It should also be acknowledged that the nation’s ambivalence toward Rufus Bousquet is not disconnected from the political history of his deceased father JMD, about whom we were similarly disposed in his time. The same might also be said about Rufus’ uncle Allan, also expired. In their heyday, reams were written—in George Odlum’s Crusader especially—about the two parliamentarians, much of it egregiously unflattering. From the convenient perspective of the paper’s holier-than-thou publisher, Allan Bousquet was without university credits, therefore unqualified to operate Saint Lucia’s Ministry of Education.
Odlum contemptuously referred to Allan Bousquet as “Fairty,” indicative of how the minister mispronounced thirty. As for JMD, suffice it to say his handling of his work-permits portfolio inspired angry public demonstrations led by a politically ambiguous, not yet fully uncovered Odlum—but that, as they say, is for another show. It is enough to say that for many, including the alleged visionary John Compton, there was never a greater role model than Allan Bousquet, in or out of the education ministry. Meanwhile, in the hearts of the Choiseul people, JMD lives on as their immortal folk hero.
But this is not about Muhammad Ali. Neither is it about the early Bousquets who have long passed, unlike Rufus who is still very much with us. So obviously that in last weekend’s Voice, much of it devoted to an attributed HTS review of the main events of 2008, Rufus Bousquet predominates.
Almost from the moment he wiped out the Labour Party opposition in the 2007 elections, he has been regular fodder for the press. He was the central, if seemingly vacillating figure in the much debated issue of the new government’s relationship with Taiwan, despite Sir John’s involvement. Bousquet was credited with choosing to go with Taipei, not Beijing, despite the prime minister’s expressed contrary wishes at the last minute—and after related documents had been signed. Of course, there’s a whole lot more to that particular episode than has so far been revealed. Count on it, that will be corrected in due course.
In the meantime, even as the foreign minister Bousquet was being systematically scapegoated in some quarters, and accused of hastening the eighty-something Sir John’s final departure, the government, in address after public address, was describing its relationship with Taiwan as close to life saving. Project after government project was credited to special diplomatic arrangements with the Taiwanese—all of which made a mockery of the notion that a near comatose Sir John, with his wonky signature on a related letter, fired his foreign minister for securing the oh so fruitful arrangements in the first place.
The Bruce Tucker brouhaha added fresh spice to the media’s favorite luncheon meat. For weeks, out of work taxi operators, underemployed male seamstresses and other just plain unemployed losers burned up the phone wires, inadvertently contributing to the main communication provider’s declared end of year profit of some $50 million.