COMMENTARY – Life beyond the Allen Chastanet-led administration’s honeymoon has serious repercussions in regard to the governance of Saint Lucia, heading into its first full year in power.
On that new basis, comrade Stevaco Joseph’s conscious New Year’s messages defined and reaffirmed the state of affairs: “It is vividly evident that we live in a broken world. A violent world. A greedy world with powerful insane leadership. But there is hope that human consciousness will develop to a level which will enable fundamental change within the core of our insane world.
“In Iyanola the insanity is prevalent. We continue with the divisive politics that is retarding our growth and development. The violence is ever present: weekly shooting, stabbing, stealing. Our leaders are nothing more but great pretenders devoid of ideas, playing games to satisfy their ego. There is a lack of civility. Our moral foundation shaken to the core!
“In 2017, in this 238 sq. miles island with 170,000 of us, we should not permit 17 to have the power. We need to take control of our lives directly by coming together and refusing to cooperate with that which wishes to enslave us. Our collective energy can overturn all evil. Blessed love. Conscious New Year.”
With such emphatic clarity, I concur!
To begin with, hardly anyone can argue the factual evidence that lies in imperial ambitions, that has manifested themselves over recent years, when the government of Saint Lucia is in search for new partners.
In 1987, Sir John Compton experimented with the River Doree Holdings Limited, commonly referred to as the “Danes” to lease 1,337 acres of agricultural lands, on a 50-year lease agreement, with the option to purchase at EC$10, in the hope of improving agri-food exports and a development program.
What did the country gain? The answer is however, extremely minuscule!
The ensuing decline of Windward Island Bananas, unproductive in the context of globalized market economy, the Geest lands and the Cul-de sac region were not models and divested towards agri research and food production. It is now more of a rural sprawl.
In the late seventies and early eighties Saint Lucia was introduced to Hess Oil, and the expectation of a refinery. The end result was an oil transshipment port and a few secondary schools. It is now Buckeye St Lucia Terminal Limited.
In the folly of unplanned development and strategic thinking, Rochamel and Frenwell evolved, spinning over to Sandals Grand St Lucia resort.
For the record, the Grynberg dispute is ongoing, I’ll just leave it at that.
Fast forward to the Black-Bay land fiasco, from which taxpayers are still trying to recover and landlords face a massive write-down.
At a short distance is La Paradis, the unpardonable destruction of hundreds of acres of virgin lands, the loss of a bird sanctuary and damages to the ecosystem, including loss of fisheries habitat, is still unresolved.
Sandals LaSource St Lucia, and DSH Caribbean Star Limited have taken the lead with a government of no less than “gamblers toeing the line and a prime minister with ‘industry experience’ that is overrated and others know it.”
Even more, there is the attempt at nostalgic transition to keep economic intentions secret, while experimenting with banana exports to France/EU. Previously, it was with the UK.
Undaunted, it is almost certain, identical mistakes of the past are being made. This time in a change metaphor, acknowledged by the fact that the less one speaks, the more bread there is to eat, on the assumption of benevolence.
The evidence proves the Chastanet-led administration is an exception to the rule. Parliament seem secular and, far too often, well below the eloquence of grade six, in conjunction with surrogates, mired in fruitless and counterproductive politics.
In that way citizens have been repeatedly duped and are now certainly more compromised as never before, until the moment when the naked truth surfaces, the likes of some already under scrutiny, for personal enrichment, injustice and money laundering, the aversion to succumb has no boundaries.
Evidently, there’s a lack of foresight and examples of staggering shortsightedness are not difficult to find. This is more evident by the Chastanet-led administration that is far less equipped to process a realistic assessment of Saint Lucia’s current capabilities, together with a realistically plan to restore the country.
Far too often development is shaped by the fancy of bureaucrats and the elites in secrecy, meanwhile society as a whole are spectators. Their hopes and aspirations for the future, left in the dark. There values, desires, and objectives ignore, but carefully orchestrated for general elections.
However, while crisis of change seems a signature theme worldwide and Saint Lucia is not immune, seeking its share of the pie to escape slow growth, crime and violence, in order to attain economic freedom and achieve sustainable development, there is a clear need to eradicate the culture of official corruption, disruptive politics, career politicians and scandals that deepens social unrest.
By contrast, encouraging innovation and change through adopting and implementing policies that promote economic freedom, good governance, and the rule of law, removes barriers to growth and thus expand opportunities to economic growth.
In fact, economic freedom with thwarted convergence without a new model to implement policy measures that is based on sound prerequisites to cushion budgetary measures and prepare for uncertainties.
“There has to be a scene of dignity and pride and the reestablishment of the edifice to persuade the public to change that commands the public respect and their struggle to maintain a decent life.” Optimism in the midst of despair
Part 2: Change and freedom at the highest threat levels
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]