ACT NOW OR PER­ISH!

WARN­ING TO PM ALLEN CHASTANET

The Star (St. Lucia) - - FRONT PAGE -

The phrase “first hun­dred days” was orig­i­nally used in a ra­dio ad­dress by U.S. Pres­i­dent Franklin D. Roo­sevelt, who was re­fer­ring to the 100-day ses­sion of the 73rd United States Congress be­tween March 9 and June 17, not the first hun­dred days of his ad­min­is­tra­tion. The term is most of­ten ap­plied to the pro­duc­tive spe­cial ses­sion of Congress sum­moned by Roo­sevelt in 1933 to cope with the De­pres­sion. The his­tor­i­cal par­al­lel to FDR’s Hun­dred Days was Napoleon’s es­cape from Elba and his tri­umphant march across Europe that cul­mi­nated in dis­as­ter at Water­loo.

The time span be­tween Napoleon’s Elba es­cape and ul­ti­mate ab­di­ca­tion, how­ever, was 116 days; the “hun­dred days” was ap­plied to Louis XVlll’s ab­sence from Paris be­gin­ning March 20, 1815—as Napoleon ar­rived—to June 28, when the king re­turned in state af­ter Napoleon’s de­feat. The Count de Cham­bord, a pre­fect of Paris, coined the phrase: “A hun­dred days, sire, have elapsed since the fatal mo­ment when your Majesty was forced to quit your cap­i­tal in the midst of tears.”

Roo­sevelt’s Hun­dred Days were equally event­ful. Dur­ing the pe­riod from March 9 to June 16—ex­actly 100 days—the 73rd Congress en­acted

such mile­stone leg­is­la­tion as: vast pub­lic works and re­lief mea­sures; guar­an­tees of bank de­posits and tighter fed­eral leg­is­la­tion of the banks; agri­cul­tural sub­si­dies and the Ten­nessee Val­ley Author­ity.

Still in re­la­tion to that of­ten­misun­der­stood and mis­used “one hun­dred days”: While John F. Kennedy was work­ing on his in­au­gu­ral ad­dress, his speech writer Theodore Sorensen wrote in his mem­oir Kennedy, the pres­i­dent at one point said im­pa­tiently: “I’m sick of read­ing how we’re plan­ning an­other Hun­dred Days of mir­a­cles. Let’s put in that this won’t all be fin­ished in the first hun­dred days or a thou­sand.”

His fin­ished speech read: “All this will not be fin­ished in the first hun­dred days. Nor will it be fin­ished in the first thou­sand days, nor in the life of this Ad­min­is­tra­tion, nor even per­haps in our life­time on this planet. But let us be­gin.”

Yes, in­deed. Let us be­gin— with more re­cent his­tory. Whether our own aber­ra­tional “hun­dred days” be­gan in 2001 with prom­ises of 4-lane high­ways in the sky; a re­turn in 2006 to the event­ful days of green gold; jobs-jobs-jobs in 2011 and an “im­me­di­ate” in­jec­tion into the pri­vate sec­tor of “$100 mil­lion”; the full im­ple­men­ta­tion of “five to stay alive” upon be­ing elected is hardly the prob­lem. What is of con­cern is that the writ­ers of the cited dud checks knew they were serv­ing the peo­ple po­lit­i­cal souf­flé; their sole pur­pose be­ing to con a peo­ple so des­per­ately hung up on voodoo and obeah they con­tin­ued to be­lieve in mir­a­cles—even when one af­ter an­other they had failed to ma­te­ri­al­ize.

I have never placed much faith in the words of politi­cians. On the other hand I truly be­lieved in 1997, to para­phrase the dearly de­parted Sam Cooke, that a change was gonna come. Not only be­cause the na­tion had fi­nally off-loaded a 40-yearold ad­min­is­tra­tion fresh out of con­struc­tive ideas, but also be­cause it seemed to me the peo­ple had de­cided they’d had a bel­ly­ful of politi­cians with ly­ing eyes and dis­guised greasy smiles but no in­ten­tion to de­liver on their hand-on-heart pledges. We had been fooled too many times, I re­minded my­self, the next batch of politi­cians to fool the peo­ple surely would be hung out to dry . . . or some­thing like that.

