Monday, June 30, 2014

Plain Talking... And Truthful By Peter Josie.......

I have often been at pains to explain that my weekly contributions to The Weekend VOICE is a labour of love. It takes time and effort as all writing does. I do it because I derive some sort of pleasure as I share my thoughts with readers. A compliment here and there from a kind soul comes as an added bonus, and I am thankful for such blessings. I take it that they agree with certain things I say and, that those who disagree are either too inert or indifferent or both, to offer a comment.
Anyone who regularly reads these weekend pieces would have noticed that Prime Minister Kenny Anthony is not my favourite politician or my preferred Minister of Finance. The reason is quite simple. I think the man is inept, heavy handed, dictatorial and arrogant. And I am not the only person who thinks that way. Others, who share my sentiments unfortunately, keep their feelings to themselves.
Whilst mulling over this I came across the following quotation which captures my core sentiment – and personality.
Quote: “The soul God gave me isn’t of the sort
That prospers in the weather of a court.
It’s all too obvious that I don’t possess
The virtues necessary for success.
My one great talent is for speaking plain;
I’ve never learned to flatter or to feign;
And anyone so stupidly sincere
Had best not seek a courtier’s career.” (Moliere; ‘The Misanthrope’)
I pray to continue to speak plain. In this regard I must admit that the fault, dear reader, is not only in Kenny Anthony but, in ourselves that we are underlings. Neither can we blame anyone else after 60 odd years of adult suffrage - including 35 of independence! The fault is in the way we think; the way we see ourselves, in our refusal to face the truth even when it slaps us in the face. It is in our inability to accept responsibility and instead finding someone or something to blame for our shortcomings.
In 1997 Saint Lucians voted for change with a vengeance. But no sooner had new Labour taken the oath of office the first thing Prime Minister Anthony did was to hand over the biggest industry in the entire OECS to his political friend, Patrick Joseph; a minor auto-mechanic with a minor, minor in English Language too. In Anthony’s very first budget he raised airport and other taxes. He soon began refurbishing the offices of Ministers even though these were in good condition. Since then he has overtaxed and over spent! Cost-over-runs and financial embarrassments such as Frenwell and Rochamel were merely exclamation marks. His secretive nature has underpinned many important financial decisions of which the country knows precious little.
Secrecy and financial mis-management continues unabated. The present fiscal crisis exposes his abysmal financial management for all to see. It is nothing short of reckless buffoonery. But such reckless, frivolous and cavalier expenditures must be stopped. For this reason I submit that the matter, dear reader, is no longer in Kenny Anthony’s court. It is now in the peoples’ court. In some countries the man would have been tried in a court of law for wasteful expenditure.
“Only the people can save the people” must be more than political rhetoric! There are those who will sit back and allow public officers to stew in their own fat for their behaviour during the last negotiations with the King government. But it does no good to cut your nose to spite your face. The people are suffering and they need united action to rescue the country! People must put aside their differences with public officers and rally together to remove the common scourge which threatens their very livelihoods.
In other words the people must set aside the pervasive melancholy which blankets the island and cast away their old partisan prejudices and be reborn into a new spirit. Only such rebirth can save our island from the hell to which it has been placed by greed, incompetence and selfishness. And be warned that no cabal which includes Kenny Anthony can be part of the solution.
This week, the government mouth piece was doing its best to tie Allen Chastanet to Mary Isaac and to introduce politics into the workers struggles. But wasn’t it Kenny Anthony who used his proxies in the public sector unions to introduce politics into the last negotiations and demanded 14.5% wage increase from the former government?
Here are some more damning statistics. Kenny Anthony has been in office for twelve and a half of the last seventeen years! He has won elections with larger majorities than any other Prime Minister. He has also lavished more money on Ministers’ offices than any other Saint Lucian leader before or since independence. And now he comes crying to the oppressed citizenry with his handpicked committees to furnish him with a way out of the fiscal and economic mess which he created.
I say without fear or hesitation that Kenny Anthony is the problem. The narrative must therefore shift from ‘who can help me get out of this mess to how we got there in the first place.’ Unless we know what (or who) is the problem, we cannot fix it! The one who created the problem cannot be part of the solution. That’s why Kenny Anthony must go! He has become a liability. It’s now over to the people and the sooner they rise and raise their voices the better. This is simply plain talking and truthfully, with no animosity towards anyone.
Finally, for those who love metaphors: ‘The national cancer must first be cut off before applying chemotherapy and restoring the national economy to good health once more.’ Amen!


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