Letters & Opinion

Is St. Lucia An Autocracy Or A Democracy?

By Jeff Fedee

WHAT does St. Lucia need at this juncture of its social, political and economic history?

If we are objective, we will assume that it is preferable to live under a democratic system of government, in which the rights of man or the individual are guaranteed and respected; that all citizens are given the opportunity to develop economically and all citizens are able to exercise the freedom to choose a government of their choice, which is guaranteed under a democratic constitution.

When a party or a government is chosen under free, fair and acceptable conditions in an election, and does not respect the norms and principles expected under a democracy, then the citizens of a country are justified in rejecting that kind of autocratic government and its leader, which has broken what political philosophers call “the social contract”.

What do citizens of a country do, when the leader of a country indulges in excesses and decisions which impact negatively and against the best interests of the people?

The people of St. Lucia are fully aware of the financial excesses of the Prime Minister, which raises its ugly head again; in which the still undisclosed amount that was paid to Ernest & Young for the preparation of the budget for the last financial year 2017 – 2018.

The group preparing the 2018-2019 Budget has not been disclosed.

The preparation of St. Lucia’s annual budget has historically been prepared by technocrats in the various departments of government at no extra cost to the hard-pressed citizens of this country.

The contribution of citizens taxes pay the salaries of Government Ministers, and the funding of all aspects of government’s expenditure. Therefore, an elected government is duty-bound when unorthodox measures are taken which impinge on the state’s financial resources, to disclose to the citizens of this country whatever financial arrangements are made unnecessarily with foreign agents.

There is historical precedence, where a Prime Minister can be charged for ‘squander-mania’, which is the reckless expenditure of state finances. Eric Gairy, the flamboyant Prime Minister of Grenada, was charged in a court of law for the reckless expenditure of Grenada’s finances.

This is a time for the patriotism of our country-men to put partisan politics aside and forge a national alliance of patriotic citizens in defense of our country’s noble and democratic principles and traditions.

In order to destroy this authoritarian tendency of Allen Chastanet, St. Lucians have to express their displeasure in effective ways to change the course of Allen’s destructive course.

Reliable information is rife in the country that many statutory institutions governed by statutes which protect the confidentiality of those bodies, are being handed over to private entities, under the operation of select friends and associates of the Prime Minister.

The deviation of Allen Chastanet from the historical and traditional operation of statutory bodies, demonstrates an indifference to those institutions which were highly respected by the public.

The focus and the fabric of St. Lucian society in the past has been marked by discipline, dedication, and determination of our people with high ideals, which made tiny St. Lucia, a country widely, and highly known and regarded in the wider world of academia.

Our country’s esteemed reputation internationally, is now under threat. I must take the time to familiarize our country-men, especially the upcoming generation, who will be the leaders of tomorrow, of the high status that St. Lucia holds in the international community.

I therefore reflect for the benefit of our youth, the amazing achievements of our country St. Lucia, which appears as a dot on the world map. We were able to overcome what appeared to be insurmountable obstacles, by achieving goals and international recognition that have placed our country into the ranks of the advanced countries of the world.

I can name such icons as Sir Arthur Lewis, a world-class mathematician and economist, with a Nobel Prize in Economics; Sir Derek Walcott, a Nobel Laureate in the field of Literature. Apart from these two world-renowned gentlemen, there are innumerable brilliant academics in their fields of endeavour, such as Sir Darnley Alexander, who charted the laws for Nigeria; Dr. Edsel Edmunds, an agronomist and scientist, who established the W.I.N.B.A.N. Research Center in Roseau, which conducted research into the disease called “nematodes” which plagued the banana Industry in the Windward Islands.

There are innumerable brilliant St. Lucians who hold prominent positions in international institutions across the globe.

I draw these references, because of those St. Lucians who have overcome the limitations of a small country that has made a significant mark on the world stage, which has given St. Lucia a reputation which draws and attracts citizens from all over the globe, to visit our shores to observe what is so special about this small speck on the world map.

From that more disciplined legacy of the past, which featured a rigorous education system. St. Lucia was able to demolish the view that existed in the wider world, that black countries are intellectually inferior to other races. Instead of inculcating in our young persons the emphasis on an advanced education, the leader of our country is leading our country into ruin, into an endless round of a ‘Six-month Summer Festival”.

We all know within our hearts that Allan Chastanet is taking our country in the wrong direction, when instead of investing in excessive festivities; the government should invest the citizens’ taxes in crumbling schools, education, health facilities and infrastructure.

I have a treasured book by celebrated Caribbean writer V.S. Naipaul’s The Mimic Men. He was a percipient observer of the behaviour of Caribbean politicians, who enter politics in a humble and begging posture, who are transformed after getting into office.

Naipaul observes that these politicians assume a superior posture, transforming themselves into experts overnight and masters of the people. Their career is short and ends brutally.

As long as a politician does not operate under God’s grace and resorts to nefarious forces for his preservation, his governance will not succeed.

1 Comment

  1. Since so-called independence, St. Lucia has never been either an autocracy or a democracy; it has been a kakistocracy!

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