JUST DENNIS: From There Everything else is possible

Dennis Joseph
Dennis Joseph

Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) became one of the most famous intellectuals of his time, lecturing to thousands on a range of causes. He had the enormous gift of capturing in words the meaning of what truth was all about and the unique ability to work the crowd. Douglass was a one-time black slave who escaped to freedom and learned to read. In one of his speeches, he is known to have said, “Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

Years later in 1957, Martin Luther King Jnr fresh from leading the year-long bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, then just 28 years old, spoke to a capacity crowd of students at the Washington University about the nation’s journey toward the “promised land of integration and said, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”  History has shown that the peacemakers and non-political politicians are for the stuff of legacy and legends to be spoken about on a day set aside each year for remembrance. Even Jesus said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Mat.10:34) which Christians will hasten to spin. If anything can be said it is that the Dominica Labour Party is not interested in sanctimonious murmurings and understand the local election campaign a whole lot more than the UWP. They go for the winning tape relentlessly, ruthlessly, mercilessly and deliberately make the field as messy as possible in word and deed and to bleep with peace and morality. While the PM is highly charismatic, he understands that materialism is a major encouraging factor in getting the votes out in his favour. He also knows that we the people for the most part are single-issue people, “what are you giving me personally”. Then after they extend a hand of friendship in a take it or leave it style caring not a jot one way or other. Of course, I do not know what was in the thinking of the UWP campaign council but it did its best to avoid materialism and tough ground politics and failed in its effort to win the elections. The question to the UWP remains, “How are you going to win next time?”

It is difficult to win elections with just a few months campaigning except if the ruling party implodes and collapses. It needs consistent effort and persistent exposure of issues over all the 60 months between elections, in other words it is not an office job but a journeyman’s occupation. As Douglass has said those, who wish to lead cannot compromise but must be prepared to stand in the breach for and on behalf of all locals and our Caricom brothers and sisters, which includes Haiti. It must never be forgotten that there are countless Dominicans who make their living in other lands.

The latest Haitian visa scandal coming right on the heels of a DLP 15-6 win in the recent December elections is however nothing new to we the people. There have been a number of them-scandals I mean-  from land tax evasion to who owns the multi-million dollar villas to Bin Bobol when the price of garbage bins bought by the government  was  grossly inflated and more yet nothing sticks. Over the years, the official opposition has always taken an attitude of keeping clear so that they would not bring politics into the scandals and that obviously has not worked as the administration cockily trudges on. This latest government scandal is one about the sale of visas to Haitians and the bunch of fraudsters that seem to have benefited illegally from the transactions. The boss of the Labour Division unwilling to take the fall opened up the can of worms and all may now be running from the slimy smell. The PM may as well now be thinking he should have left the stink alone. There should be a public inquiry but the President may be placed in an embarrassing position as himself once headed the relevant ministry so where do we go from here. However talking on radio is not nearly enough as all efforts must now be made to force a public inquiry including street protests. Yet the rulers know the people and expect that in a few weeks, this will all go away and die and the opposition will just talk more so it will all soon be drowned by the sound of the drums of carnival revelry if not given a political thrust. Our history and the election statistics of the last three elections show that those who vote for the government just do not want to know. For example the Paix Bouche constituency results from elections 2000  of 1179 to 297 in the favour of the DLP has mostly remained unchanged despite all the corruption allegations and it is the same with the Cottage, Grandbay, Portsmouth, Colihaut, Vielle Case constituencies. World history has also shown that people in political power do not fear protest talk as much as they fear political protest street action.

In the Guyana Chronicle, I read this piece by Shaun Samaroo and here is a part of it

‘Under the Guyana State of the dictatorship People’s National Congress (PNC) Government we saw Dr. Rodney( at age 38) assassinated (in June1980) in cold blood on the streets of Georgetown. ….Today, (his brother) Donald Rodney sees a Guyana thriving with the social and economic progress that Dr. Rodney dreamed of and fought for and sacrificed his life for and for which he became our most noted and worthy martyr….. Dr. Rodney wanted, a peaceful, progressive, powerful Guyana, where the average citizen, with hard work and discipline and that Guyanese resolve, achieves economic and social goals, and where free and fair elections remain entrenched as our national value. All that mattered to Dr. Rodney, to Dr. Jagan, was that we achieve free and fair elections. From there, everything else is possible.’

We need free and fair elections without which one party wins all the time and does not feel it has to account to the people. It is a sometimes boring, sometimes fearful, most times an unappreciated task to get there and even strong supporters and parliamentarians may turn away disillusioned or frightened. There is beauty in resistance but that beauty is riddled with bumps and precipices yet this struggle is one worth living for and since all life is a journey of risk it is a goal worth risking for now and in the future. The first step in moving Waitukubuli forward is not just well-manicured political campaigns but in heavy even raw ground  mobilizing to achieve free and fair elections and yes ‘from there everything else is possible.’

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  1. Peace
    February 6, 2015

    “It is difficult to win elections with just a few months campaigning except if the ruling party implodes and collapses. It needs consistent effort and persistent exposure of issues over all the 60 months between elections, in other words it is not an office job but a journeyman’s occupation.”

    I may be wrong but I swear the UWP has been in campaign mode since February 1, 2000. Maybe they should rethink their talkshow strategy and their politics of attack and divide.

