By Denys Springer
When I started writing this article I did not think that I would have to revert to philosophers and that their writings decades ago would become so relevant in expressing my thoughts on our present-day politics of Saint Lucia.
I viewed a demonstration last Sunday in the United States where thousands of people were lying on the ground shouting “I can’t breathe”. They were echoing the words of George Floyd who was apparently “suffocated [to death by a policeman who kept his knees on his neck for over eight minutes while he was lying on his belly on the ground”.
Once again, this open’s the pandora’s box on another front in our small pristine land Saint Lucia. People are echoing that they too “cannot breathe” because of the form of dictatorship that prime minister Allen Chastanet wants to introduce into the country. Chastanet, a so-called leader seems hell-bent on doing what he wants as in colonial times when the country belonged to a few mulatto aristocrats tied to his coat-tail.
His latest slapstick in parliament to continue the ‘State of Emergency’ until September 30, is indicative of a whole range of outrageous Machiavellian manoeuvres. The word on everyone’s lip is that his main aim is to suffocate the opposition before an election, a copy-cat tactic from St Kitts and Nevis government.
However, the rule of law supersedes wanna-be dictator in St Kitts and Nevis ‘State of Emergency’.
I, therefore, say to the opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) that you can do likewise, because, in our case, our borders are being opened to US markets with over 106,000 deaths while 1.5 million people have been infected from coronavirus. This simply does not make sense; therefore, one has to ask if the prime minister and his Cabinet consider most sectors of the population are morons, or is he pandering to his 43 percenters?
The prime minister’s diabolical arrogance is symptomatic of his words “economics has no conscience … colonialism had a conscience.”
Therefore, I have to ask:
- Does the prime minister see himself as a replica of colonial authority in Saint Lucia, intent on using colonial power to enforce “economics has no conscience”?
- Is that why Colony House of which the prime minister knows all too well and has secured multiple government offices, equates to colonial authority, using political and economic power?
Jean-Jacques Rousseau in his book ‘General Will’ writes, “It is certain that at least the greatest talent a ruler can possess is to disguise his power in order to render it less odious, and to conduct the state so peacefully as to make it seem to have no need of conductors”.
What we are seeing in Saint Lucia is a dictatorship that must be cut down in its track before it mushrooms. We are experiencing the bankruptcy of the country with the continued borrowing that is taking place.
Again, I refer to Rousseau writings, “that the government under which a people wanes and diminishes is the worst”. Therefore, what must be impressed on the minds of Cabinet / the executive branch of government is that “a government undergoes contraction when it passes from the many to the few” – friends, family, and foreigners (FFF).
The actions and words of the prime minister, his bovver boys, and feeble women in Cabinet have forced a few conscientious men and women to become an active Civil Society group that will work towards a better Saint Lucia regardless of which government is in power. We are determined to safeguard our democracy and will fight to bring about the downfall of any form of dictatorship in this country – Iyanola.
Rosseau made it clear that “men always love what is good or what they find good, it is in judging what is good that they go wrong”. He was even more succinct when he wrote that “a man of bad morals having made a proposal and neglected it and then caused the same proposal to be made by a virtuous citizen what an honour for one and a disgrace for the other”.
We now understand the catchphrase “five to stay alive … 95 to die”. This has become obvious because the government is not logical in what they do or say. Factors of trust hunt the Chastanet-led government, rendering their philosophy of ill-pursuits.
In any form of dictatorship, one cannot but examine Hannah Arendt’s book “The Origins of Totalitarianism”. She called this type of government a terrible outcome of the alienation and loss of sense of self that mass society produces”. She went on to write “the expansion of an empire with its accompanying arbitrary bureaucratic government”.
When I examine the Cabinet with an ex-prime minister accompanying the Cabal, Arendt’s book reference; “Thinking, judging, Freedom (1989) in analyzing the Eichmann trials after the second world war where Eichmann described himself as a petty factotum throughout his testimony; and interrogation where he alleges that he had decided nothing” is worth some absorption.
Eichmann said that “every decision he had referred to his superiors,” added. “Pity me, I was a tool in the hands of the strong and powerful”.
The Cabinet of Saint Lucia adheres to Cabinet Collective Responsibility. Does this apply to our politics?
P.G. Cocker in government and politics writes, “Cabinet government is passing away and being replaced by prime ministerial government or at least government by Cabinet committee”.
Coincidental, the prime minister of Saint Lucia somehow reminds us of Michael Heseltine who was part and parcel of the Margaret Thatcher Cabinet and government. Explaining his resignation over the Westland crisis, he made much of the breakdown of Cabinet’s responsibility in the field of policymaking with the implication that “this is a major function of the Cabinet which the prime minister usually commandeered”.
I believe that the time has come for constitutional reform to be at the top of the SLP political agenda, because, what we are witnessing in Saint Lucia is a manipulation of the collectivity of Cabinet by the present prime minister, to willfully manipulation and the practice of predictable colonial commandeered.
Looking back, Eichmann was described as one with neither a strong belief nor the will power to be consistent. He was anti-Semitic or anything else. Yet, we are told that he was vain, weak, and supercilious, a man who very often tried to get along with everyone by telling them what they would like to hear.
Are we not seeing the same in the present Cabinet of ministers, with pedigree’s unbecoming of Saint Lucia?
This is further pathetic in the context of the present Cabinet and government to have an ex-prime minister who gave strong support for a four-month extension of the State of Emergency that is widely expected to accommodate general elections.
The description of Eichmann can be attributed to many in this present Cabinet inclusive of stupidity, and the perception of the desires of others that “none too keen” exercise what Emanuel Kant called “reflective judgment to distinguish right from wrong”.
This, in a sense, can be applied to all in the present government and their lackeys should know that what is taking place is wrong in the name of democracy; but upholds the wrong and defends it for personal gain.
We are further told that Eichmann lacked the ability to judge because he was unable to think. To say that the end justifies the means as in the case of the State of Emergency hiding behind the skeletons of saving lives is another thoughtless way to escape from being evaluated.
Hannah Arendt made it clear that judgment is communication to others. Persuading others of the validity of the judgment is the raison d’être of judging. Suffice to say that we have a Cabinet and a leader unable to make worthwhile judgments.
Arendt writes, “It is from thinking that we develop that critical political virtue – common sense”… “even if humans are not by nature evil, evil is in the world, watch out and discover it before it is too late”.
I, therefore, declare that the Cabinet of Chastanet and his government have been warned.