Oswald ‘OzzieBoy’ Augustin ‘shallowness’ just can’t be helped

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Oswald 'OzzieBoy' Augustin

Dear Sir

The former chairman of the United Workers Party (UWP), a Party that has been around for nearly 70 years, a Party belonging to the “Land of the Laureates, could only produce irrelevant references, the worn-out “communist” crutch, and senseless diatribe, or what can collectively be encapsulated in one word, “crap,” borrowing from the name of his own article, pregnant with puerile political propaganda: “Pell Lansiquot And His Usual Crap.”

Oswald asks: “How can Pel blame unemployment and lack of education for unemployment in Castries Central?” It is sad to hear the UWP former chairman’s lame attempt to deny the vital nexus between crime and unemployment. It is universally acknowledged that there exists a fundamental correlation between unemployment and crime, anywhere in the world, even in countries where the unemployed receive social welfare support through government cheques, because such support is never sufficient, and some unemployed folks still cannot meet their needs and some of their wants. This is not an invention of mine or a product of my imagination.

Oswald’s lame argument betrays the same monumental “shallowness” that Winston Springer found in Oswald’s behaviour, when the latter recently attacked a distinguished Saint Lucian technocrat, Bishnunarine Tulsie, of Guyanese birth, simply because Tulsie and the Saint Lucia National Trust stood on certain points of principle in their relations with Oswald’s inept and incompetent prime minister, and the clueless and wayward UWP government. OzzieBoy descended into the gutter and invited Tulsie, a citizen of Saint Lucia for many decades, to “return to Guyana to help resolve Guyana’s political problems.”

Criminal activity becomes even more rampant when social welfare support programmes (like STEP and NICE) are arbitrarily dismantled by a fly-by-night prime minister and minister of finance who does not understand public sector management, and who does not know what it is to be unemployed. Allen Chastanet has never known a day in his life when there was no food to eat, or no Florida apple juice to drink, or a lack of nice clothing to wear, or a lack of money and pocket change for trips overseas, or no Alpo Dog Food to feed his dogs with.

In Saint Lucia, the Labour Party administration, cognizant of the grave unemployment situation, and the vital link between unemployment and crime and other social problems, and given the Party’s social conscience and grassroots political and economic orientation, introduced the STEP (Short Term Employment Programme), and the NICE (National Initiative for Creation of Employment). These projects absorbed hundreds of underemployed and normally unemployable citizens in various activities. As soon as Allen Chastanet’s UWP came into office, they dismantled and/or downgraded these and other welfare programmes, sending hundreds of poor Saint Lucians into unemployment, while shamelessly claiming that those poor workers were supporters of the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP).

Then OzzieBoy, grabbing at straws, says: “Jimmy Fletcher, Albert Joseph, Eustace “Chinie” Vitalis, Frank Myers, the Francis brothers, Trevor Philip, Cuthbert Didier, all lived in Castries Central; … why did they and lots of others follow the straight and narrow path?” Here again, OzzieBoy has missed the main points, that of unemployment, underemployment and relative unemployability. Every name mentioned by OzzieBoy has never belonged to the unemployed, underemployed or the relatively unemployable citizens of Castries Central.

And, a vital element of my discussion with Denys Springer was the complementing factor of education. Every person mentioned here by OzzieBoy received solid education/training, in various fields of professional endeavour, and their education/training complemented their employability. The fundamental fact is that given the education/training received by the aforementioned, they were readily employed by the system and/or created employment in the system.

So, while OzzieBoy has a point when he speaks of the “straight and narrow path,” he errs indelicately on the fundamentals. OzzieBoy thesis – if I may be so kind as to endow his hastily contrived shenanigans with such noble linguistic apparel – is that no matter the rate and intensity of unemployment among so many tens of thousands of youth and parents, that this maddening unemployment reality is not a catalyst for crime. In case he is now too financially comfortable, as is his Massa, to understand the connection, let me remind OzzieBoy that some unemployed people with mouths to feed and children to protect and accommodate, will resort to various kinds of criminal activity to fulfill these requirements.

Oswald correctly asserts that “with the advent of quick cash and the protection of turf through the drug trade, crime became rampant.” This is a fact, but doesn’t rampant unemployment among the citizenry contribute to the attraction of some citizens to such criminal activity in the first place? Oswald has apparently forgotten that the drug trade begun to take root in Saint Lucia during the 70s and 80s, when Saint Lucia had only five secondary schools for 150,000 citizens (in 1974), while Barbados already had 35 secondary schools in the same year for 190,000 Bajans. The UWP, for 30 years, refused to build the educational infrastructure to provide at least a secondary school place for each child.

We have knowledge of a tragic but thoroughly authenticated anecdote of a certain minister of the UWP, which reads as follows: “If we give them secondary and university education, they will not appreciate us and they will soon remove us from power.” In fact, Oswald himself, during those 30 years of ignominy under the United Wreckers of the Poor, refused to align himself with such an irresponsible political Party.

In those days he embraced the legendary Saint Lucian educator and enigmatic politician, George Odlum. Today, the same Oswald, now a UWP millionaire and former chairman of the Party, has deteriorated from a man of relatively progressive beginnings – after cavorting and sleeping with the seemingly “white-collar criminals” of the United Wreckers of the Poor – to a state of such psychological putridity, that he would say, without batting an eyelid, that: “No amount of education and employment will prevent or solve the crime situation, you must just have a heart for living peacefully with your fellowmen.” Yeah right, Pastor Oswald Augustin. I leave the author of this patently false, ridiculous, reactionary, unconscionable and unscientific statement for the judgment of the people of Saint Lucia and the judgment of his family members.

