By Denys Springer
When I attended St Mary’s College studying English literature, I learnt something that has since been imprinted in my long term memory: “Why man he doth bestride the narrow world like a colossus and we petty men walk under his legs and peep about, to find ourselves dis-honourable graves, men at sometimes are the masters of their fate, the fault dear Brutus is not in our stars but in ourselves that we are the underlings”.
Well, what is happening in Saint Lucia at this juncture in our history, many should have realized that we are masters of our fate and not the government who represent us. In order words we still control our destiny not those who think – they are the colossus.
Therefore, being sensitive to other people’s feelings is more essential in life as well as people’s feelings, opinions, and prejudices than expressing one’s own. In the case of the trade unions and government, many are witnessing a government that only listens to itself. Why? Every Member State of CARICOM has provided its people with a stimulus package except Saint Lucia.
The Chastanet-led government is unable to understand that their policies are wrong and that they should listen and show compassion for the poor. In my view they should have worked out a policy that would bring about equality. Instead they only seem to be interested in their Friends, Family, and Foreigners (FFF) instead of the population as a whole.
Is it because the government is bankrupt at the hands of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) having borrowed immensely for political projects? Meantime, the people of Saint Lucia are struggling, horses are being fed and live in comfort at the Desert Star Holding (DSH) project. Notwithstanding, there is no accounting for Citizenship by Invest (CIP) funds and the much talked about Sovereign fund.
What amazes me is that there are a bunch of morons in Cabinet who seem to be worshipping every move that is made by their leader not realizing that his loyal soldiers tell him only what is pleasing to his ear. A phony existence that replicates evasiveness, a euphemism for bare-faced lies.
The present predicament is a government that lacks compassion and operates like the Europeans who went to Africa expecting to dominate the indigenous people. Kenneth Hudson (1978) wrote “for these new men, the important thing is to keep power not to use it as a means of eventual paradise. And so what were means become ends, and the original ends are forgotten”.
Also visible in the “New Saint Lucia” of an Allen Chastanet- led government, is one where “pathetic little men and women are longing to be regarded as big men and women”.
This came head-to-head last week on account of many ideas and proven knowledged detailed in an article written by Victor Poyotte, entitled: St Lucia minister to cut the public service: IMF conditions.
The literature exposed a political directorate that is now unable to evade intellectuals, hard as they may try. What infuriated further is that instead of taking heed of the sound advice in Poyotte’s article, government operatives were simply prepared to do all in their power to belittle the messenger.
This prompts my inquiry. Did Poyotte’s article published by Caribbean News Global (CNG) hit a raw nerve, that resulted in the massive outburst of the United Workers Party (UWP) communication and media operatives, within eight-hours of publication? And further, why the frenzy of phone calls, emails, and inquiries?
The question is simple. What are they afraid of? Is Poyotte viewed as a potential candidate for the next election enough to offended every sinew?
Well, the good news is that his article reverberated substantively despite the scorn, political abuse that was not anticipated by him or others in the Senate towards intellectuals the likes of Poyotte. Regretable, there is a climate of ‘abuse’ – “injurious speech, reviling, execration” unheard or unseen before in our political history.
I dislike to agree and concur with Kenneth Hudson who is of the view that “Hatred, contempt and abuse are much to the fore on occasions such as these and the general atmosphere is frequently one of near-savagery”. However, I have to agree, if I am the honest man that I am; Poyotte, in my view took on the brunt of political abuse for being honest, pragmatic, and objective. But what this government fails to understand is that we live in a democracy and the greater the supply of information the better informed the public. The public is supposed to be the ultimate arbiter of policy, the better the policies of government because in my view it is clearly, their right to know.
I have learnt in my lifetime studying politics that any government can spend large sums of money in attempts to create a favourable public image of itself, only to find that many of the factors which determine that image are accidental and quite outside its control.
The Chastanet-led government has not understood this because they are obsessed with a form of high powered projects that give a false impression of jobs being created. However, fewer jobs are being created. Therefore, the projected use of IMF loans for capital projects should be rejected.
And so, how does a government who themselves inflated the public service with their people; a large Cabinet, overseas embassies are now immersed in cutting the public service?
The government must never forget that it is part and parcel of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and must, therefore, follow rules, norms, and conventions; or face the reputations.
I say to the government that this is a fight they cannot win. Former president of the trade union, and current minister for health Mary Isaac, known something about that.