THE NEW PARADIGM
We are in the “silly season” and with it the prostitution of our democratic ethos: the template upon which our franchise, contextually speaking, is being given a perverse expression in a dubious quest for responsible national governance. Election time approaches and partisan politics rears its ugly head. And the amazing thing is that there is change without change as the various actors in their thespian roles delude the bovine populace time and time again.
In this political quagmire governance is a promise of fools for fools; a mirage on the desert of the people’s expectation and a figment of one’s imagination. As I see it governance is a sublime and functional reality. It is, since its absence is an adjectival negativity and hence falls within the realm of a macabre nihilism that is perfidious and crassly disappointing.
It is indeed the “silly season” and yet so many are oblivious to its futility and its purposelessness. Its characteristic and mundane feature is “de party”, whether red, yellow, blue or white; colours without colour for a purpose they do not serve. For the colours with which we paint our hearts are without the input of the mind. A somewhat atavistic posture of convenience, the genesis of which lies in a primordial, familial and genealogical association devoid of reason and ideological trappings.
And so the elements of “de party” vote in a blind frenzy of dubious and opportunistic allegiance. For whom or for what? The process is both divisive in its current mode and expression and is futile in its intended purpose. The process is demeaning and banality is exalted. What really is being sought is governance that redounds to the benefit of the people on a multiplicity of levels. But what presently obtains is anathema to the attainment of governance, since the people do not intellectually engage themselves in the process and mechanism of choice. Caught up in the cacophony of sounds and the meretricious melody of the platform rhetoric, they, like sheep in orgasmic ectasy, erect the cross for their own crucifiction.
And so with the effluxion of time we hear the drums of their individual and collective frustration and disappointments. What is needed is a revolution in thought, a departure from what presently obtains, a new paradigm. For it needs to be pellucidly understood that it is the Government that creates the heaven and the hell. It is the Government that imposes the taxes; it is the Government that is corrupt; it is the Government that is not transparent; it is the Government that is not accountable.
It is indeed the Government in its collectivity and not the individual ministers. And so the focus must be on the Government. The Government, despite its profound abstraction, is the reality. The Opposition is merely a package of promises, possibilities, probabilities, suggestions and uncertainities wallowing in a morass of faith and hope; amorphous, tenuous and nebulous in its proclaimed intentions. At election time it is the Government that needs to be tested; that must be tested. How should that test be crafted?
As I see it, what should be brought into existence is what I choose to term the Ten National Imperatives. To each would be attached a score out of 10 so that their totality would result in a percentage mark out of one hundred. These Ten National Imperatives are: Honesty, Vision, Transparency, Enlightenment, Fairness, Accountability, Pragmatism, Decisiveness, Boldness and Humbleness.
This is the yardstick by which the Government should be measured. It is never the District Representative that creates the conditions that impact on lives negatively or positively; it is always the Government, and that Government is accountable to the people. Only when the Government is placed against the yardstick of the Ten National Imperatives would the electorate be ready to vote intelligently. The passing grade would be 51 but the fifties is sheer mediocrity.
With such a system in place, the “silly season” would no longer be silly. It would be replaced by a salubrious atmosphere of individual and collective responsibility. The divisiveness, the acrimony and the violence on whatever level would be relegated to the trash heap of historical oddities. The change would be real and meaningful and Saint Lucia’s people would be responsible for this sublimating metamorphosis.
The interesting and remarkable consequence of all of this in the election scenario is that if the Government attains a failing mark then one simply supports the individuals who are presented as opposition.
As I conclude this presentation the question that filters through my mind is this: shouldn’t the pass mark be a rigorous 60% since it is the lives, the dreams, aspirations, hopes and potential of the people that are involved? Perhaps it should.
Saint Lucian Velon John is a former politician and