‘The more things change the more they remain the same,’ is a well-known saying. What I hear on radio today promoted by the talk-show hosts is nothing more than diversionary chatter about the education of a proposed political leader Lennox Linton. This I find silly since it is clear that Linton is quite capable of doing this job. But this is not new. The same thing was said about Edward Leblanc and the Labour Party in the days when I followed the DLP as one of its most ardent fans. Leblanc from Vielle Case was called “an uneducated country bookie” who had no university education by the opposition Dominica United People’s Party (DUPP) the mother party that gave birth to the present day dwindling Freedom Party.
Like the 99% of us Leblanc did not attend university but today the whole nation raises monuments to his greatness. The truth is that all the leaders after Leblanc moved the country forward with just a few ministers. This present so called educated-with-degrees bunch needs 16 ministers and quite clearly they must have special university degrees in how to run up a national debt of 1 billion dollars in 13 years and equally special degrees in the art of running down a country to zero growth.
just 23,000 people last elections voted for the rulers but all of us are paying this large crew tens of thousands of dollars each month just to come up with zero growth as reported by the Man in his recent budget address?
A batch of 16 heavy men and women called ministers are dancing on the breastbone of our land enjoying themselves eating much and drinking aplenty and to bleep with how we feel. It brings to my mind a pirate song from Robert Louis Stevenson’s book Treasure Island, “16 men on a dead man’s chest Yo, Ho, Ho, and a bottle of rum.”
But it is not just the 16 is it? It is tons of advisers and advisors with university degrees added on plus party in power tricksters jumping on, schemers, plunderers loaded with degrees both local and foreign squeezing in on Waitukubuli’s chest. It is a bane of our politics that after Election Day all those who won seats on the victorious side expect to be made ministers and then everybody else who supported wants to chew on the orange without waiting to peel the skin. Ministries are handed out like rice and ease for the pleasure of the parliamentary representatives. The further problem is that it’s a question mark whether they have the ability yeah even the capability to run anything as big and involved as a government ministry and yet they still have the gall to talk about other people’s inadequacy. Skerrit himself is minister for finance with a degree in-wait for it- English and still thinks he can control this unmanageable and bloated mess by pretending his best to be the super minister of all ministries.
When I listen to the Budget Address I hear the same old song in a few different words. Promises of jobs, of growth, of better days are coming and beating on the dead man’s chest boasting of marvelous achievements and deeds in the previous twelve months. I then must ask how did all these postulations of being better off than other countries end up with a zero growth scorecard?
It may be that we now need new names. There is a growing sense that after 13 years of trying to do it this crew has not done it. Whether we have a beautifully prepared budget or not the implementation of its contents lies in the hands of the 16 ministers who we pay handsome salaries and give all sorts of perks. If after all these years they can come to the House, report zero growth and stand one after the other in support of it then the pendulum has stopped and we need new names. Change is inevitable and is the law of nature. The dinosaurs must be replaced especially when they eat too much and crap abundantly. Every organization grows to maturity and then dies except new blood is pumped into it. As with corporations, so with country and even more so with politicians.
Quite clearly the DLP parliamentary reps are stonewalling against newness when we observe that the push by a new name to replace the old one in the Cottage constituency is met with pompous response by the incumbent. It may be why the opposition UWP is accelerating right now with new names and a coming new leader heralding perhaps a new era of UWP politics. From reports it appears that there is a palpable excitement coiled in the belly of the body politic. “Slumber not in the tent of your fathers. The world is advancing. Advance with it”(Guiseppe Manzini).
Undoubtedly we are in a serious financial crisis so what comes out of the UWP Castle Bruce convention on September 1 may well be a movement of energy for radical change in Waitukubuli. As has been said elsewhere sometimes being radical is the only reasonable way out. Jesus the Christ showed this when he appointed Peter an ordinary uneducated fisherman to be the head of his church and people like Mary Magdalene, who the Catholic Church mistakenly once called a whore, to be the ones to go out and teach all nations.
He knew that his leaders must be independent, act and stand firm even to death, speak openly, plainly, frankly; make defeats a lesson, and walk with active faith and courage fearing only God. It is not just about education, its commitment to a right purpose and cause. That is what made a Martin Luther King, a Mahatma Gandhi, a Marcus Garvey, and Malcolm X. Let us face it Waitikubuli is not going to get out of this economic hole by we the people waving rosaries at heaven rather we must be prepared to make radical change. Its raining ministers and we have plumb run out of umbrellas-ellas-ellas. We cannot afford a continuing rain of radio bickering and name calling, new rounds of scandals and unresolved issues, secret MOUs and strange ambassadors. Someone and something must stop the rain and that is why we need new names.