solidarity with the plight of the broad working masses of Saint Lucia, who were deliberately not given the educational opportunities that prime ministers Errol Barrow, Michael Manley, Forbes Burnham and Eric Williams gave to Barbadians, Jamaicans, Guyanese and Trinidadians, respectively, in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. The Saint Lucia Labour Party, in its quest to create employment opportunities for thousands of Saint Lucians who were deprived of a secondary school education during three decades of UWP rule in Saint Lucia (1964-1979 & 1982-1997), is the same political party that Allen Chastanet sees as the Party of “Niggas In Control of Employment.”
The anti-worker philosophy and policies of the UWP (United Wreckers of the Poor) are now self-destructing in a more enlightened age, and Allen’s present minions, notably Stephenson King – incredibly a former prime minister – and others, will inevitably decide that they will no longer keep his political company, and they will undoubtedly squeal, and they will confess to the people of Saint Lucia about the many other insults that Allen Chastanet has obviously been throwing our way in private.
I say that Steve was “incredibly a former prime minister” because “Steve” knows very well that such insults should not appear in the vocabulary of a prime minister, an employee of the very taxpayers he is insulting, yet Steve has sat silently in Allen Chastanet’s Cabinet on that score. Because if a prime minister can say in public about the official political opposition: “I don’t listen to them, I let the jackasses bray” then just imagine what he must be saying in private about the people of Saint Lucia, who, 58 years ago accepted him on our shores, ‘after his birth on a boat off the coast of Martinique’.
I know that former prime minister, Stephenson King, will be taking a lot of baggage along with him to his political grave, but I sometimes quietly wonder how “Steve”, as a Saint Lucian, feels about Allen’s brazen embrace of the description of Saint Lucian (SLP) members of parliament as “Niggas In Control of Employment.” As prime minister of Saint Lucia for nearly five years, Stephenson King knew that the preparation of the National Estimates of Expenditure (National Budget) was the responsibility of the Budget Committee of the public service. The government of Saint Lucia has never paid any external entity to prepare the national budget. For the first time in the history of the government of Saint Lucia, a private company was hired, by the Allen Chastanet government, to prepare the budget.
In his capacity as a former prime minister, Stephenson King knows exactly what I am talking about. As prime minister, he never hired a private company to prepare the National Budget, a task that the taxpayers have always paid their salaried civil servants to perform. “Steve”, I can never forgive you for your utterly coward and criminal complicity and conspiracy in the blatantly corrupt enterprise of our now most notoriously incompetent and inept prime minister, Allen Chastanet, in his contracting of a private company to prepare the National Estimates of Expenditure for the government of Saint Lucia.
As you know, “Steve,” this is nothing short of criminal, and constitutes corruption at the highest conceivable level of public sector management in our country, and perhaps will someday be called, to a court of law, to explain to the people of Saint Lucia, why you remained silent, as a former minister of finance, while this grave financial crime was being inflicted upon the taxpayers or our country. You will also be asked to tell the people of Saint Lucia whether you are aware of government officials who are partners, directors, shareholders, friends, family, owners, etc., of the private company in question?
This particular transgression of the government of the United Wreckers of the Poor, that is, the contracting out of the preparation of our national budget to a bunch of foreigners and friends of Allen Chastanet, is, by far, one of the worst insults to me, personally, as a Saint Lucian born citizen, and as a former economist in the ministry of finance and planning. This is one of the most brittle and insulting demonstrations by Allen Chastanet of his conviction that our sons and daughters who manage the business of our government, and our people, are “Niggas In Control of Employment.”