Letters & Opinion

Platitudes and Emptiness

By Anthony Serieux

Any doubts about the competence of Prime Minister Pierre and his suitability for his position would have been erased after last Sunday evening. In what the Prime Minister himself billed as “an important address” to which he urged all St Lucians to tune in to, Mr. Pierre produced another horrific and disappointing media performance

The most glaring deficiency in that address was its failure to deliver an immediate plan of action for addressing the crime problem that is currently plaguing our country. Mr. Pierre had no answers for reducing crime; no assurances to the anxious public that their concerns would be receiving the attention of his government, either now or in the immediate future; no message to the criminals themselves.

It was another address of platitudes and emptiness and judging from the comments posted on social media both before and after its delivery, St Lucians expected nothing and got nothing from it. This is not a good position for any leader of government to be in when, in the midst of a crisis in which lives are being lost—112 in 16 months under his watch– his people are saying that they do not trust him to come up with ideas or solutions.

Nowhere in his address did the Prime Minister mention even remotely any of the known crime trouble spots, not even Vieux Fort where gangs seem to be in total control and a strategy needs to be developed and implemented to curb the appetite of gangs for gun violence and mayhem that has Vieux Fortians living in fear.

But how dare anyone expect a tougher line with those gun toting criminals in the south when in the past we have heard the parliamentary representative actually begging them for mercy. Why should Mr. Pierre be expected to take them to task when his predecessor has been so useless in helping to turn Vieux Fort’s crime situation around?

It is now obvious that this government with its massive mandate, is nothing but a collective and institutionalized fraud on the people. It has no intention of doing the work that the voters elected it to perform on their behalf, no intention of making things better or setting the country on a proper footing. Its only concern appears to be politics, setting up its clique of supporters with jobs, contracts and positions at the country’s expense and all in the name of protecting the victory it won by naked deception and dishonesty.

Imagine in a self proclaimed “important” address on crime and violence in the society, the Prime Minister finds opportunity to slip into his narrative, a plan to launch an island wide clean-up campaign “to clear verges, roadside hedges and overhanging branches to increase visibility to pedestrians and motorists and have them maintained”. Any fool would recognize that Mr. Pierre was simply announcing another STEP programme to benefit Labour Party supporters at Christmas time as has been the practice over the years. But the Prime Minister announces this without the slightest tinge of shame or regret, when these are the only kinds of jobs his party has been known to create in our country.

One would have thought that with the Christmas season around the corner and the anticipated spike in crime, the Prime Minister would have announced a vigorous and comprehensive strategy to combat criminal behaviour. One also wished to have heard strong condemnations and warnings to criminals that the forces of law and order were being mobilized to confront them wherever they showed their ugly heads. These are the kinds of assurances that governments give to comfort their people in such times and to let everyone know that action is forthcoming.

But when we reach the stage where we cannot even promise to make life uncomfortable for gunmen, law breakers and murderers, we signal that it is open season for them to carry on as usual with their lawlessness.

We are heading into very dangerous times in this country. We see nothing to indicate that there is even the slight concern among the 15 members who were elected to lead us. In fact, they all are complicit in the lack of resolve we see before us in curbing crime. These men and women seem unperturbed that many people are now openly pointing fingers at most of them as being a huge part of the crime problem because of their own past deeds.

This is what government has been reduced to in our country and it’s a shame!

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