  2. george Fontaine
    February 6, 2015

    How is it that those who disagree with Dennis ignore his points and attack him instead?

  3. February 5, 2015

    Dennis all the agitators are in power now so the people must get out of that trance in which they are in .

  4. Francisco Telemaque
    February 5, 2015

    Life and Times of Frederick Douglass. First published in 1881 and revised in 1892, three years before his death, it covered events through and after the Civil War. Douglass also actively supported women’s suffrage, and held several public offices. Without his approval, Douglass became the first African American nominated for Vice President of the United States as the running mate and Vice Presidential nominee of Victoria Woodhull on the impracticable, small, but far foreseeing Equal Rights Party ticket.

    One of Douglas simply quotes, which treasure is: “Once you learn to read you’ll forever be free.” He was a very powerful man; a very intellectual piece Denis!

  5. Tete Chien
    February 5, 2015

    What happen to mister nuh? Dennis, what are you trying to instigate? The people of DA are not interested in what you have to say because they know your history. Your horns have already been examined! You can booway, you can fashey, you cannot turn back the hands of time. You cannot undo what’s already done, toneh! Give it up!

    • Francisco Telemaque
      February 5, 2015

      The casting of pearls before swine’s is the worst thing any individual can do. The swine will never recognized the value of the pearls, that swine will simply trample on the valuable, and keep on grumping oui.

      Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Ah Wesley me come fram eh!

    • Truth
      February 5, 2015

      You so right, soutiwe. Someone breaks and open your home, steals your music set and cash too, you do not get upset? It’s alright? You pay no heed? And you hail such a thief as having good morals? A role model to emulate? You not in it, nuh !!!!! Trash instead of brains?

      Haitians just come to Dominica. A few could already be involved in visa and passport scams. Greedy Dominicans facilitating such crimes. Nothing happens. No case. Investigations stalled. Corruption after corruption after corruption in that small country. In the last 15 years under that cabal, corruption of all sorts have stifled the economic growth of our land.

      The people are poorer, while a few getting richer and richer. The truth offends those steeped in the lies of Massa.

  6. tidel
    February 5, 2015

    Mr. Dennis, firstly, please accept defeat. You can crow till the cows come home, the Dominica populace do not want the UWP…food for thought…

  7. Truth to Power
    February 5, 2015

    Even when the culprits are caught red-handed, the protectors and defenders of corruption, illegal acts continue to make excuses for selling our passports and issuing visas fraudulently. Is not now those illegal acts going on. Truth ha

    The conclusion is that many Dominicans have veered towards supporting stealing, cheating corruption in high places. Investigation into fire and communication equipment at Marigot destroyed, that stall too? We ain’t see nothing yet with that Cabal. Dominica in dictatorship mode.

    So nobody firebombed Mano and his wife or the police officer’s home? How comes our passports end up in criminals hands? How much$$$$$$$$ they pay? Who did they pay? Where all that money gone? Bin Bobol, firebombing, selling passport to all and sundry, kick-backs, Petro Caribe debt, 42 charges of fraud filed (no case), Felix Chen money gone, no election reform, bribery, etc. etc. But say nothing. Just let evil ways reign, because the Country…

  8. Felix AAron
    February 5, 2015

    Dennis, one party wining all the time does not mean that election is not free and fair.

    I could mean that the other party must look at the mirror.

    • Observer
      February 5, 2015

      I agree because the UWP and people like Denis have been doing the same things over and over again, elections after elections, failures after failures and they honestly expect a different result each time. See elections just gone – two months, they have not stopped the campaign. Forever in campaign mode. it is as though elections is coming any time soon. What is not working for them is that the vast majority of the people are not with them. For if the masses was with them, long time Skerrit burn in hell. But guess what! They have 58 more months to campaign plus the next election campaign

  9. Felix AAron
    February 5, 2015

    Dennis, one party wining all the time does not mean that election is not free and fair.

    I could mean that the other party must at the mirror.

    • Observer
      February 5, 2015

      They cannot look themselves in the mirror and agree that the majority of the people are not with us. We must therefore change our style. Oh, No I forgot. The new style is to demand that Skerrit do this and do that. As though they are part of a coalition government.

  10. looking
    February 5, 2015

    Mr Joseph you may have written brilliant articles but in the end the majority will not see and not listen. As long as we get paybacks and gifts it does not matter. Its comparable with a mother who has a son bringing in the goodies. As long as she is getting it she most likely will not question the sources. I have realized that we as a people have become so desperate (financial stress), that its all about, “What i can get”. Its selfish though, but that is the nature of us as a people. One thing we have to understand is that all actions have consequences. It would interesting to see what kind of fruits we reap in 20 to 30 years time.

  11. Zuma
    February 5, 2015

    Dennis everything is possible only if the Almighty allows it, don’t you ever forget that…… You can bleat all you want with your well manicured phrases and quotes from the greats who once walked the earth, in the end the people of Dominica have decided who will take them forward irrespective of what you and the others think…

  12. Abel Mocker
    February 5, 2015

    Denis – your writing style and flow has vastly improved from the last time I read; I may not agree with you most of the time or all written today but you have made your message clear – it was received. I like when the mesanger delivers his mesage and not muldle it up for the reader to decipher.

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