Since so many of my Saint Lucian compatriots dislike what they refer to as “long articles” I will in this piece address only two more issues raised in OzzieBoy’s crappy rebuttal. Since I don’t have to depend on “The Star” and “The Voice” anymore – which have respectively stopped “bringing the truth to light” and have continued to prioritize the dissemination of partisan hogwash from Saint Lucia’s most notorious apologists, over writers of truth – thanks to the new technologies, I take the liberty of sharing a little more information with my Saint Lucian sisters and brothers, praise Jah, as follows:

China and Taiwan

Firstly, Oswald referred to the China/Taiwan question. He observed that I had proposed that “the government should deepen its ties with Cuba, Venezuela, China, Russia and Taiwan,” accusing me of bluffing, since I know that these ties already exist. Let me remind OzzieBoy that what I said, as he rightly echoed, was that the relationship should be further “deepened.” The point I was making was that there are opportunities for these relationships to be even deeper and more mutually rewarding than they are presently.

As things stand presently, we are only scratching the surface where it comes to possibilities for much more rewarding mutual cooperation with these countries. But there can be no further deepening of the Saint Lucian development cooperation relationship with Cuba, Venezuela, China, Russia and Taiwan, under a UWP government; because the UWP has no plan or vision to take Saint Lucia into the 21st century. Oswald knows this, and he, therefore, has no choice but to play his game as gatekeeper for the UWP (United Wreckers of the Poor).

He makes an important point when he asks me: “how can we deepen our relationship with China, when we have full diplomatic relations with Taiwan?” For those who may be unaware, the People’s Republic of China (PRC, or simply, China), considers Taiwan to be a province of China, just as Rat Island is a part of Saint Lucia. This is a historical issue that makes for good and interesting reading on the Internet, and I encourage Saint Lucian citizens to read up on the issue with their morning coffee.

I described OzzieBoy’s question as “an important” one because indeed the fundamentals of Chinese diplomacy do not allow a country that has diplomatic relations with China to simultaneously have diplomatic relations with Taiwan. China does not recognize its “province”, Taiwan, as a separate sovereign country, with a right to have its own diplomatic relations.I encourage Saint Lucians not to rush to a subjective and uninformed judgment on this issue but to study the details of this age-old question and come to their own, informed opinions on the matter.

As for my suggestion concerning the need for Saint Lucia to deepen relations with China and Taiwan, I am of the view that Saint Lucia should be sufficiently mature and independent in our outlook as a sovereign democratic State in the Caribbean, to be able to have diplomatic relations with China, and simultaneously a technical and development cooperation relationship with Taiwan. In that vein, I was of the view that the government of Saint Lucia, under prime minister Kenny Anthony, after the SLP victory in 2011, should have sent the Taiwanese diplomats packing (just as we did in 1997 when I personally handed the “get packing” letter to ambassador Hu at the Taiwanese Embassy at Cap Estate).

Ambassador Tom Chou had behaved very disrespectfully during the period 2006-2011, blatantly interfering in Saint Lucian politics, and he (and his staff) should have been declared persona non-grata on the night of the SLP victory in 2011, and given a week to depart the following morning. I am of the view that Saint Lucia should be sufficiently mature politically and diplomatically, to negotiate an understanding with China, so that they will permit Saint Lucia to have technical cooperation relations with Taiwan, while we hold diplomatic relations with China. It would not be the first time that such an understanding existed between a foreign sovereign country, and the two Chinese geographical entities, China and Taiwan. There is much more that Saint Lucia can benefit from if we establish a proper, mutually respectful technical cooperation relationship with Taiwan.

Venezuela

OzzieBoy also referred to Venezuela, which he considers to be a country that has now lost “all faith in democracy.” As a political opportunist and apologist, OssieBoy knows full well how to play the non-analytical game. The honest analysis does not suit their purposes. They prefer to swallow and regurgitate the simplistic statements and lies fed to them by their neo-colonialist bosses, who have been actively destabilizing Venezuela for years, to put their rapacious tentacles upon Venezuela’s abundant oil reserves.

As regards the Saint Lucian students who “were frantically trying to find ways to remove themselves from Venezuela,” OzzieBoy wants to tell Saint Lucians that Venezuela is, under Nicolás Maduro, an unstable country. But the reality is much deeper than that. It’s the same game the UWP played decades ago, when an SLP government first accepted Cuban scholarships to liberate so many Saint Lucian youth, whose university and other forms of higher education could not be financed by their parents, in the manner that OzzieBoy finances his children’s education overseas.

For the information of all interested citizens, let it be known that the present economic and social difficulties confronting the Venezuelan people are a direct result of the systematic undermining of the Venezuelan economy by the forces of Western imperialism. The Lima Group, led by the Donald Trump administration, has, through all manner of economic, financial, political and other sanctions against Venezuela, precipitated all the economic hardships and instability faced by Venezuela today. Let the United States place those same sanctions on Saint Lucia for just six months, and you will see how quickly Saint Lucians will be unable to buy toilet paper and Florida orange juice.

As friends of Venezuela, Saint Lucians will not turn our backs on Venezuela because of the neo-colonialist and imperialist activities of the forces of Western imperialism. My proposal for deeper relations with Venezuela is based on my faith that Venezuela’s revolutionary government will survive the destabilization of persons like Allen Chastanet, one of the most incompetent prime ministers ever in the history of the Western Hemisphere. 

Peter Lansiquot

Saint Lucian Patriot

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