WE seem to be going round in circles sending off different signals about what needs to be done or will be done, to turn back the epidemic of social ills confronting St Lucia at this time. The problems may be varied–homicides, suicides, rapes, domestic abuse, abuse of women and children–but they all have their genesis in a culture that has been allowed to flourish for too long.
The disappearance of family values like parental responsibility, domestic discipline, order and respect, supervision of children etc. etc. have combined to produce a whirlwind that now threatens us all.
We live in a society where there is an obsession with the appearance of women’s bodies that is fuelling the current rape culture. We see our young girls, even from an early age, eager to show off themselves and become objects, while young men parade their masculinity as if it was a badge of honour, a symbol of power and domination. No, we are not, as so many seem prepared to do, trying to blame one gender and making excuses for the other. We are simply alluding to a fact of life that feeds the lust that produces rape.
The drug culture which really began to take root here in the 1980s has also had effects on our society that were once unimaginable. It has spawned a range of different crimes, from gun possession and murder to gang warfare and money laundering, while contaminating the very systems and institutions that were supposed to be keeping it in check or bringing offenders to heel.
It’s no secret that the drug industry now supports the welfare and lifestyles of thousands of our people. St Lucia, like most other countries, has made no progress reversing it. But drugs and crime have combined to inflict hundreds of young thugs on the citizenry who would murder someone in cold blood without batting an eye. We have seen it happen over and over again.
Suicides are another phenomenon causing national concern, although the current spurt of incidents is nothing new. In fact between 1982 and 1984, Victoria Hospital admitted 30 persons who had voluntarily taken poison to end their lives. Interestingly, the statistics did not include suicide victims who died on the spot after using other means than poison.
But it is the things that we do to one another that really raise concern and need both explanation and remedy. We hear the various suggestions being put forward but they all sound piecemeal. Would a registry of sex offenders stop the rapes? Would the creation of more jobs bring down crime? Do tougher penalties for offenders work? Should we continue putting our young men in prison where they could spend years without trial while placing a financial burden on the state? And would the death penalty deter murderers ?
Our observation is that today’s criminals are just not fazed by threats of tougher punitive measures against them. So what are our options? Churchmen from different religious denominations who met in Babonneau earlier in the week, agreed that St Lucia’s situation calls for divine intervention and have scheduled today as a day of prayer and fasting to ask the Almighty to heal the land.
We frequently hear the old saying that God helps those who help themselves which, contrary to popular belief, is not biblical. But in fact, it is the opposite that is biblical, that God helps the helpless. We cannot consider ourselves helpless when we have not even begun to seriously attempt to find solutions to the ills that now face us. Maybe this is where we should start, but it is a mission that requires leadership and direction, not just a babel of voices saying different things.
STUCK IN 20TH CENTURY POLITICS
The political temperature is rising markedly in Saint Lucia. Soon enough, more than likely after the presentation of the estimates of expenditure, we will be told by our all powerful Prime Minister when the bells will toll.
There is no doubt, given the prelude to the 2016 poll that has been unraveling thus far, that it will be politics a la 1960-1997. Brace yourselves for more movais lange, mapwis, name calling, and character assassination. Both sides have offered their first salvoes or fired their first volleys.
Old habits die hard. Our politicians are stuck on stupid when on the hustling. Stuck in the politics of the 20th century and refusing to move. Perhaps we should ask a few questions of them and hope that one will be open to extending the courtesy to answer whatever is applicable to them or their party.
How stupid do you think we are Mr. Chastanet when you posts pics of yourself on social media pounding mud cakes into pot holes and extolling the self-help virtues of the people of Micoud? Really?
Mr. Phillip Pierre how stupid do you think we are when you referenced Mr. Fedee’s short stature and the fact that he is Guyanese? I guess you expect us to buy that you just wanted us to be familiar with his biometrics and resume?
Can you tell us, Mr. Guy Mayers, how stupid do you think we are that to accuse Ms. Hipployte of being a senior citizen? Maybe you are convinced that we think that this should automatically disqualify her from serving in public office? Do you really believe that, Sir?
Perhaps we can pose one to an avatar character with a fake profile on St. Lucia Votes 2016 named Devon Nick as well. You may not be a politician but you are propagandizing acolyte of the UWP. How does resurrecting the alleged sexual exploits of a politician, in all its cringe worthy details, on social media persuade one voter to make a voting decision in favor of your party?
In the same manner let’s ask “Thin Forward”, another SLP propagandizing operative on SLAP why do you think that to include lowest gas prices as an accomplishment of the government would not be challenged by at least one person? What does any government has to do with the price of oil and by extension gas?
While we are at it let’s ask one of the other spokes persons of the various parties. How stupid do you think we are that we should be asked to suspend disbelief about such unpalatable acts, or to suggest that we protest too much?
The silent significant constituency who do not wear their party colours on their sleeves or those who eschew belonging to a tribe are vomiting in their mouths and they hate that feeling. Consequently they are going to make you pay at the polls for these indiscretions and that kind of crassness.
They are demanding that the UWP “show slate” as regards a plan for governance should they, by some stroke of luck, be returned to office and they do not appreciate the hedging, dodging, and parrying every time that issue is raised.
That specific constituency referenced above wants to know whether this administration has used all the arrows in their quiver as far as the economy is concerned. If not, then what next? Have you played your best card or do you want to play your xenophobic card now?
They want the UWP to dispel the notion that the same dysfunction which plagued their last administration will not raise its ugly head again when it is clear to them that the party and Stephenson King are dancing to different tunes.
They want to know why the government is dragging its feet as regards the IMPACS report and the implementation of the recommendations therein.
They want to place on record their utter displeasure with the government’s performance as it relates to public safety and crime.
They are demanding a public pledge from every candidate that they renounce public corruption and in addition for the UWP to, in the least, acknowledge that they mishandled the CDP funds to the extent that it was a betrayal of the public trust.
Those dyed in the wool supporters may see these questions and demands as an affront to their party or the persons mentioned except that they are not.
Your bosses demand that you move, no matter how reluctant, to the 21st century as far as the politics and the governance of the country is concerned. I don’t expect anyone to have a problem with that.