Dennis Joseph

I think that the entire unnecessary roar now on-going  about the process by which the president should resign is just a deliberate way to amend parts of the Constitution by creating a constitutional crisis.  Who dey fink dey foolin’?    Not me.   I welcome constitutional advancement but not under the shadow of deliberately created constitutional crisis.   The administration is taking full advantage of our love of talk and no action.

I call this inaction national apathy.  So what is apathy you ask?  Well check this:  As you stand on the sidewalk, a blind man is standing in front of you. Without warning, he begins to cross the street.  He seems to be in no danger until you see a car about 100 yards away speeding towards him. Totally unaware of the situation, the man continues walking agonizingly slowly across the street. As you and many others watch in horror he is struck by the car.

Although every single one of you had plenty of time to rescue him, you just watched, hoping that someone else would do it. That is bystander apathy. People attempt to convince themselves and others that they were justified in their inaction because “I didn’t want to get involved.” Excuses like this often stem from fear -avoiding physical harm, public embarrassment, loss of jobs, and as too personally risky to take part in. And strangely enough, standing up for right against wrong is seen as one of these “personal” risks.

In this administration the real contempt for our Constitution started when the PM announced his masterpiece, “No law not even the Constitution can prevent me Roosevelt Skerrit…”  Yet no leader can violate the law if the people do not allow it to happen. While the PM tells us we are too free are we really?

Politicians over the years have stifled free thinkers by making their lives difficult and through their public relations machinations, have been known to ruthlessly make them out to be exiles.  Many will advise that it is unwise to criticize the government if you value your well being as a word to its fanatical supporters about your supposed ulterior motives is enough to open you to verbal or even physical abuse by incensed foot soldiers, who crave your punishment.  It is also a guarantee that any project which needs government assistance or approval presented by you will be gleefully quashed.  Even this columnist has met with some colloquial scathing remarks over my writings.

I do have a request before one of such government bodies and the reply was an innocuous, ‘This is to acknowledge receipt of your letter’ and no more since years ago.  My writings against wrong do not help me but hinder me personally, so should I not stop and think of saving myself or hide behind an anonymous nickname?  Perhaps I should because to serve a different point of view to the people has its sacrifice and media workers like me who cannot afford it, know that too well.

Government supporters protest against any protest and  rather than help light a candle they curse what they perversely perceive as darkness.  They will aggressively with great emotion point to the ills of the past government in that regard and so comfort themselves.  The death of CAHUR, which appointed itself as the guardian of our utility bills in particular protesting DOMLEC high electricity rates is an example.

A street demonstration by CAHUR despite the vigorous radio talk show opinions against DOMLEC and promises of “I will definitely be there” the organizers  almost numbered more than those who showed up.  Later to swallow their inaction with a dose of embarrassing water  they slammed the organizer for what?  Wrong time of day or even of year for a demonstration et on.  Whither we goest Waitikubulians?

There is also the false comfort of thinking that because we go the polls to elect a government every five years, then democracy is alive and well.  Those who are clever have found a way to handle this process as well, with the seductive use of mucho funds and flash.  Unfortunately democracy does not flourish after election night, but what seems to continue is electioneering.

The divide and rule approach of the 80’s which legacy goes on today has  dominated the life of this nation on a daily basis.   “Government for the people, by the people, of the people,” is a great and satisfactory definition of democracy, but when it comes to its fair and workable details it fails to meet the criteria by a wide margin. In the USA, the common word among dissatisfied voters is, “Call your congressman” but here it is “Defend the Prime Minister.”

An informed people are the best guarantee of continuing democracy. The first step in this educational process is mass instruction as to what the Constitution itself means and the knowledge of rights under the democratic system.  To a number of citizens the Constitution is a strange  slang with no meaning in their daily lives.  That is where radio and TV which has now rapidly come of age can greatly assist.  People must be made to understand that protest against wrong is not a condemnation of their favoured political side in general but of the particular offense.  Democratic nations are judged by the type and caliber of the officers they elect, and also by the will of the people to refuse to accept oppressive and deceptive behaviour from their government.

Deliberately and with strategically thought-out planning in creating a crisis so as later to present the way to solve it is an old government trick all over the world.  The opportunity to make changes to  the Constitution and supreme law of Dominica is now made available to the government by the apparent constitutional crisis that the government itself has deliberately created.  So what changes the government wants to make in our Constitution?   Look out for a white paper with a ton of proposed changes which will not be limited to just the process of the changing of a president.

Stay tuned or rather look out.