The need for a vibrant civil society

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Denys Springer is an educator and freelance writer trained in social sciences, labour studies and industrial relations, education, conflict, resolution, and mediation. Denys Springer lectures part-time at the Open Campus UWI in Saint Lucia on supervisory management – the psychology of management.

By Denys Springer

A democratic state and government cannot be stable unless it is effective and legitimate with the respect and support of its citizens. Therefore, civil society is a check, a monitor but also a vital partner in the quest for this kind of positive relationship. Assessing the Scholte (2007) is of the view that, “the first usage describes a collective human consciousness in which people relate to each other on the basis of non-violence, tolerance and respect”.

In essence, civil societies form an organized third sector alongside government and market forces. As human beings, we do not have to be taught when our rights are being infringed upon. It is by faculty of our thoughts, expectations, instincts, and intellect that triggers acting on to labour standard, human rights – justified actions.

From such a structure a social movement can emerge which is less opaque than that of a civil society although room does exist for ambiguity. I, therefore, hasten to add that social movement will be defined here as a group of people with a common ideology or belief system, consciously acting together to cause a change in thoughts, between political or social relationships.

Therefore, I have concluded that we now need this third force in Saint Lucia, separate from political affiliation but keen on the country’s development. A social movement of caring Saint Lucians.

An example of this is the thought of the privatization of the Owen King European Union (OKEU) hospital donated by the European Union for the benefit of every Saint Lucian. This is made more prevalent with the coronavirus epidemic and the opening of the tourism industry to the US marketplace, adverse to another more secure marketplace like Canada.

Therefore, civil societies and social movement organization should entrench themselves to coordinate support make the state at all levels more accountable, responsive, and effective in bringing about stability and equity.

A vigorous civil society strengthens citizen/state engagement and acts as the watchdog upon state officials and lobby governance reforms. Constitutional reform is now more essential, and a new labour government must make this a priority the leader of the opposition Philip J Pierre, said: “To avoid the mismanagement of the country by using an out of date constitution powers.”

Therefore, a modern society like ours needs reform or a new constitution. The present constitution was written for colonialists that did not have a conscience for countries they enslaved. Colonialism simply did not have a conscience as some would like us to believe. It was about serving a self-centred purpose that promulgates their assumed superiority.

Civil society organization can help to develop the other values of democratic life like tolerance, moderation, compromise, and respect for opposing points of view.

A recent case in point is where government minister Guy Joseph, an elder in the seventh-day Adventist church was questioned by a reporter. Joseph replied, “I have no intention of speaking to any ex-convicts”. Simply put: where is the forgiveness that the ministers’ religious faith speaks so much about? And what about the reform programme at the Bordelais Correctional Facility?

Oh, yeah of little faith and the one appertaining to the one most high and his son Jesus who said quite succinctly “he who is without sin let him cast the first stone”. What surprises me is that none of his fellow ministers showed any disgust for such an attitude. Yet, there are men and women of the Christian faith who use the church when it suits them. Oh, you hypocrites, your poor dumb mouths. A curse shall light upon the limbs of men like you and your destruction shall be so in use and dreadful objects so familiar that mothers and fathers in Saint Lucia will shout aloud, oh havoc and let us slip the dogs of a party that their foul deed shall smell upon the earth and their party with all of them groaning to be pitied. But it will be too late because justice will have been done.

When I look around, I am simply astonished and at the same time angry that we have educated men and women also those with common sense in our society. Yet, a civil society has not emerged. They sit back and endure the pain, anguish and suffering that abounds trying to look the other way, listening to our fellow men and women being insulted day in and day out without showing anger and distaste for such arrogance.

This is unbelievable:

  • How can civil society turn a blind eye to statements that young women are having children, just like their mothers and grandmothers and that is why we have a ‘discipline and crime’ problem in the country;
  • How can society accept a prime minister who wittingly or unwittingly reference mendicants and barking dog (s) at Saint Lucians without being made to feel frequently awkward, much like the Dennery fishers achieved?
  • How can a society accept the sale of Saint Lucian passports, without accountability and the funds held in a foreign escrow account, without the accountant general oversight?
  • How can a society accept being spoon-fed by self-centred charitable acts by the prime minister and his nefarious associates?
  • Why is the government allowing the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) to be used as a charitable jester?
  • How is it acceptable that Saint Lucian citizenship is a pawn in the new Alien Landholding (Licensing) Act?
  • Why is it acceptable for the government to deplete the National Insurance Corporation (NIC) – poor people’s pensions – while CIP money is kept in a lockbox for the benefit of a few?
  • Why is the government afraid to “putting people first” but instead facilitates an overall deficit of $433 million in the face of economic collapse?

A vibrant civil society would hold the government to account. Where has all the money gone?

Saint Lucia, we are not wood, we are not stone but men and women with some brains and common sense. We also have the power of speech to stir men and women’s blood. Therefore,  why are we not vibrant in getting the answers from a government of lies and untruths that is bandied by a prime minister who doesn’t think of the poor in our midst only his friends, family and foreigners (FFF).

Once again, a vibrant civil society must emerge to be the watchdog of how state officials use their power and the resources of the state. Raise a public concern about any abuse of power, rampant corruption amid a false state of emergency and COVID-19 preferential economics.

A well-functioning civil society / social movement group can help to develop the values of a democratic life such as tolerance, moderation, compromise, and respect for opposing points of view.

We must be made aware that the semblance of Cambridge Analytica in a new format are operating in Saint Lucia on behalf of the government. They are being paid millions up front and on the back-end to infiltrate civil society, partake in mind-binding (a physiological campaign of misinformation) and to serve as advisors to the government, detrimental to local people expectation of a better future.

We must be aware that these colonial consultants are setting up and are at play now in places like Africa, the Caribbean and South America where the 43 percenters are uneducated, and their governments are not hesitant to dishonest and corrupt deeds.

This is what this government want to rely on for the next election and that is where the advice for a continued state of emergency and renewed curfew measures emanates. It is about control, authority, powers, and concepts of tinpot dictators who wish to remain in power.

We need a civil society/social movement that creates a symbiotic relationship that is of immense benefit to the country. I believe that a vibrant group of that nature will be able to work with a government led by Philip J Pierre whose maxim is “putting people first.”

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