IS THIS THE DEVIL’S DILDO?
‘Our once respected parliament long ago transmogrified into a gussied-up whorehouse, where johns and their tricks toss around obscenities as easily as they do the Mace, all in the name of We the People. To judge by the plethora of videotaped evidence on the Internet, we are, admittedly or not, shareholders in the nation’s House of ill repute—the air-conditioned extension of the Castries marketsteps and William Peter Boulevard!’
Although several sources have attributed to Lord Acton the axiom “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” (1887) the consensus is that the English Catholic historian did not invent the idea. William Pitt the Elder had said something similar in a House of Lords Speech (1770): “Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it.” I especially like the following, lifted from an English translation of France and England: A vision of the Future by Alphonse Marie Louis de Prat de Lamartine, published in London in 1848: “It is not only the slave or the serf who is ameliorated in becoming free . . . the master himself did not gain less in every point of view . . . for absolute power corrupts the best natures.” By freeing his slaves the slave master sets himself free. If only that were beyond dispute!
What if a man’s original nature had from childhood been twisted out of shape by various unspeakable abuses; by poverty, deprivation and deeply etched feelings of inadequacy? What if such a man should somehow discover himself in circumstances that afford him the unique privileges that elected Caribbean politicians have taken unto themselves— particularly prime ministers— abetted by parasitic enablers? In that scenario, might power be the red devil’s dildo—not his creator?
I’ve been pondering over that a lot lately. It seems to me what our politicians possess—or would willingly sell their souls to possess—is actually a powerless power, good only for holding sway over the percentage of the populace (include our declared best brains) that imagines itself altogether lost without them. The irreducible truth is that they can do next to nothing, save on beggar knees. The economies of their effectively failed states depend (to borrow from Tennessee Williams) on the peculiar generosity of strangers: mainly Saudi Shylocks, shifty-eyed billionaires chasing unquestioning holy grails, and on speculators in all varieties of dubious endeavors, as illegal in their over-policed home countries as here (where it is possible for the holder of one office to be the effective controller of several other offices at the same time).
Our powerless powerhouses have all but wiped out every golden goose within reach; rendered our once famously fertile lands barren by a combination of arrogant ignorance and willful neglect, and by years of flouting the laws of nature. Once pristine waters awash with fish now are so polluted as to be hazardous to life—human and marine.
We the people have for too long been willing participants in the sick ritual that has passed here for good governance. A long time ago wrong overtook right; what once was immoral is today moral—enthusiastically endorsed by the self-appointed guardians of Heaven’s front gate. To cite yet another casual observer of life as we’ve made it, Sir Louis BlomCooper. This is from his report of the 1998 commission of inquiry into a trio of events in public administration: “I have discerned a culture in Saint Lucia of studied indifference or, at the very least, to the practice, even the concept of public accountability—a cultural climate in which administrative torpor can thrive, unhampered by detection or, if and when uncovered, by disciplinary action.” Blom-Cooper would not be the last to record the continuing sorry state of state affairs on our Rock of Sages.
When we cannot talk away the worst assaults on our Constitution we blame them on the effects of slavery suffered
hundreds of years ago by our forbears and passed on to us, whether or not genetically. Or on “the system” we’ve always known to be corrupt, as if indeed we were not ourselves the blood, flesh and bones of that perpetuated same corrupt system. Small wonder we find ourselves in every sphere increasingly dependent on lesser evils.
To borrow yet again from the late great Christopher Hitchens: “The whole point about corruption in politics is that it can’t be done properly, without a bipartisan consensus.” Which returns us to the mephitic matter of what we the people do to ourselves when we not only knowingly elect people of dubious character to seats at the most important table in the land but we also seek to justify and perfume their obnoxious table manners and scatological droppings.
Stories abound about the sordid proclivities of our elected representatives and their complicit taxfunded surrogates. The same government that had initiated the earlier mentioned enquiry, the same that Blom-Cooper had declared “uncomfortably aware of the past backwardness in good governance,” and lauded for taking “the first step toward dispelling the culture [of corruption],” that government was itself responsible for several costly matters of public interest still to be properly accounted for, among them Frenwell and Grynberg. It had initiated forensic audits involving opposition MPs. But rather than taking the corrective steps afforded it by the Saint Lucia Constitution the government inexplicably chose instead to post the disputed reports on the Internet, not before the Director of Public Prosecutions.
When in opposition, the current government pledged to uncover the secrets of Grynberg. To date, nada. Is this, too, a case of saying on the campaign trail whatever works but with nary a thought for the standards vital to good governance and, to quote Blom-Cooper once more, “key to the future stability and development in the territories of the Caribbean?” Why have no questions been asked in parliament relative to Grynberg, despite that the governor general has publicly confirmed her non-involvement in the still secret costly arrangement?
I am becoming increasingly convinced none of the investigations, going back years; none of the several serious allegations leveled almost monthly at opposing parties in parliament; none of the made-for-Facebook revelations, not to say leaked official documents “anonymously” directed to a particular media personality, were ever intended for the purposes of justice. As expensive as have been these transparent adventures, it is my conviction their sole purpose was to sully in the interest of political ambitions the reputations of certain individuals. They were never meant as evidence to be placed before a court of law. What a farce our once revered institutions have become: the collective church, the Christian Council that in an earlier time was at once respected and feared by the good, the bad and the ugly . . . (with apologies to T.C. Brown) Where are they now?
Our once respected parliament long ago transmogrified into a gussied-up whorehouse, where johns and their tricks are free to toss around obscenities and the Mace, all in the name of we the people. To judge by the plethora of videotaped evidence on the Internet, we are all shareholders— reluctant or not—in the nation’s House of ill repute. An air-conditioned extension of the steps of the Castries market and William Peter Boulevard.
For how many years have our school children been taught to believe our parliamentary system is based on Whitehall? A carnival grotesque of the British parliament would be a more apt description. Our parliament mindlessly mocks what it was meant to emulate—with attendant consequences that, one way or another, affect the whole country. How risible to hear a minister of government suggesting our off-the rails youth might easily mend if only they could learn to settle arguments without reaching for one another’s jugulars. I dare to say conflict resolution sessions would more usefully be conducted in the House that is not a home.
Then again, why should we expect a politician in office to demonstrate traits never synonymous with the beast prior to its elevation? When did we attend a political rally where the principals demonstrated some measure of respect, for themselves or for their audience? Can you recall, dear reader, a political rally that wasn’t a naked insult to the nation’s intelligence? Why, then, act surprised when our MPs hurl insults at one another, when they declare their fellow elected colleagues criminals, renegades and no-pedigree canines even with a lady in the Speaker’s chair? As for the possibly illegal use of state trappings as weapons of war, well, that’s what happens when lesser evils are placed unfettered at the levers of state power.
Politicians are not caterpillars; they are demonstrably more closely related to cockroaches. And nature never intended cockroaches at any point to metamorphose into butterflies. For all time, cockroaches will be cockroaches!
It is quite possible the next House sitting will prove what Prime Minister Allen Chastanet is made of. A St. Lucia with 50 homicides in less than a year is obviously a St. Lucia totally out of control. The question is: Can he tame the beasts?
Director of Public Prosecutions Daarsrean Greene: For some the law of the jungle would be more appropriate in our circumstances than the Saint Lucia Constitution. Thankfully the vast majority say nay!