The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT - By Dr. Velon John

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


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