Above All Avoid Greed

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT - By Peter Josie

At the ad­journ­ment of last week’s House of Assem­bly sit­ting, Prime Min­is­ter Allen Chas­tanet rushed to He­wanorra Air­port en-route to the UK. From there he was to fly to Morocco (his sec­ond visit since as­sum­ing of­fice) for meet­ings on cli­mate change and other mat­ters of na­tional in­ter­est. Since his re­elec­tion Min­is­ter Guy Joseph has been in con­stant mo­tion. Storm Matthew vis­ited, but did not di­min­ish his ap­petite for fin­ish­ing the job at St. Jude Hospi­tal. To nearly ev­ery­one’s sur­prise ma­te­ri­als re­lated to the Vieux Fort hospi­tal were stored in places like Grand Riviere, Gros-Islet. Wow! All pri­vate premises to boot! Min­is­ter Ezekiel Joseph has had to deal with the blow de­liv­ered by Matthew to the banana in­dus­try. Min­is­ter Flood-Beaubrun and Se­na­tor Her­mangild Fran­cis have been busy cor­rect­ing the mess left this govern­ment by its pre­de­ces­sor. So, too, has Min­is­ter Ubal­dus Ray­mond, the go-to man at Fi­nance. He has been work­ing tire­lessly to fol­low the rigid sug­ges­tions to right the econ­omy, as sug­gested by ex­perts from the World Bank, IMF, CDB and OECS Cen­tral Bank from whom the govern­ment had sought ad­vice.

Other govern­ment min­is­ters are equally hard at work. Gale Rigob­ert is set­ting the foun­da­tion for a com­plete re­vamp­ing of ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing. Re­cently, Min­is­ter Stephen­son King was in Soufriere ex­tend­ing the reach of his Labour port­fo­lio to the west and south of the is­land. Min­is­ter Le­nard Spi­der Montoute has kept his fin­gers on the pulse of things, although the STEP work­ers at Bonne Terre seem de­ter­mined to sab­o­tage his ef­forts. Min­is­ters Bradley and Do­minic Fedee are ob­vi­ously in­tent on suc­cess. In­deed, ev­ery min­is­ter of the govern­ment seems at full throt­tle. Their en­thu­si­asm has been pal­pa­ble. At the health min­istry Mary Isaac is as de­ter­mined as ever to open the new EU hospi­tal. The pas­sion of these men and women is daily man­i­fested.

There is how­ever, a great dan­ger lurk­ing which they all need to be aware of. I re­fer to blind de­vo­tion to work that leaves time for lit­tle else, in­clud­ing fam­ily and per­sonal health. Peo­ple ap­pre­ci­ate min­is­ters of govern­ment who give their all for their con­stituents and the na­tion. Many cit­i­zens de­pend on the govern­ment for job cre­ation, pro­vid­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for per­sonal ad­vance­ment, schol­ar­ships and health care. An energized govern­ment tries to do the right thing by giv­ing 100 per­cent ef­fort to right­ing the wrongs that need cor­rect­ing. Still, the pres­sure from a shame­less and failed op­po­si­tion mounts as des­per­ate po­lit­i­cal hacks on ra­dio and tele­vi­sion, con­tinue to spread false in­for­ma­tion. That’s what the op­po­si­tion party does best – spread lies with im­punity!

The fol­low­ing ad­vice is there­fore of­fered free to those who need it. By all means give ser­vice to your con­stituents and the na­tion your full and un­di­vided at­ten­tion, Mon­day to Fri­day, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Work hard, de­vot­ing qual­ity time to the tasks at hand. How­ever, re­solve never to take the of­fice home with you. Make time for fam­ily, es­pe­cially if you are a mother or fa­ther of small chil­dren. Do not sac­ri­fice your fam­ily for pol­i­tics or any­thing else. If the two con­flict, give up pol­i­tics! Pace your­self, you will be of lit­tle use to the na­tion if your health fails. Re­mem­ber, no mat­ter how hard you work there will be more to do af­ter you re­tire from pol­i­tics.

Learn quickly those whom you can trust and del­e­gate author­ity to them. Do not mi­cro-man­age! Grasp broad pol­icy out­lines and ap­pre­ci­ate the plan and pro­gramme of ex­e­cu­tion. Don’t al­low your­selves to be in­tim­i­dated. Don’t let any per­son or thing frus­trate your work. The best job of govern­ment is that which brings per­ma­nent re­lief to peo­ple. Speak truth fear­lessly; never lie!

A res­o­lute, calm and de­ter­mined leader is not eas­ily frus­trated. In­deed, a keen po­lit­i­cal leader will dis­cover that ob­sta­cles, whether man-made or acts of na­ture, such as storms, are the paths to suc­cess. A firm and de­ter­mined leader with the right ap­proach and the sup­port of strong con­stituents and fam­ily can break through most ob­sta­cles.

Stay in close touch with your con­stituents, es­pe­cially those who cam­paigned and helped get you elected. Be­ing a Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment is ob­vi­ously a great hon­our but there is more to life than po­lit­i­cal ac­co­lades. Stay united! There’s noth­ing quite as ef­fec­tive as greed when it comes to set­ting peo­ple against one an­other. Avoid it at all cost. Per­sons who share an ide­ol­ogy and who re­main fo­cused are less likely to fall apart, re­gard­less of cir­cum­stances. Pol­i­tics is about sac­ri­fice, not about the self­ish ac­cu­mu­la­tion of trin­kets. Putting peo­ple first should be a con­stant prayer.

Be pre­pared to sit with the me­dia and an­swer le­git­i­mate ques­tions about your work and your vi­sion for the coun­try and your con­stituency. Reg­u­lar ques­tions and an­swers keep peo­ple in­formed and fill the vac­uum which po­lit­i­cal hacks and op­po­nents de­pend on for sur­vival.

I was tempted to be­gin this ar­ti­cle with my fa­vorite quo­ta­tion from Holy Writ. In­stead, I end with it as an of­fer to the govern­ment for fur­ther re­flec­tion. It is taken from Isa­iah: (ch. 40 vs. 30 and 31). “Even those who are young grow weak; young men can fall ex­hausted. But those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength re­newed. They will rise on wings like ea­gles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not grow weak.” By the way, I did the op­po­site of most of what I’ve sug­gested above and con­tinue to pay paid dearly.

Prime Min­is­ter Allen Chas­tanet with his wife Raquel. It’s a well kept se­cret the price paid by wives and off­spring of lo­cal politi­cians!

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