A Culture of Corruption

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

NOW this, before I respond to Michael Chastanet’s article, “Leadership Qualities”, in my next article.

Partisan politics continues to thrive here because its lifeblood stems from the same umbilical cord that feeds our society — the culture of corruption. No one wants to do the right thing. I am reminded of the biblical text, “Righteousness exalteth a nation but sin is a reproach to any people.” And you would think that a dreaded sect calling themselves Rastafarians would want to uphold this.

Sometime last year, I got threatened to get my locks cut off. I am manning the entry door for a major show in Soufriere last November at the mini stadium. The number of people looking to enter the show for free was disturbing. The staunchest taunting came from the supposed dreads at the door, who thought that because I had dreads, I should be letting them in for free. The curse words they hurled at me were endless.

I have often said that many of us sing Bob Marley’s songs but we do not live his philosophy; if we did, the world would be a very different place. I remember on the campaign trail some years ago when I predicted to a “friend” that the incumbent was going to lose, how upset he was with me. He told me how he has reeled in thousands of dollars through projects because his party was in power. He drove-off on me.

Many of us define corruption as a big “bobol” but we do not see it as stealing from the company’s time to do our own business. We do not see it as under-invoicing to cheat the government from its taxes. We do not see it as knowingly giving a bus driver a US quarter as 25 cents EC or diluting 75% cc Denros Strong Rum with water to make more volume as corruption. We do not see it as taking an hour and a half for lunch when we are allotted one hour. We do not see it as taking the hotel’s meat from their fridges because they have a lot and “the owners make themselves already”.

I have always compared partisan politics to a business in which the campaign funders are investors into the business and when the party sits in government it is time for them to get their paybacks, their returns on investments. So the maléwé (the low income bracket people) are not the ones to get the better slice of the cake. They get the lestan (the remains) if there is any. But we like it so. As the saying goes, we get the government we deserve. For now, I have cut my locks and that is a whole other story. Movie at 11 o’clock.

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