I truly be­lieved back in 1997 that we, the peo­ple, had suf­fered too many loselose wars that ben­e­fit­ted only politi­cians, re­gard­less of party, and hence­forth would come to­gether in our own best in­ter­ests. That I be­lieved right up to the mo­ment Kenny An­thony plunged his ser­rated Bru­tus dag­ger in the back of Lady Lib­erty and booted out of of­fice three sen­a­tors who had stood on the side of the peo­ple against the nar­row in­ter­ests of his party. Yes, in­deed, I am now ir­re­vo­ca­bly con­vinced that politi­cians will put the peo­ple’s in­ter­ests first only when their own self­ish in­ter­ests de­pend on the ful­fill­ment of the pop­u­lar as­pi­ra­tion. Right now, they do not!

We need not go back to that multi-mil­lion-dol­lar pie in the sky that was only bait for the es­pe­cially naïve. We must move on, united in our pur­pose to save our co­matose coun­try and our bleed­ing rear ends. It serves no good pur­pose to bab­ble about im­ple­men­ta­tion of “hun­dred days” prom­ises doomed never to be de­liv­ered to our doors; not in a hun­dred days, not in a thou­sand days—not in our life­time. Start­ing with what­ever John Comp­ton of­fered in 1964, ev­ery suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ment has promised to take such ac­tion as would per­chance ame­lio­rate the floods that pre­dictably fol­low a few hours of rain, whether in Cas­tries, Bexon or Soufriere.

The task of at least sur­viv­ing a heavy shower with­out killer floods may not be easy. But then nei­ther is it im­pos­si­ble. Proper drainage metic­u­lously main­tained would go a long way as a preven­tive mea­sure. So would a change in the peo­ple’s garbage dis­posal habits.

But we were re­vis­it­ing the ori­gins of the phrase that our cam­paign­ing politi­cians have mind­lessly echoed for a few years now, in the process un­wit­tingly plac­ing around their necks psy­chic boul­ders be­yond their pow­ers of sur­vival. In­deed, they’ve added to their “hun­dred days” bur­den two more pon­der­ous stones: “in of­fice.” So, they are now ex­pected to de­liver in the “first hun­dred days” of their re­spec­tive ad­min­is­tra­tions what nei­ther FDR nor JFK, with their unlimited re­sources, ever dared to imag­ine, let alone prom­ise. Let me re­peat, the orig­i­nal “hun­dred days” re­lated to some­thing other than our politi­cians have in­vented: a kind of cat o’ nine tails for their own backs.

And so, while Allen Chastanet wres­tles with his party’s elec­tion-time fiveto-stay-alive jive, I con­tinue to ex­pect him to de­liver to the peo­ple res­o­lu­tions to the fol­low­ing mon­ster prob­lems: IMPACS; the peo­ple’s Power of Re­call; re­turn of the Saint Lu­cia Cross handed Gilbert Chagoury; Gryn­berg. As I see it, the cost of clear­ing these road­blocks should be min­i­mal and the re­turns phe­nom­e­nal. Let’s forget about fan­tasy “hun­dred days” mis­sions im­pos­si­ble, then, and in­stead start do­ing what must be done lest we per­ish. Let us be­gin . . . NOW!

Prime Min­is­ter Allen Chastanet ad­dress­ing the UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly last Satur­day: What­ever de­mands he and other re­gional prime min­is­ters make on the usu­ally halfempty room, few of which ever are suc­cess­ful, there re­mains vi­tal work to be done that he alone can ini­ti­ate on home ground!

Prime Min­is­ter Allen Chastanet: Much has been made by him and the House op­po­si­tion about his “first hun­dred days in of­fice,” as was made about the Kenny An­thony ad­min­is­tra­tion’s. But who’s fool­ing whom—and who’s con­stantly tak­ing it in the neck re­gard­less of which party forms the House ma­jor­ity? The gov­ern­ment re­cently re­leased a doc­u­men­tary pur­port­ing to il­lus­trate its ac­tiv­i­ties since com­ing to of­fice. It did not in­clude so­lu­tions to the prob­lems most cited in the months lead­ing up to the June 6 gen­eral elec­tions!

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