FREE AD­VICE TO THE UWP AD­MIN­IS­TRA­TION

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT - By Peter Josie Peter Josie was an SLP Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment for Cas­tries East from 1974 to 1979, be­ing ap­pointed Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture in 1979. He later served as Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs and ad­dressed the UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly in 1982. He con­tested the

Now that the eu­pho­ria of vic­tory has sub­sided and the ad­min­is­tra­tion set­tles down to de­liver its man­i­festo prom­ises, it’s wise to take a mo­ment (can­di­dates and party) and re­flect on the elec­tion cam­paign, and its re­sults. What can be im­proved on and what er­rors are to be avoided in fu­ture. Two ques­tions spring to mind: Could the party have won Cas­tries South and did its Cas­tries East can­di­date join the fight too late? A closer study of the con­duct of the op­po­nent should also prove use­ful.

An­other mat­ter which bears frank dis­cus­sion is the role played by per­sons such as Rick Wayne, Jeff Fedee and Den­nis Springer, plus a few oth­ers who may not wish to have their names men­tioned, in pro­vid­ing facts and ar­gu­ments that oth­ers ran with, blaz­ing the road to vic­tory.

The sym­po­sium ought to an­a­lyse the man­ner in which the de­feated are han­dling the re­jec­tion of the elec­torate. There are lessons to be learned even in de­feat. In a brief per­am­bu­la­tion in the north, one dis­cov­ers SLP sup­port­ers blam­ing their leader for Emma’s loss in Gros Islet. They in­sist that the mas­sive na­tional swing against the SLP was due to its leader, no one else. It would also be use­ful to ver­ify this and to use it to guide fu­ture ac­tions of the UWP and the govern­ment. Keep in mind that politi­cians can in­deed over­stay their wel­come, no mat­ter their ma­jori­ties.

The elections re­sults prove once again that there is no force more pow­er­ful than the will of the peo­ple. Mao Tse Tung said it best when he first ex­claimed, “The peo­ple and the peo­ple only, are the mov­ing force in world his­tory.” We saw ev­i­dence of this re­cently in Turkey where an at­tempted mil­i­tary coup was frus­trated by the peo­ple tak­ing to the streets and pro­tect­ing their duly elected govern­ment, and their democ­racy. The peo­ple need to know the truth at all times, and to be as­sured that their politi­cians are hon­est and plain talk­ing.

In analysing what may have gone wrong with the de­feated party, it’s also in­struc­tive to take a good look at the frown­ing face of the for­mer prime min­is­ter in Par­lia­ment last week and to note that he has yet to con­grat­u­late the new prime min­is­ter, Allen Chas­tanet. Such be­hav­iour is the mark of an­gry dic­ta­tors, who think they own the coun­try and the peo­ple. Some­one opined, “The peo­ple may have re­moved the SLP just in time; if not, only God knows what would be­come of Saint Lu­cia.” By the way, did you see the de­feated be­ing hugged out­side Par­lia­ment? Did you no­tice that there were no pretty gap-toothed damsels, or up­wardly mo­bile young men and women about him? The el­derly who were clos­est him looked an em­bar­rass­ing car­ry­over from the Ge­orge Charles era. Their votes may have been spoiled in the June 6 en­thu­si­asm, but the doomed per­sist as SLP ex­ploita­tion val­i­dates, rather than ed­u­cate ig­no­rance.

It was the first gen­eral elections in some forty odd years that I missed. I was, how­ever, con­fi­dent that my sin­gle vote would not have made a dif­fer­ence in the Gros Islet con­stituency this time around. One felt cer­tain that none of Spi­der’s Elec­tion Day helpers would have aban­doned their work at 4pm and be­gun cel­e­brat­ing as they did in 2011. This time there would be no six-vote re­verse vic­tory and ‘coco-mock­ery’ as hap­pened at Gros Islet and Babon­neau in 2011. The av­er­age per­son is fair-minded and hungers af­ter jus­tice. For this rea­son the shenani­gans of the 2011 elections were bound to weigh heav­ily in favour of over­turn­ing the mis­chief of 2011.

The tim­ing of the work to be ex­e­cuted needs pri­ori­tis­ing. Changes of per­son­nel in for­eign con­sulates and em­bassies are ex­pected to be smooth and not rushed. The AG’s role needs closer ex­am­i­na­tion. In the English par­lia­men­tary sys­tem there are three cru­cial po­si­tions in an elected govern­ment, i.e. the ex­ec­u­tive branch. These are Prime Min­is­ter, Min­is­ter of Fi­nance and At­tor­ney Gen­eral. The govern­ment (the ex­ec­u­tive) can op­er­ate with these three only, if it wishes. In ad­di­tion, the Prime Min­is­ter may at­tach other port­fo­lios such as Ed­u­ca­tion, Health, Na­tional Se­cu­rity, For­eign Re­la­tions, Hous­ing and Agri­cul­ture to the above three.

The At­tor­ney Gen­eral is the clos­est con­fi­dant and im­por­tant cog in the wheels of any govern­ment styled af­ter the English par­lia­men­tary sys­tem. The Ex­che­quer (Min­is­ter of Fi­nance), the Prime Min­is­ter and the At­tor­ney Gen­eral make up the pow­er­ful tri­umvi­rate on which the coun­try turns. It stands to rea­son, there­fore, that a Prime Min­is­ter will not know­ingly select an At­tor­ney Gen­eral who was ap­pointed by a sworn op­po­nent. There’s no need to point to the awk­ward and un­ten­able sit­u­a­tion as presently ex­ists re­gard­ing the Soufriere court mat­ter.

By the way, does any­one re­call that the SLP govern­ment de­manded res­ig­na­tions from per­sons who served on boards dur­ing the term of the for­mer UWP govern­ment? How long did the SLP wait to ap­point new diplo­mats? How long was it be­fore they pro­moted their friends and party hacks to top jobs in the civil ser­vice? Have we for­got­ten so soon?

There is one more trou­bling mat­ter wor­thy of dis­cus­sion. A ca­bal suf­fer­ing from a long with­drawal from men­tal slav­ery now lec­tures at UWI and sits on our re­gional courts. Peo­ple are afraid of the grow­ing in­flu­ence of the ca­bal. That’s why so many will not touch the CCJ. Politics has stained and un­der­mined con­fi­dence in the jus­tice sys­tem. A white com­plex­ion has now be­come a tar­get for po­lit­i­cal per­se­cu­tion. One re­mains hope­ful that there is still a hand­ful of hon­ourable men and women left in the le­gal pro­fes­sion who will prop­erly ad­ju­di­cate mat­ters ac­cord­ing to law, with­out fear or favour, and not be in­tim­i­dated by politics.

Fi­nally, the UWP and our govern­ment must bear in mind that idle, boast­ful talk has no place in govern­ment, or in politics. Be cer­tain, there­fore, that your PRO and press sec­re­tary have the facts cor­rect when they speak. Keep in mind that the peo­ple, and only the peo­ple, mat­ter. Ev­ery­thing said and done by you must there­fore be to im­prove their lives, not make them worse.

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