Democracy is often defined as government of the people, by the people, for the people.
In many respects, the challenges of democracy have been both qualitative and quantitative to the concepts that every person has worth and dignity, equality of all persons, majority rule, minority rights, compromise and individual freedom.
Lord George Brown’s definition reads: “Democracy means that there shall be no one to stop us from being stupid if stupid we want to be.”
Certainly, we need to be awake to democracy, and the oligarchs, which best describes what exists in Saint Lucia, and which has become less responsive, less representative to life and death decisions and public policy, and more representative of underpinning ambitious tactics to exploit the populace. Never mind there’s lot of pain and suffering in the country.
Following an unprecedented six-week suspension of the House of Assembly, many were glued last Tuesday to the resumption of the debate on the Appropriation Bill 2017/2018, extensively towards policy proposition, socioeconomic reform and credible fiscal frameworks to unleashed Saint Lucian’s potential.
However, following the conclusion of the presentation by the member for Laborie, Alva Baptiste (the only presentation made)the game of who catches the eye of the speaker elapsed approximately 33 to 37 seconds, and perhaps two minutes depending on who’s arithmetic is economic with the truth the member for Micoud South, Allen Chastanet seemingly caught the eye of the speaker, notwithstanding there were seven parliamentarians yet to present, he abruptly proceeded to end the debate.
Odd as this is, asserting control took precedence in attempting to defend with the assertion that “my ministers have been performing and they don’t have to speak.” ~ Prime Minister Allen Chastanet
There are many descriptions, not the least of which affirm clannishness, the crucifixion of civility and discomfort that epitomise the character of doltishness, secondary to contemporary amnesia.
Government is about majority building, working within legal frameworks and institutions, not one-upmanship that continues to exemplify illusion, based on loyalty and the feud-ridden way of being.
Abraham Lincoln spoke at Gettysburg: “Conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
All the more lamentable in light of the need for proper parliamentary procedures, former Prime Minister Stephenson King sought to explain his non participation as reported in the St Lucia times.
“My contribution does not reside entirely at budget debates – I can make statements whenever I so desire.”
“The Prime Minister did put in a plan as far as the speaking order is concerned and I believe in that collective responsibility approach.
“However after the first speaker on the opposition side – and my understanding was that there should have been a second speaker on the opposition side – the Prime Minister chose to end the debate and circumvented the need for any of us who were remaining speakers to make our contribution.
“Notwithstanding, that does not mitigate the potential for making relevant statements in future sessions of the parliament to address the nation and to update the nation on the work of the Ministry of Infrastructure.
“When I was Prime Minister, I agreed on an approach to the debate. The approach was – you consult with the opposition, get agreement on a speaking order and we follow that speaking order.
“We as members of the government follow the approach that he has agreed to.”
In essence, irrespective of thinkers and level-minded persons who attempt to make a coherent analysis, the political instability and economic madness in Saint Lucia seemingly alludes that there’s a lot of tragic dumbness to basic principles, norms and conventions. A needless consequence, if not brought to an end, wilful ignorance will evoke a cluster of misery, to fulfil economic austerity imbedded in the budget address and the estimates of revenue and expenditure for fiscal year 2017/2018 and beyond.
More serious is the continuance in the Senate last Thursday, on the attempted dissertation of Abraham Lincoln transformational leadership and Manmohan Singh stately abilities.
Perhaps, some degree of realism would have sense the obligation to see things as it is, not as it might be in the eyes of the blind, to adversely advance alternative affirmations on the fictitious ability of current political governance and the government of Saint Lucia.
But understandable, the affirmations were more chauvinist of the now-trendy masturbation fatwa to enhance ideological pity, as oppose to relevant socioeconomic transformation to address high unemployment, wages and productivity, renewable energy, digital access to jumpstart economic development desirable of a nation, in contrast to what is seemingly, a permanent condition of foolish optimism.
The big question is why? In that sense, it is understandable why the constant strive for economic justice and sustainable development is a struggle for the government of Saint Lucia. But the answer is found in the failure to prioritize economic reform, efficiency enhancements for the implementation of sustainable and appropriate economic populism.
In fact, a policy and political analysis revels government is disastrous and simply wrong-headed on downward changes to citizenship by investment (CBI), Desert Star Holdings, the “Pearl of the Caribbean”, the proposed dolphinarium and more hotel enclaves that constrain the environment, the ecosystem and liberty of the people of Saint Lucia.
Thus it is an understatement to say the arrangements prompt serious dissent and that the premium on dexterity can’t drive pass the disguise of economic development and jobs. But rather, is laden with coated decadence, and the willingness to take risk.
By and large, there is little surprise of the symptoms of a government that is seemingly enmesh in never ending conflict, while the institutional cost to our democracy increases, creating dysfunctional patchwork and false flags of messianic zeal.
The sort of obscure policy will leave the country more vulnerable to the whims of market forces and the machinations of austerity, which will increase domestic dysfunction.
Meanwhile, there is a further paradox: I wish we were assured the belief in the abrupt departure of Cindy McLean, chief executive officer of the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) on ‘administrative leave’ with immediate effect, “I have nothing to do with that.” ~ Prime Minister Allen Chastanet
Meanwhile, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Department of Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees Canada has reportedly deported a number of Iranian nationals, all holding citizenship by investment (CBI) passports from Eastern Caribbean countries, back to the countries that issued their passports.
There is conjecture if not co-incidence by the recent visit from international institutions to Saint Lucia that perhaps there is more that meets the eye. Apparently, other countries are contemplating the same.
The prospect of this poses numerous complications, national security issues and unhappy questions of breach of trust and contract. Is there talk of possible liens on the state by deported (CBI) passports holders? Is there a refund mechanism and who pays? Perhaps these require decision-making sooner rather than later.
Still, as evidence makes plain, the government of Saint Lucia has neglected to produce results, advocate and transmit inclusive democracy, that uplift structures to preserve good results.
The government needs to discontinue the paradigm of bad economic policy and politics that favour the oligarchs and serves the neo-cons at the expense of the majority.
Moreover, the gamble to dismantle everything Saint Lucian and attempts to bury our culture and heritage is a provocation of abhorrent and wilful disrespect.
In more ways than one, the abrupt end to the debate on the Appropriation Bill 2017/2018 is an attack on democracy, liberty and happiness and the constitution, consequence to playing with fire and perhaps willing to commit socio-economic suicide.
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 analysis. He can be reached at [email protected]