DARKNESS BEFORE THE LIGHT
The attempt by SLP members and their friends to cast a dark cloud of opposition on this island is not new. It has been tried before with marginal success. The truth is that such darkness has been perceived by the electorate as selfish in design and motivated by greed and ignorance. Thankfully, that political darkness is not the permanent darkness of the tomb. It is more akin to the darkness of an early morning, before first light. The opposition to the island’s latest investment proposals is little more than an attempt to frustrate the government and to keep it off balance. But the people are not deceived.
This temporary darkness is one of transition – it is the pain of labour at the arrival of a new birth. It is therefore a transition from the womb to the magical light of a new birth – a new paradigm. The opposition fears the transition. It sees it as procuring new jobs designed to alleviate the suffering of displaced temporary government workers by arranging more secure, permanent jobs. The opposition fears a budget by Allen Chastanet will expose the weaknesses of the past, which some politicians and their hacks want him to leave unrevealed.
The spirit of darkness which is perpetuated by a handful of desperate men hiding behind partisan politics cannot be allowed to stand. These shameless imposters left behind them an empty treasury and a mountain of debts with which the Chastanet government is grappling. Some opposition hacks go so far as to make it appear that the financial crisis is of Chastanet’s creation. They continue to harass the public and spread mischief, using the national trust and others as shield. But their anger is dated and their methods are well known. They shall not prevail!
That anger began ever since they squandered a 16: 1 mandate of 1997. Greed and selfishness got in the way of performance and delivery. The harm was self-inflicted! In a short four-year span (1997 to 2001), they all but buried the crucial banana industry. They did not care that bananas had brought much economic prosperity and social advancement. Worst, they were ambivalent about tourism which they deemed white and subservient. They did not care to demean hotel workers, crucial people in tourism.
As replacement for lost income they ruthlessly taxed those who were gainfully employed. Then to ameliorate the dire economic situation which they created, they resorted to STEP and NICE and other acronyms designed as a joke and a diversion, all in one breath.
Since 2001 the blanket anger amongst the citizenry against new Labour, as Odlum once called them, was never fully ventilated. The UWP opposition watched and allowed the disenchantment to grow until the people had had enough. State boards, town and village councils, and even the public service had largely been transformed, to perform as Labour party machinery and mouth pieces. It was the island’s darkest hour since adult suffrage.
When the people could take no more, they returned to the man and the party that had led them to better days - Sir John George Melville Compton. The change was sadly short lived as the leader soon passed. The people were forced to return to their abusers after Compton’s UWP caretakers imploded. On its return, the Labour government expanded taxes and its temporary jobs programme. There were very little foreign direct investments. Jobs continued to be lost and people began to vote with their feet. Qualified young Saint Lucians were choosing to marry and remain in their spouses’ countries. Saint Lucia was bleeding talent while the ‘qualified’ ones who were appointed and paid huge salaries by Labour had nothing to show for their huge incomes.
In 2016 it was time to face the long darkness. The UWP was left no choice but to prepare itself by electing a new leader who offered hope to the electorate. In June 2016 that new leader emerged, receiving the largest mandate in the last four elections. To his chagrin the former Labour government left behind it massive debts; both St. Jude hospital at Vieux Fort and the Owen King hospital in Castries are still not completed. It would require a further $100,000,000 to complete St. Jude. The new Owen King hospital is hardly better off.
The noisy crescendo and darkness from the opposition is nothing more than a cry of fear. They fear the new light because they operate best in darkness. The first ever budget soon to be presented by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet is designed to shine new light in that darkness. It will mark a turning point and a rebirth of the Saint Lucia we love. The temporary darkness of the womb will give birth to a new people and set asunder the darkness of the SLP tomb. That new light is meant to dispel the darkness of ignorance in which certain politicians thrive. Some see it as the light after the darkness of fifteen years of hard labour.