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COMMENTARY: Can incompetence fill a vacuum?

By Melanius Alphonse

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Prime Minister Allen Chastanet

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet

COMMENTARY – A “lame duck” in politics describes an elected official continuing to hold high political office pending the inauguration of a more recently elected successor. The official is often seen weak and loses the ability to achieve anything, having less influence with the legislature and the public at large.

Regrettably, however, in Saint Lucia, newly elected Prime Minister Allen Chastanet seems to be a lame duck from the outset, exemplified especially by his most recent awkwardly delivered report to the nation that he has spent his first 100 days in office working on a plan to reduce Saint Lucia’s debt to GDP ratio, as the island’s deficit is larger than anticipated.

“The new government’s term in office began with the realization that the 2016/2017 budget grossly underestimated certain areas such as school maintenance and the operations of the new hospital.

“I have taken it upon myself to have as many meetings as the prime minister to try to expedite investment in this country.

“Saint Lucia’s current finances have restricted my ability to institute reform. We have had a very difficult time in being able to establish control of the government.

“Ambassadors who have contracts that have no out-clauses. Investors that we signed up two days before the election with no out-clauses in their contracts. And so I’ve not had the opportunity of moving quicker because obviously there are legal issues and we always have to follow the rule of law.”

The essence of the problem is clear. Prime Minister Chastanet has taken little time to learn and prepare adequately to put into practice management and leadership skills; and develop effective policies to counter the issues and dilemmas facing the country.

The first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump revealed what a well prepared, informed and resourceful demeanour can accomplish.

Meanwhile, the parallel in the local vernacular is that of a “Tropical Trump”, totally unprepared and insufficiently informed, and incapable of delivering sound judgment on a variety of subjects.

This is the reason why it was necessary for a CDB economist to tutor the government of Saint Lucia in implementing much needed pro-business, fiscal reforms and perhaps new legislation, whilst awaiting a further report from international auditing firm, Ernest and Young.

Thus far, the CDB recommendations are in harmony with what progressive thinkers diagnosed and articulated in prior articles extensively published and read on Caribbean News Now.

However, enablers of ‘steering’ and ‘kleptocracy’ confined to a “transactional, trans-colonial leader” fallaciously claim that my articles (a) “are not solution based and are simply the writer’s personal prejudice”; and (b) have “no concrete recommendations”.

This is extraordinary and thus far demonstrates that a comprehension problem does exist, as well as the collection of house hypocrites, peddling wrongheaded approaches and false choices of change and relief that have now turned out to be void of any serious strategy for governance, fiscal transition and nation building.

In keeping with the lame duck analogy, there is a similar expectation that the vacuum in governance will somehow add legitimacy by the proposed appointment of a new governor general, the pay to play personae of media figures as government surrogates and imminent ambassadors in Washington, New York and the UK.

In fact, should the not so secret list hold, it will keep the adverse pressure on Saint Lucia without any drastic change in external policy towards the country’s strategic development goals.

By the same token, the Chastanet-led administration’s first 100 days were simply a dramatic awakening to false narratives contributing to the absence of effective management, creating credibility concerns, dwindling high value investors and investments, now compounded by the setbacks from tropical storm Matthew, in particular the agricultural industry.

While the impact of tropical storm Matthew awaits evaluation, international financial compliance, job market confidence and the heavy reliance on tourism still demand immediate and effective resolution.

Simply put, policymakers must act now to reverse the country’s external vulnerabilities and plan scenarios to confront the current socio-economic decline; the outcome of the US presidential election’s direct impact on economic, immigration, and national security; and BrexitFittingly, the image of a lame duck, quacking and splashing in its puddle indiscriminately, holds true time and again, and here’s the real kicker – Prime Minister Chastanet greeting an elderly lifelong resident, former district representative and ambassador as follows: “De white man is in de house”.

“Clearly the protection of the Desruisseaux church at the time avoided a fiery response; however, it captures the reality. That statement three months after the election contours a vindictive spirit and intent to obstruct or victimize.” ~ Cassius Elias

Even so, if ever there was the need to demonstrate a transactional, trans-colonial leader’s glaring incompetence within a vacuum, this illustrates the “hoax” played on the country, existing in his own universe, globetrotting outrageously to convey asymmetry, in denial of the obvious.

Is there any hope for Saint Lucia?

Melanius Alphonse is a management and development consultant, a long-standing senior correspondent and a contributing columnist to Caribbean News Now. His areas of focus include political, economic and global security developments, and on the latest news and opinion. His philanthropic interests include advocating for community development, social justice, economic freedom and equality. He contributes to special programming on Radio Free Iyanola, RFI 102.1FM and NewsNow Global affairs and economic analysis. He can be reached at: [email protected]


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  1. But of course! You have just shown how. You moron!


  2. You sound like a fool!


    • Talking Physics, which the writer seems to know very little about, once the outer "shell" of the vacuum is penetrable like the writer's cranium, something else more sensible can be injected into it. That is something to fill the void or the absence of logic. The foolishness that has become this column is palpable.


    • A village is missing its idiot. What a load of bollox!


  3. The answer is yes; by definition anything can fill a vacuum if in fact a vacuum exists.

    And so I'm propelled to say that incompetence can fill many vacuums, including any vacuum in your brain. However in fairness to you, the commentator, I would still have to ascertain whether indeed there was or is a vacuum in your brain and if there was, whether the substance that was used to fill that vacuum, if indeed the vacuum had existed was really incompetence or just plain "cow dung".
    Now on the other hand if there still is a vacuum there that is yet to be filled I would gladly fill it for you with just plain "common sense" and some political etiquette.

    It is much too early in the day to show such utter disregard for our Prime Minister without being so unpolished in your criticisms. Be a bit classier if you must criticize and guard against seeming to be entirely “bitter”. And so, above, I feel justified in offering you your just desserts.

    If time proves you wrong, will you be competent enough then to apologize or will you be content in maintaining that void in your brain?


  4. Another week. Another rant. Another harangue. Some say it is family induced. But it is Just more evidence of a unfortunate patient suffering from an acute flare up of a rare form of uncontrollable verbal diarrhea.


  5. To me this is just a hate speech. Calling people "white" and trans-colonial. Is Melanius of white or black parentage? What would Melanius idea of not being trans-colonial be? I just don't get why we see a complete degeneration of education when some people become politicians. Is it because they believe that most of the people are still dumb?


  6. Good article. As someone who voted UWP in the last elections I can not stress enough that any good Government needs a good or better Opposition.

    Admittedly you're not in Opposition (as far as am aware) however people like you can help keep checks and balances in place.

    Last thing need in St Lucia is a Dictatorship under the disguise of democracy....

    Lucians you'll need to stop your unconditional support of an individual and or party.

    Make these politicians aware that if they don't perform or are not transparent with the dealings of Government with the people of St Lucia that we will put them out.


  7. The guy sits over yonder and all he does is criticize...what have you done for Saint Lucia lately?


  8. Mr. Melanius writes a lot. El papel aguanta mucho. Paper can hold a lot. You write a lot, do not produce anything, do not contribute to society to create jobs. Just open a farm, industry or any business to do something. Just shut up as a unproductive guy. Chastened and his father provide jobs with supermarkets and hotels. Just shut up.


  9. this weekly comic section is always funny. this guy sounds a lot like a stalker


  10. You are a pest you need fumigation. A life you need if you cannot get one please try and buy,rent or better yet steal one. You are the green eye monster very jealous of Mr Chastanet you are part of the problem not the solution.


This article was posted in its entirety as received by stlucianewsonline.com. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of stlucianewsonline.com, its sponsors or advertisers.

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