St Lucia’s prime minister of fear: Part 2

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Prime Minister Allen Chastanet [Parliament April 21, 2020]

By Denys Springer

 “There’s no cut that is being proposed. We are paying the civil servants their salaries. We are paying the civil servants part in cash and part in bonds.” ~ Prime Minister Allen Chastanet.

On reflection of the United Workers Party (UWP) government of Saint Lucia, and previous, about the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) administration, request for a five percent reduction to public service pay, these same UWP tribes — went bananas. These inept politicians may like to think that the public is gullible and that people have a short term memory, but the truth is that voters are neither as forgetful nor as naïve as politicians think.

One can never forget how Chastanet and his cohorts issued statements criticizing the then labour part administration plan as unacceptable and were prepared to have demonstrations to that effect. What Chastanet and his cohorts fail to internalize is that what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Thanks to the internet, their past is coming to haunt them as their actions and speeches can easily be unearthed.

This now leads to the credibility of Chastanet’s proposal “we are paying the civil servants part in cash and part in bonds.” The importance of Chastanet’s credibility is nothing new and has come under the microscope previously. Chastanet and his cohorts must come to their senses and understand the true meaning of governance and a government’s responsibility to its people.

Therefore, Chastanetism, as I call it, may turn-out to carry within it the seeds of its destruction. It starts with a strong leader who purges his Cabinet of all dissident voices. It continues with a leader so dominant over his colleagues he refuses to allow the possibility of any of them taking over. It ends with a leader dangerously out of touch, clinging to office with the help of his contemporaries because of rampant fear.

Therefore, what could be the price the UWP has to pay for Chastanet’s ministry and minister of fear actions at the next general elections?

As Martin Luther King succinctly put it, “The deep rumbling of discontent that we hear today is the thunder of disinherited masses, rising from dungeons of oppression to the bright hills of freedom, in one majestic chorus the rising masses are singing, in the words of our freedom song, ‘Ain’t gonna let nobody turn us around’. He went on to say that “these developments should not surprise any student of history. Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself”.

Unresticitively, it is the freedom to return to what we had before democracy and not what we are seeing today.

I conclude by saying openly to my brothers and sisters in this pristine land of ours that over the last four years there has been a climate of tolerance for dishonest politicians. This is made worse by a chorus of enablers who defend their every lie — even at this crucial stage of our lives with the COVID-19 virtually bringing much of the world to its knees. In the defense of those lies, what happens is that it becomes the norm for those who have lived their lives on dishonesty.

In order words, when dishonesty is tolerated, corruption is harbored and criminality licensed. “ … Crime is big business in Saint Lucia and it is driven by people who are way up in the hierarchy of this country …” ~ Mary Isaac, minister for health and wellness.

Dishonesty, corruption, and criminality are at an all-time high level contributing to the greatest threat to our democracy, in conjunction with external forces in the pursuit of power.

I have always been told that “honesty is the best policy” and therefore, I have based my life on those powerful words. What many fail to equate with honesty is their integrity and when that is lost trust goes with it.

I refuse to sell my soul to any party when I know what they are doing is wrong and what they are alluding to are lies and blatant dishonesty. I, therefore, say to the public servants and others in Saint Lucia it is time to “get up and stand up for your rights”. Don’t give up the fight.

Denys Springer is an educator and freelance writer trained in social sciences, labour studies and industrial relations, education, conflict, resolution, and mediation. His publications include Nature Watch: An Environmental Toolkit for Caribbean Schools and The Birdbook of Saint Lucia. He is in the process of completing another book on Whether the Democracy of Taiwan is a barrier to a One China Principle. He is well versed in Taiwanese and Chinese politics and an advocate on Taiwan’s independent Statehood.

Denys Springer lectures part-time at the Open Campus UWI in Saint Lucia on supervisory management – the psychology of management.

Related: Part 1

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