When is it time to throw out a government?

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Peter Lansiquot

By Peter Lansiquot

In June 2016, the people of Saint Lucia went to the polls and removed the government of the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) from the seat of power. During months of campaigning, the people were fed a diet of a well-calculated United Workers Party (UWP) and Cambridge Analytica strategy of lies, lies, and more lies, hundreds of lies, including the notorious lie about the price of gas at the pumps. They were also given many promises by the UWP, most notoriously, the promise by the then party leader, Allen Chastanet, now prime minister, to solve the alarming situation of violent crime.

The composition of the UWP opposition members at the time left a lot to be desired, as they were an obvious rag-tag band of misfits, who had been hastily brought together for the elections, with no concrete plan or national growth and development strategy for the future. Also, most of them had previously proven themselves unworthy of occupying the seat of government in Saint Lucia. Today, July 2021, the word “misfit” is the perfect description for each and every member of the Cabinet of ministers, as the following unbelievable examples of bad and unbecoming behaviour by the present ministers of government will show.

One of the most incredible gaffes belongs to the Mayor of Castries, Peterson Francis shows how close Saint Lucia has come to being reasonably classified as a “failed state”, after only five years of Allen Chastanet mismanagement. The Mayor – a good friend of mine and former SLP colleague – brought upon himself, in a five-minute conversation with the media, good reason to be described as the most incompetent Mayor in the entire history of Saint Lucia, when he effectively said to a citizen that if he was not a supporter of the government, he could not be allowed to ply his trade of confectionery in Constitution Park.

I observed our friendship because it blew my mind that Mayor Francis could have fallen so low on the scale of despicable, undemocratic behaviour, after only five years in the UWP camp. His utterings were so ridiculous, that even some UWP Members quickly distanced themselves, throwing him under the bus. However, allow me another observation at this juncture, which will inspire my next article: I had alluded to the fact that Mayor Francis was once an SLP member; as a member of the SLP, Francis would never have taken the chance to make such ridiculous statements. He would immediately have been disciplined by the Party.

This brings me to today’s menu. Today’s menu shows how so many otherwise normal and decent people, totally lose all sense of civility, basic respect for one another and common sense, when they suddenly migrate from LIAT to British Airways. Today’s menu shows how cold and vicious some human beings become when the “never-see-come-see” syndrome adds some fat to their “boyo”. When your “boyo” gets fat, your tongue also loses mobility. Who can imagine that Rick Wayne’s “Star”, once famous for “bringing the truth to light”, has said, “not a word, not a word, not a word” about the privatization of the budget process, which has gobbled up millions of scarce taxpayer dollars in a seemingly “white-collar criminal enterprise.”

And most significantly, from the perspective of restoring some sanity to public sector governance in our country, today’s menu answers the question:

“When is it time to throw out a government?

When: They get so full of themselves and think that they are so important; they describe the people of Saint Lucia as “barking dogs”, “mendicants”, “niggas”, “primary school graduates”, “young women who make babies for different men, just as their mothers and grandmothers did before them”, etc., etc., etc.

When: They are so disconnected from the people’s lives, the people’s culture, the people’s history, their language, their lands and patrimony, and their struggle for survival, that they can say, without an ounce of shame: “Colonialism had a conscience.”

When: They hire a private company to prepare the national budget, wasting millions and millions of dollars for work that public servants are already being paid to do. No prime minister has ever done this before, Not, Sir John Compton, not Dr Kenny Anthony, not Stephenson King, not Dr Vaughan Lewis. In other words, the misappropriation of taxpayers money for “Friends, Family and Foreigners”: who are their silent partners and/or friends, in those private companies?

When: They have spent the last five years, handing out contracts of hundreds of millions of dollars via direct awards to their friends and partners, breaking all the rules of procurement of the public service. The rules of procurement are in place to guarantee value for money. By breaking these rules, they are wasting taxpayers money, because all these projects will be of very poor quality.

When: They are so greedy and hungry for more and more power, and have lost all sense of shame, that they scream at the top of their voices: “If I can give ten schools to my wife, I am giving ten schools to my wife.”

When: They get so big and bad with power, that they have no sense of shame anymore, so that they shout into the people’s faces, “If I have to do crime, I’m doing my crime myself.”

When: They are so ignorant, and have no sense of national pride, and have lost their Saint Lucian accent, then they stop the laptop programme for the children of Saint Lucia, and shout out loudly and arrogantly in their crazy bald-head Martian accent: “ What benefit do we have in this”, saying that laptops are of no benefit to our schoolchildren.

When: They say to a poor, hard-working vendor, who sells sweets in Constitution Park to take care of his family, that he has no right to say “Chastanet must go” and so they stop the vendor from selling his confectionery in Constitution Park, and then say to the vendor and the people of Saint Lucia: “The Lord giveth and the Lord take away.” Boldly taking the name of the Lord in vain, in their májee!

When: They already have their driver who is being paid by the taxpayers, but they bring in another driver, their retired husband, to be “my personal driver” and say in the face of the taxpayers: “The prime minister is a good and understanding [prime minister], he listened to my request and he approved for me to have my husband as my personal driver.”

When: They are now so powerful and arrogant, and have no respect anymore for the taxpayers, and shout in the face of a hard-working taxpayer who owns a business, pointing a finger in his face, in full view of his members of staff: “I don’t give a fu** who you are; I don’t give a fu** who you are; I don’t give a fu** who you are; I don’t give a fu** who you are.”

This, my people, is where we are in Saint Lucia today; with the UWP band of misfits. And this, my people, is when you know that it is time to throw out a government. Throw them out!

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