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

On Thurs­day Novem­ber 2, on TALK I was in­trigued by the res­ur­rec­tion of a long past and not-so-se­cret love let­ter from a cer­tain politi­cian to a teenage girl. Ac­cord­ing to the host, that same politi­cian had ac­cused an­other of at­tempt­ing to wreck the morals of the youth of the na­tion via pornog­ra­phy. It was a re­minder that out­right lies and pro­pa­ganda are the pre­ferred tools of politi­cians ea­ger to avoid sci­en­tific rigour and probity. Mo­nop­oly of the elec­tronic me­dia is re­garded as par for the course. In more re­cent times, how­ever, new money has al­lowed those op­posed to gov­ern­ment to vent their spleen, equally with­out re­gard for sci­en­tific rigour, logic and probity.

About forty or so years ago I was in the vil­lage of Mi­coud one af­ter­noon af­ter school. Some­one, on see­ing me, shouted: ‘Messeu mee Josie!’ School chil­dren within ear shot turned and bolted. That was a demon­stra­tion of the way my name was made to gen­er­ate fear by my op­po­nents. You may laugh if you wish but, at that time, what peo­ple knew about me was mostly from the gov­ern­ment pro­pa­ganda ma­chine.

In a way, that ex­plains my op­po­si­tion to the neg­a­tive pro­pa­ganda against Guy Joseph. The abuse was launched years ago by per­sons who may be worse than Guy. Hope­fully, sci­en­tific ques­tion­ing and log­i­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the ten­ure of these anti-Joseph pro­pa­gan­dists will be ex­posed for all to see. Is­sues aris­ing from the St. Jude Hos­pi­tal re­con­struc­tion fi­asco to Gryn­berg and the Juf­fali af­fair, to As­phalt and Min­ing and IMPACS, must be in­ves­ti­gated and ex­posed. It’s time to clean the Augean sta­bles that have for too long passed for gov­er­nance on this is­land. We need a fresh start un­der a new con­sti­tu­tion.

For­mer Prime Min­is­ter King was ha­rassed out of his wits for his de­lay in re­pair­ing and re­open­ing St. Jude Hos­pi­tal af­ter that fate­ful fire. The per­son who ha­rassed him most soon formed the gov­ern­ment. And guess what? When asked on pub­lic tele­vi­sion why he con­tin­ued with the same con­trac­tors and same meth­ods as em­ployed by King, what was his re­ply? The only con­clu­sion gleaned from the tis­sue of lies was that he was more com­pe­tent to han­dle in­ef­fi­ciency than Stephen­son King. The old ar­ro­gance had resur­faced. Af­ter King’s de­par­ture more time and money were spent on the St. Jude Hos­pi­tal project than the cit­i­zens of fair He­len were led to ex­pect.

At the mo­ment, rather than en­cour­age the gov­ern­ment to com­plete and open the hos­pi­tal, ir­rel­e­vant side is­sues are thrown at Guy Joseph (the min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble) as if he, and not the for­mer gov­ern­ment, needs to be in­ves­ti­gated. Saint Lu­cians wish to see St. Jude re-opened, soon­est. Min­is­ter Joseph must there­fore ur­gently com­plete that project while Prime Min­is­ter Chas­tanet should em­ploy the best lawyers and ac­coun­tants to thor­oughly in­ves­ti­gate what monies were spent, who got paid, and who cer­ti­fied the work paid for. In other words he must fol­low the money trail!

We ex­pect, soon, de­bates in the courts and in par­lia­ment. We there­fore pray for a strong deputy Speaker se­lected from the elected ma­jor­ity as we can­not trust a deputy Speaker from the ranks of the op­po­si­tion. It may also be timely for the prime min­is­ter to an­nounce some mi­nor cabi­net changes.

All the use­less, il­log­i­cal and reck­less pro­pa­ganda against Guy Joseph is just that. The hog­wash is meant to di­vert at­ten­tion from those who su­per­vised the waste of scarce re­sources on St. Jude and else­where. By the way, op­po­si­tion to the DSH project is merely an­other smoke screen to di­vert at­ten­tion from the many past ills that need cor­rect­ing. In a news­pa­per com­ment last week­end, some­one asked whether Guy Joseph was smil­ing be­cause he knew some­thing the rest of us did not. Some­one ought to re­ply that pleas­ant, fa­cial expressions orig­i­nate in the heart and soul. It is dif­fi­cult for a vexed and vi­cious heart to re­flect a pleas­ant smile. Ex­pe­ri­enced per­sons are not fooled by skin-teeth-grin and croc­o­dile smiles. This ex­plains why some politi­cians em­ploy per­sons who are in­ca­pable of read­ing the neg­a­tive phys­iog­nomy that re­flects their evil hearts. Wis­dom teaches that in­ner emo­tions are made man­i­fest by out­ward ges­tures.

At least one more cru­cial ob­ser­va­tion in the St. Jude Hos­pi­tal af­fair needs ex­po­sure. How of­ten did an op­po­si­tion MP de­mand an au­dit from the St. Jude re­con­struc­tion project? Has any MP, trained ei­ther as a quan­tity sur­veyor or as an ac­coun­tant, asked a ques­tion in par­lia­ment about St Jude Hos­pi­tal? In ad­di­tion to their in­di­vid­ual qual­i­fi­ca­tions, one ex­pects par­lia­men­tar­i­ans to have some in­tu­itive feel­ing about sev­eral other sub­jects gar­nered through read­ing and work ex­pe­ri­ence. Surely, cu­rios­ity and a sharp­ness of the senses would drive our par­lia­men­tar­i­ans to ob­ser­va­tions which could best serve their constituencies and the na­tion.

Sadly, there is no schol­ar­ship, no in­tu­ition to be shared with con­stituents or the na­tion, no ef­fort at ask­ing rel­e­vant ques­tions and de­mand­ing co­gent ,suc­cinct an­swers. In­stead, one sees a de­lib­er­ate ef­fort at avoid­ing the truth, sidestep­ping rel­e­vant is­sues and de­lib­er­ately throw­ing mud at the per­ceived threat. The power to listen in­tently and to ob­serve with deeper cu­rios­ity is a qual­ity one ex­pects ev­ery par­lia­men­tar­ian to bring to the ta­ble. By that means alone can one ad­e­quately par­tic­i­pate in a demo­cratic po­lit­i­cal de­bate that seeks to en­lighten, and iden­tify truth! Democ­racy per­ishes where ig­no­rance is bliss and in­formed de­bates are skewed and frowned upon.

Guy Joseph is no hero. On the con­trary he may be con­sid­ered av­er­age in many as­pects. Yet he is the only politi­cian to­day bold enough to chal­lenge the sta­tus quo and set the po­lit­i­cal de­bate and dis­cus­sion in the pub­lic square. In this re­gard he is de­ter­mined to dig for truth on mat­ters of na­tional in­ter­est. For this rea­son some may la­bel him the de facto leader of the UWP. That partly ex­plains the neg­a­tive pro­pa­ganda di­rected at him by his op­po­nents who, in­ci­den­tally, are ev­ery­thing they ac­cuse him of . . . and more. It is use­ful to re­mind readers of the hyp­ocrites who bent their heads and sheep­ishly dis­persed when asked by Je­sus to cast the first stone at pros­ti­tu­tion and for­ni­ca­tion.

“All the use­less, il­log­i­cal and reck­less pro­pa­ganda against Guy Joseph is just that. The hog­wash is meant to di­vert at­ten­tion from those who su­per­vised the waste of scarce re­sources on St. Jude and else­where.”

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