Letters & Opinion

A Nation Divided

Image of Kensley Peter Charlemange
Image of Kensley Peter Charlemange
Independent Eye by Kensley Peter Charlemange

THE dichotomy of our nation is in its history — seven times British, seven times French, La Rose and La Marguerite, and so on — is further perpetuated by our tribal politics and our bicameral system of government.

A house divided against itself cannot stand — be it my house, your house or Government House. I detest what passes for debate in the House of Assembly, especially during Budget time and trust little that is uttered in the Parliament of Saint Lucia. It is all too predictable, too vile, too vindictive and too much of a blame game.

One of the best presentations that I enjoyed was one from Rufus Bouquet when he was sidelined by his administration and was on the back bench. Another was from George Odlum when he described the budget of the day as a ‘bikini budget’. These two men had nothing to gain or lose and so they were honest and biting and downright analytical.

The situation confronting our nation is dire and at this point we are perched on a precipitous descent. The Opposition can cry as much as they want, their voice is really not important; it’s of no effect in our present system of government. They can’t really sway the government in one direction or the other. The governing side (the divide) has the majority.

Am I the only one who reflects on government and sees that it is not working, at least not for the common man? Government is a business and the people who benefit from it are the investors, the campaign financiers.

This week, a march was planned against the proposed DSH project. On the very same evening, there was a meeting planned in the south. What coincidence! What irony! Each camp preparing its soldiers, only that the war is against our own selves.

I continue to propose that there should be no ruling side and opposition in our government. All parliamentarians should sit in the House as equals. How does that happen? All members are voted in on an independent ticket. Parliamentarians have nothing to do but represent their constituencies in the House of Assembly. None of them are Ministers of Government.

Ministers of Government should be the people with the know-how who may be fielded from the public service or appointed from the private sector. We call it a separation of the Executive and Legislative arms of Government. That is the independent model in a nutshell. I continue to watch what passes for democracy in our country and I am amazed and flabbergasted.

The dichotomy of division in our nation is historic but the continuance of it is stupid, backward and unprogressive.


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