TEN days after Saint Lucians went to the polls to elect a new government, one would have thought that the partisan dust that filled the air during the election campaign would have settled by now. Unfortunately, it has not.
With a new Cabinet sworn in last Tuesday, many Saint Lucians remain divided over the emphatic statement voters made at the polls when they voted for a change, as is their democratic right. However, it seems clear today that those principles of democracy that were being espoused right up until polling day – including the need for Saint Lucians to exercise their franchise by voting – have flown out the colour-stained, myopic window.
Presently, the nation remains embroiled in the political war of words between respective party faithful who either cannot accept defeat or are too boastful about scoring majority seats over the other. People who are usually friends have now resorted to launching even personal attacks on each other in the name of their respective parties.
What is even more lamentable is that there are actually Saint Lucians wishing for the newly-installed government to fail at every turn of its five-year term. Some people have even resorted to denouncing Allen Chastanet as their Prime Minister and wishing that Saint Lucia finally enters the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s bowels.
There are many theories as to the genesis of the teeming hatred so prevalent these days, including the fact that political parties went many miles during their campaign rallies to paint each opposing candidtates as the worst human beings alive. Another reason: that people are so entrenched in their party politics that country becomes secondary to party.
The irony of it all is that while Americans are seeing to it that Donald Trump continues to make headway in the United States in the lead-up to the November polls there, many Saint Lucians here in Saint Lucia seem to have a more vested interest in him not snatching the presidency from Hillary Clinton than in the government that was duly elected a week ago.
The simple truth is this: if democracy is to be cited as a basic human right, then so be it. But people should not go about changing the principles of democracy to suit their own selfish agendas.
In any elections, some people win and some lose. However, the microscope is often placed more squarely on how those who do lose at times respond to their losses, regroup and live to win again. Deriding another’s win is not an admirable trait of real winners who sometimes lose.
In any event, no patriotic Saint Lucian should be wishing for the social, economic and political downfall of their island. Democracy, like patriotism, should not be a virtue that people wear proudly on their sleeves at Independence time. Democracy means respecting the basic rights we all share, including the right to choose a government, a right that many people in many places wish they had.