Dennis Joseph

Dennis Joseph

The lady was really freaking out as she blurted out “Enough foolishness now, enough, enough.  So what I should call him President Compere Lapen, or President Ayatollah or President Coul Woche Brigade because I will not call him President Savarin?”  Then she went on after a moment, “I think Skerrit doing foolishness now.” Then in another moment she said with passion, “God be praised for Q95.”

My attempt to cool her down included a short history of Q95.   I told her that it was Edison James the people should thank as God’s instrument for the existence of Q95 because when a week or so before the 2000 elections  as the one who conceived  the station  I urged then PM James who I met at the GIS studio doing a recording to give us the broadcast license before election day and to that  he asked me curiously, “Are you afraid we will lose?  Fear no more.”  He went ahead and granted the licence anyway.

We would never have gotten a licence from the DLP/Freedom coalition which included Charles Savarin and there would have been no Q95. I had conceived the station as a music station so James could not know then how this station would serve the people as an effective talk radio thanks to Lennox, Matt and Angelo, especially those in opposition to the policies of the rulers without which they would have no voice at all.  Viva Edison!  But all my lecture did was to bring out an even somewhat sexy rebuff from the lady, “I telling you about Savarin you telling me Edison.  So who you rolling with den?”  Does that statement make sense?  She just could not stand Savarin.

It is not just that Savarin’s controversial image is the total opposite to the declaration regarding the decorum of our president as written up on the government’s own website which stresses that the president should be non-partisan and a great unifier for I know that means nothing to this ‘no law not even the Constitution can stop me” prime minister.

It is not only that Savarin is a serial boycotter calling for the boycott of Brizee Mart which is now closed down and while General Secretary of the CSA calling for the boycott of HHV Whitchurch in a CSA newsletter, while  leader of the opposition calling for the boycott of then President Vernon Shaw and there is more.  While after the death of Pierre Charles Bosso and the others of the Freedom Party executive sat in a meeting with him to plan their negotiations with the Labour Party which with ten seats was one short of the 11 needed he then slipped out of the meeting and went to make his personal deal with newly appointed PM Skerrit.  No one can convince me that was not pre-arranged otherwise why would then President Liverpool go ahead and swear in Skerrit as PM if he only had ten seats at the time?

But what really  itches my bleeper today is that Charles Savarin is elevated to the presidency by the government of the Dominica Labour Party-yes the DLP which he openly wanted to wipe off the face of the earth.  Do you hear laughter labourites?

I was just listening perhaps for the hundredth time to one of my favourite songs from the gospel band Hillsong titled ‘Let the weak say I am strong’ based on Joel 3:10 in the Scriptures and that always takes my mind back to the time when the Labour Party meant something besides just shouting “Labour Power” in lockstep with nothing more than winning an election.   It was a time of the fifties when the futures of many children of the poor were limited by low expectations, poverty and lack of opportunities for social and intellectual development.

A time of seriously low wages like less than a dollar a day, a time when the little people were condemned to be ‘carriers of water and hewers of wood.’  A time of strict class division of upper and very much lower classes and of “gwo boug” and “peti garcon” and “neg bod la mer,” of misery and hopelessness and near slavery type servitude and then came hope like a shining star of light in the name of   Dominica Labour Party emerging out of the poor people’s trade unions. The clear goal of the DLP then was “Let the weak say I am strong.”   It was Dominica’s first political party created by the people for the people and I was in my teens a zealous follower of the giants who strode across the fields of oppression crushing the obnoxious heads of the snakes of repression wherever they found them.

That was the Labour Party I rolled with and joined in the struggle for the liberation of the common people as we were called.  Those of us who were upfront came under serious fire from the upper classes furious over this movement which was an exodus out of poverty.  And that is the essential difference with the Labour Party of today for it is no more a movement but just a party loading up with all the wheelers and dealers until it has become mainly an expedient name to cover a collection of persons with personal interests which have nothing to do with the uplifting of the poor.

One of the persons used in the 70’s by the uppers to get at the labourites with an aim to kill the Labour Party was General Secretary of the Civil Service Association Charles Savarin and he did his work well locking down the island with strikes as often as he breathed air using the civil servants who fell for his charm.  His tactics were brilliant as he was able to force the DLP to enact laws to control the outrageous strikes situation damaging down the economy  and those laws were made to seem oppressive antagonizing the masses. The DLP was eventually overthrown by force in 1979, surrendering when ministers and labour supporters were under siege in their own homes as gangs surrounded their houses raining stones and other things on their dwellings and looting the shops of Labourites and others.  President DeGazon fled the island and was replaced by Sir Cools Lartigue whose home was promptly and seriously stoned and the cake shop (Frans) of the family looted and their car burned in broad daylight.  President Cools Lartigue resigned in terror.

Even deadly bullets were used to pepper the home of George Karam and his family seeking to kill them.   Who was the main conductor of that orchestra?  You guessed it-Charles Savarin. When the dust settled the Freedom Party then ruled the roost and  it was again a politically  blood thirsty Savarin who proclaimed a “we eh finish with them  yet” demolition job on us labourites urging his followers to seek us out “in every nook and cranny.”   Those were the days and nights of terror as the Ayattolah as he was named strutted his stuff and preened and spoke in special tongues about the mobilisa-shon and agita-shon of the popula-shon against the DLP.

It was just fifteen years later that the Freedom Party went into meltdown and to save their withering tails the party then morphed into – yes – the Labour Party, an unthinkable  case of politics making strange bedfellows.

Former Freedomite Skerrit became the leader of the Labour Party and moved in his Freedom party friends right under the noses of the Labourites.  It seems that the party’s main plank  embraced in the words of the song, “Let the weak say I am strong, Let the blind say I can see, What the Lord has done in me,” is now set aside.

Now there are bands of assault weapon equipped special police outside our House of Assembly to ensure Savarin is appointed President against the people’s wishes.  Skerrit has crash landed Savarin on the people of the Labour Party and  Charles Savarin is laughing out loud  as he enters the new 27 million dollar all too white and much too huge Presidential palace, expects to draw $10,000 this month end and reflects with amusement on who placed him there and just cannot believe it is-yes- you  rewarding him for stoning you.

“Labourites behold your President, your gift to Dominica.”

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