By Denys Springer
Viewing prime minister Allen Chastanet’s update to the nation, October 11, 2020 – I could not believe that this was the same body autonomy who said so emphatically “I don’t listen … I let the jackasses bray”. However, last Sunday’s broadcast seems a replica to wave in the deep blue waters of the Caribbean Sea a drowning prime minister and the sinking ship of State, the United Workers Party (UWP) government.
Last Sunday night, Saint Lucians were dumbfounded with a mortified prime minister, whose bravado was silence to bashful apathy. He could not hoodwink many of the so-called mendicants and 43 percenters that previously gravitated to him, even if he is claiming that he is a product of Canada – but for preserving expired merchandise. Further, most persons who did not take time to listen, are now convinced the prime minister is pathetic – “not too smart” – and is now simply history.
The COVID-19 law, invalid and unconstitutional has destroyed any remaining respect the citizenry has for him. Moreover, the mantra – #Chastanetmustgo – illustrates that the political environment has changed dramatically. COVID-19, matters of the environment and the patrimony of Saint Lucia, coupled with arrogance and the dictatorial style of prime ministerial power is unactable to many.
Before introducing the COVID-19 law the prime minister should have considered the inclusion of civilian experts in public policy and law forums to buttress elements of democracy and what Tocqueville described as the quest for “the enlightened will of the people” and “a conciliatory government under which resolutions are deliberately discussed and executed with mature judgment”. Their inclusion also reflects what recent deliberative democracy proponents have envisioned as informed and reasoned judgements of the citizenry.
Public engagement in deliberation takes time and is likely to foster debates and controversies, but citizen participation provides an opportunity to converse, to learn more about policy issues and to hold political leaders accountable.
I agree wholeheartedly in public participation in decision making however, this should have been done before the hurriedly placed bill, [now law] that makes a mockery of the Constitution in sections 38 and 39. What it says to the man on the street is here we have a government who is not prepared to listen to anyone when they were asked to do so. Civil society, solidifies the prime minister’s infamous saying “I don’t listen … I let the jackasses bray.”
The electorate has taken note as witnessed in various polling data of a United Workers Party (UWP) showing defeat should general elections are called. The populist seems to have had enough dealings with authoritarian leadership and the hesitancy to move the UWP to the centre. Historically, a good leader in any decision-making process engages thought process, cause and effect and the opinion of civil society. In supervisory management and the psychology of management, 80 percent of communication is listening, yet we have a leader who simply refuses to listen to sound advice.
The prime minister continues to sidestep governance and senior minister Stephenson King. He however supported the government on the COVID- 19 bill in parliament, herein ‘Cabinet collective responsibility’. However, after the fact, says to the media, he believes that there should have been meaningful consultation. This did not go down well in Cabinet. It is alleged that the Indian God chastised and threatened to expel King from government. So much for our democratic way of life and what needs to be preserved.
Cabinet has become a sanctuary for ‘lap-dogs’ and the power of ‘Poodles’, overburdened, unable to understand much of what they read and the mindset to decision making. Some have admitted that they have signed documents without reading it thoroughly. Therein lies the infringing on our civil liberties, the rule of law and above all, the Constitution.
I am now more convinced than ever that the prime ministers’ appearance last Sunday, was a cry for help from the deprivation of human decency, constructive and objective thought process.
I conclude with a quote from Shakespeare Julius Caesar: “This is the state of man today he puts the tender leaves of hope, tomorrow blossom and his blushing honours thick upon him the third day comes a frost, a killing frost and when he thinks his greatness is a ripening nips his root and then he falls.”
Synonymous with the Chastanet-led government, Paul Joseph Goebbels appears reincarnated owing to the overt attempts at deception. However, whether in politics and/or business, deceit and corruption always run the risk of being found out and pilloried for their misdeeds. There lies the possibility with an outgoing administration and their cronies.