Letters & Opinion

When Substance Begins

Image of John Peters
By John Peters

I HAVE asked myself when substance will begin to be poured out by our political parties here in Saint Lucia. When will the intellectual stimuli be felt? Have we been ‘Trumpasized’? I have been a student of Caribbean politics for over 40 years; I have been following the general elections in every Caribbean State during that period. I have lived in four Caribbean countries during the intense periods of political campaign. As a young 19 year old University student, I was very involved in opposition politics. I was also then attracted to a political party that presented new thought and a new vision. So yes there is an internal yearning.

I fully agree that there has to be a little picong in our politics as that is our tradition, but the picong has to be the ‘pepper sauce’ placed on a balanced meal. We need a balanced meal, and I believe that it is unfair to leave a nation intellectually malnourished. We have to raise the bar in our local politics.

I have deliberately presented a PEOPLE’S MANIFESTO over a series of articles. The purpose of those writings was to convey that there are matters that can be discussed in Education, the Economy, on Tourism, on Infrastructure, on Housing and every other significant issue. I wish to remind the political parties that despite their polls, as I have said before, there remains a maturing electorate, a growing company of independent thinkers that have no political ethnicity and look at political parties to determine the predictability of good governance.

The predictability of good governance will not reside in slander and irrelevancies, but in the substance of policies. I have also observed that there is a subset of independent thinkers that are bound by political ethnicity, who cannot move within their independence to independent action. This subset of independent thinkers are those that are the metaphorical leopards that cannot change the colour of their skins, who have received the miracle of blind eyes being open, but are unable to take up their bed and walk. However, one day these may press against the gates and notice that these gates are open and they can walk out of their prison.

One of the recent statements made on a political platform was that Saint Lucia’s future can be determined by a voodoo priest in Haiti. Every church leader should speak out and remind the public that God is in charge of our nation when there is a praying community and that we believe the destiny of Saint Lucia is in the hands of God. The Bible is clear in Daniel 2:21, speaking about the God that I serve :‘’He changes times and periods of history. He removes kings and establishes them. He gives wisdom to those who are wise and knowledge to those who have insight.’’ I firmly believe the Bible to be true, and that Saint Lucia’s future will not ever and has never been determined by any Voodoo priest in Haiti, but will be determined by the praying community of our beloved island.

I am amused at times when candidates speak about what they intend to do within their constituencies. Having worked in the public service, you become fully aware of how resources are allocated. Funds are not allocated by constituency, and there will be many times when hard decisions are made which will involve sacrificing a project within your constituency even if your representative is the responsible Minister.

Every candidate is a possible Cabinet Member and thus the ability to articulate the political party’s policies should be evident in every candidate. I do not want you to come and tell me about fixing my road or putting a footpath, tell me your views on national issues. Let us interface on the four lane highway, and how we can improve the education system, how our water supply improvements can spur development, how to create a tourism industry that possesses a causal relationship with economic growth.

I am a La Tocian and I hope there will be some Town Hall meetings in my area, so that the candidates can be afforded an opportunity to present themselves and to subject themselves to scrutiny – No Holds Barred.

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