By Denys Springer
Kahlil Gibran caught my imagination when he simply asked, “Are you a politician who says to himself I will use my country for my own benefit or are you a devoted patriot who whispers in the ear of his inner self, I love to serve my country as a faithful server?
I, therefore, put that question to the Saint Lucian prime minister because he seems to be oblivious to know who he is. He seems to forget that the country he leads is a small one and that the major is its human resource and not slaves controlled by a colonial, imperialist leader.
I must now expose this prime minister for what he is regardless of his colonial predisposition, unlike the former prime minister whom he called Massa. It is now clear that he was alluding to himself. I can see is Massa; because we are supposed to be the jackasses that are braying while he does not have to listen. This prime minister also thinks that there is a cult about him that we must all bow to him (as he says, submit to him), but what he fails to realize is that only jackasses do that.
What he also seems to have envisaged is that on being selected prime minister was that the so-called jackasses would transform him into a superman, possessing supernatural characteristics, akin to those of a God by virtue of his colonial recreations, widely mentioned on his party radio and TV programmes.
Well, it simply did not happen and now the COVID-19 pandemic has given him a reason to take his revenge on those he presumed are lesser mortals. In his view, a person such as him is a man who supposedly knows everything, sees everything, thinks for everyone, can do anything, and is infallible in his behaviour. Instead what we have seen and have become transparent, is an individual who has exceedingly serious perversions of both country and party principles, and that of democracy.
At this juncture, I want to quote from the “Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy” written by Simon Blackburn who describes Democracy as “the rule by the people in general in contrast to the government by the rich and aristocratic. In modern society, the sovereignty of the people in general, expressed not directly by a vote on individual questions, but through representation. Questions arise whether various mechanisms ensure that decision-making authentically answers to the people, or serves their interest. The problem of delimiting a democratic constitution encounters these and other difficulties, critics suggest that political democracy is hollow unless accompanied by power in other spheres, and especially the area of economics”.
A study in the background of great political leaders indicates that they were voracious readers. But their reading was not escapist reading. It dealt principally with history and philosophy. There are increasing numbers of people, particularly in the Caribbean who are of the opinion that a political leader’s private life has nothing to do with his public life, more so, those who are prepared to kiss dark crevices to survive. That’s unfortunate since morality and public office go hand in hand. No chief executive, more so, a prime minister can gain respect if he does not respect himself as well as others. This is an apparent feature of the Saint Lucian prime minister.
In assessing morality, Ronald Kessler wrote: “It has become fashionable to take a position of neutrality toward morality and to withhold judgement unless an individual is convicted of a crime – such a standard gives politicians latitude to lie, cheat, and abuse their positions” as we are seeing with this prime minister and others in his Cabinet or certain positions of government. Many political leaders have indeed been accused of being arrogant; this arrogance of power seems to bedevil in the life of the prime minister, alongside his academic hollowness – lacking support and/or respect.
Eric Williams learnt that lesson when he adamantly stated, “when I speak let no damn dog bark”.
Again, some are of the opinion that more or less Caribbean leaders are nothing less than political bandits. Because, high political office in many cases, does affect the weak and it thereby fosters arrogance. And, if not checked, can lead to or be symptomatic of incompetence and disorganization. What this coronavirus has made clear to all concerned is that the government of Saint Lucia is clearly unable to give any clear direction and therefore is classical in what Healey’s first law of politics had to say, “when you are in a hole stop digging”.
The prime minister whom we call ‘Tropical Trump’ has dug his government so deep into a hole in this coronavirus pandemic, that an expert in the media, Winston Springer, had this to say:
“The incredulity of the latest statement by Allen Chastanet that there is no point in saving people if their livelihoods are affected during this pandemic is callous, nonsensical and downright just nasty. To his enablers who say he misspoke and taken out of context let me remind you of few numerous occasions and asinine statements emanating from the silver tongue of prime minister Chastanet (1) “Colonialism has a conscience” ( 2) the country has no money (3) I don’t have to listen to every dog that barks (4) let the jackasses bray (5) forty-three percent of Saint Lucians have a primary school education. The insults go on and on and should be put in book form for they are too numerous to mention. The American civil rights leader Martin Luther King whose birthday is celebrated [this month] is quoted as saying “we need leaders not in love with money but in love with humanity, not in love publicity but in love with justice.
“There needs to be an intervention by the prime ministers’ family to save him from himself and others as he will be soon be struck down with a severe bout of an identity crisis not knowing who he is. This guy is arguably the most dangerous, jealous, petty, unforgiving, vindictive, nepotistic, capricious bully without a shred of a conscience in the history of Saint Lucian politics. The parallels between Chastanet and the outgoing president of the United States of America, Donald J Trump is astounding. Chastanet when a society regrets its economic loss more than the loss of human lives it does not need a virus to know that it is severely sick”.
I include that the COVID-19 variants now emanating make you even sicker, prime minister.
What the prime minister fails to understand is that our borders should be closed for at least three weeks. This individual seems to think only of tourism because of his closeness to some hotel owners and himself. However, prime minister, we can also make money when this pandemic is over, but the loss of lives can never be replaced.
What must also be understood is that this virus is not here just for the poor but for everyone in this pristine land of ours. It is close to all of us. Let us, therefore, put our country first and like the country that you claim to be a product of – perhaps you learn something from them and close our borders.
William Lloyd Garrison was emphatic when he said: “With reasonable men, I will reason, with humane men I will plead, but to tyrants, I will give no quarter, nor waste arguments where they will certainly be lost”.
I believe he is 100 percent correct. But I cannot stand by and see the destructions of my country by the worst prime minister the Caribbean has ever had. An error in the historical footnotes of Saint Lucia history. It is my duty like I did for the UK to defend this pristine land of ours for my children and their children. And from the nincompoops with the audacity to open the race card in the politics of Saint Lucia.
By their words and deeds, this clearly shows the gross ignorance that prevails. Besides, while the majority of Caribbean countries have released themselves from mental slavery, some in this country have helped me to conclude that “he who pays the piper calls the tune”.
I am therefore convinced that associates, acolytes and the prime minister are linked in terms of being brainless. I, therefore, caution, at this juncture, sectional interest does not fit with a discordant interpretation of a COVID-19 society.