Dennis Joseph

Dennis Joseph

Arundel Thomas muses in poetry “If Dominica could talk” and I take liberty to muse further that if Dominica could talk it would scream.There are too many open-ended questions that remain like a dark cloud hanging above us without the relief of fresh wind to move it along. And here we go again as we the people speculate on what is really going on in the Glanvillia area. Conjecture is extensive as to whether Ian Douglas is for real or just a” hypocrite mingling with the good people” to use a line from a Bob Marley song and is he eventually going to leave the scene under the pressure of seeking to feed his children and let the Glanvillia residents dance their own reggae without music and just talking blues until “dere feet get too big for dere shoes.’ It is a required question since the last time Douglass inadvertently stepped out into the battle zone and was caught calling his Prime Minister Skerrit a serial backstabber his foot was nailed to the floor by a vengeful PM who commanded his mea culpa ordering him to come onstage at a heavily crowded public election rally and sing the party song which he overdid albeit out of key to please his master. But then why should Douglas be so intimidated coming from a long line of aggressive and outspoken former Douglas leaders of the Labour Party like Mike and Rosie? 

In 1975 as campaign manager for the DLP election machine at the behest of OJ Seraphin I painstakingly persuaded the then Premier Patrick John who was worried over the strong and even at times dangerous objection from the Portsmouth posse to let Mike Douglas replace the great, unbeatable but aging Earl Leslie in the newly formed Portsmouth Constituency. Bear in mind that before 1975 there were just 11 constituencies and so there had to be division, cutting and pasting to come to present day 21. It was not easy in 1975 campaigning 21 seats as a first time campaign manager coming up against the moneyed Freedom Party only able to run in 17. The Freedom Party sponsored Charles Savarin for that constituency who was pretending to run as an independent candidate. It was the danger of losing to a stronger than expected Savarin which forced me to organize, (almost singlehandedly since there were many party doubters who felt it was too huge an undertaking) the first ever mass island wide election motorcade passing through Portsmouth as a show of labour power in order to assist Mike to the winners ground. Since then the Douglas song has been on the lips of the constituents. Mike then went into gear cultivating and making the seat his own to the point that even strong Freedom supporters voted for him in future elections and openly admitted it.

The present Douglas holder of that seat should then be in a very strong position to change and guide the party policy and programs but this Douglas-son has showed little inclination to do so being instead very busy giving “His heart and soul to this man (Skerrit).” The sudden eruption of Ian Douglas to apparently stand against his “heart and soul” may be because it is unreturned love. Further the threat by PM Skerrit to purge the party candidate list at the next elections could be what is causing Douglas to take back his ‘heart and soul’ from this man.

Whatever is the case with Douglas it is clear that the people of Glanvillia are not in the ‘giving heart and soul business’ rather they are suffering from a ‘broken heart’ condition that is affecting their very souls?

The great Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi listed seven social sins that will destroy a country and the foremost among them is politics without principle. For the record the other six are wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, education without character, worship without sacrifice, science without humanity and commerce without morality. I am concerned here with politics without principle for it is unprincipled politicians who promise things just to win elections with no intention of delivering on them. Georgetown land was promised to the people of Glanvillia for many years now and since Roosevelt Skerrit is the sum of all parts of the DLP now in office for 13 years and counting, it was anticipated that in this diehard labour constituency he would stretch out to please them and give them the land for further development of Glanvillia. But Skerrit has created a cult of personality sustained by making himself as larger than life even publicly called Jesus by one of his elderly cabinet ministers Matthew Walter. He does not have to bother about the history, statistics, law or intellectual crap involved in anything because he has come to realize that we the people have a short attention span and especially in the labour strongholds the people pay little attention to the past or the future when it comes to their labour power and who should rule the island today. We allow unprincipled politics to flourish without punishing politicians for broken promises. Those who know better do not appear to know better. Preachers who should lead us cast themselves as prosecuting attorneys for God and leave the rest claiming to be not in the affairs of the world whilst preaching ,”For God so loved the world.” Our intellectuals hide away playing chess with themselves neither coming nor going and yes, let “Jesus take the wheel.” And others like talk show nomads wander through the blizzard of radio chatter just listening and in dumb terror remain silent and neutral. But the people of Glanvillia are leading the way in the telling of it, that if you make promises you better fulfill them after the elections are over because as the people of Glanvillia put it ‘No Land No Vote” and say to the rest of us ‘please be guided accordingly.’ Only then will governments fear we the people and not the other way around.

Waitikubuli now screams for its sons and daughters to come forward and bring some kind of integrity to our governance without which the social sins that Gandhi has listed as above-mentioned will overtake us to our doom. Robert Frost says, “There is nothing I am afraid of as a scared people.” Those who can but will not come forward and cower away making up excuses believing there is safety in silence should listen to the sound of the wind, where and how it blows for as is found out by Glanvillia residents and as sung by the Canadian metal band Quo Vadis, “Silence Calls the Storm.”