The Jackass Is Not Only Stupid But Stubborn To A Fault
Recently this newspaper published an item I wrote about those who pretended to be hurt by the UWP leader’s use of the word “jackass” from his party’s platform in William Peter Boulevard. Let me be clear: I am still of the opinion that the best rebuttal for one who levels the word "jackass" at another is that it takes one to know another. The other handy push back is, “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never harm me.” And then there’s this from mothers whose children were hurt by someone calling them that other word for donkey: “Don’t worry, he’s a bigger jackass.”
I return to the alleged offensive word recalling that almost from the moment he showed an interest in public office there were persons who opposed Allen Chastanet for reasons that had nothing to do with politics. They first intimated that he was an American citizen, born outside Saint Lucia, and therefore ineligible to participate in the politics of Saint Lucia. They tried to portray him as an idiot; a non-academic. In other words, a jackass. In the period leading up to the conventions of the UWP prior to 2016, certain elements within the opposition SLP canvassed against Allen Chastanet in an attempt to influence the UWP to reject him as leader. The UWP delegates denied the SLP their wish. They voted overwhelmingly for Chastanet as political leader—on three separate occasions.
Interestingly, those in the SLP who most feared Chastanet, for whatever reasons, have not given up their pointless stone throwing. Those who were asleep during the creation of the St. Jude Hospital fiasco threw the first stone. They then threw stones at his family, especially his father who owned shares in a local supermarket chain. When these attacks failed they turned to health insurance and the opening of the OKEU hospital. The same group threw stones at the DSH proposals for Vieux Fort. Of late the hue and cry of stone throwers is to free-up the herb. These stone throwers hope to defeat Chastanet by whatever means, including unthinkable insurrection. Sour grapes?
As a person who loves politics above everything else, save for my children and grandchildren, I am enjoying the fact that some jackass (who knows himself) is now out to prove that Allen Chastanet is a clueless leader. They fear using the word "jackass" as it may draw too much attention to themselves. How does a failed jackass suddenly become an expert economist and a nation builder? Answer: By suggesting to Prime Minister Chastanet that he should re-impose the value added tax (VAT) to its former burdensome-self of fifteen per cent and that he uses the “new” two and onehalf per cent additional income to pay for health insurance. It reminded me of the devil’s attempt to persuade Jesus to do his bidding. Who knew the devil was so boldfaced? Have we forgotten that one of the reasons Allen Chastanet and his party were elected to office 11-6 was that he promised to reduce the VAT soon after taking office, with a view to doing away with it altogether in the long term? Meanwhile, the leader of the SLP, who, prior to 2011, described VAT as “oppressive, anti-worker and anti-poor,” was finding every reason to retain and even increase the tax. The people spoke; they wished to get the VAT load off their backs.
I could not resist the temptation to follow-up on such advice with my own bit of wisdom. I wish to remind the prime minister that I was one of his staunchest supporters long before he was elected leader of the UWP. He did not ask for my support. I offered it free of charge because I love my country and thought then (and still do) that he would be the best leader to take Saint Lucia from the dumps where the misleaders in the SLP had brought it. I am a senior citizen of Saint Lucia who has served his country as a minister of the government and as a Senator and an agronomist in the Ministry of Agriculture.
I repeat here what I have previously said to both Mr. Ubaldus Raymond, Minister in the Ministry of Finance and to the prime minister himself on separate occasions. I have also written and made my views known on the question of the VAT and its reduction. The next move which the government should (must?) make on the value added tax if it is sincere about helping the working people of Saint Lucia is to lower the VAT rate to 10%. I also say that, at some point later, they should seek to lower VAT still further. I say no more on the subject until provoked.
There are, of course, some jackasses from the same opposition stables who want Chastanet to step down for the good of the UWP. Perhaps they wish to have a leader they believe they can walk over at will. Again I imagine Satan tempting Jesus! That particular suggestion does not merit more than mere mention to say that, had it originated from a genuine national concern, the UWP brethren would have been offered a choice of at least three aspiring leaders from their party, from which to choose the one who would defeat their opponents at the next polls. I would support the replacement of Allen Chastanet if it became obvious that he had lost his zeal and determination to lead the UWP to victory at the next general elections. And my suggestion for his replacement would be someone who could lead the UWP to another electoral victory over the SLP.
When last I checked, this island was still a democracy. The UWP leader and the government are elected by a majority. If in 2025 or ’26 Chastanet decides to retire from politics he may still have a say in who replaces him. In the meantime, it may be best for the smart-men and savants on the other side to rebuild their party after their avaricious friends almost destroyed it. Remember, the SLP turned VAT against the poor and now they wish to fill unsuspecting heads with smoke (the herb), to fool them again.
In closing, I promise to add my voice and examine the pros and cons of freeing the herb in a future article. In the meantime I venture to say that if there had not been a change of government in Saint Lucia in 2016, the rate of VAT would have risen to 18% and no jackass would have been allowed to bray. The Chastanet haters would have put their tails between their hind legs, kept their mouths shut and moved on. We ought never to forget that some folks leave university as qualified jackasses!
When campaigning for office Allen Chastanet promised the electorate he would, soon after taking office, reduce the 15 per cent VAT imposed by the Kenny Anthony Administration. His opponent promised to retain it and, in consequence, lost the election to the UWP.