What the UWP Team Dominica led by Lennox Linton is doing is tantamount to opening a Pandora’s Box. There is no doubt that the team has a hugely articulate leader to deliver the message and in so doing they will find resistance from those who have believed in the Dominica Labour Party(DLP) for so long though not necessarily in the election candidates of the DLP.
Let us face it the DLP is the oldest political party here in Waitukubuli and has been our rulers in government for a total so far of 34 years starting in 1961 with a break for the Freedom Party in 1980 that ruled for 15 years and the new UWP in 1995 governing for less than 5 years.
It simply means that many people have known the DLP far longer than any other party and would have developed sentimental feelings about it. When Lennox Linton in his radio talk show programs began to show corruption in the Labour government’s dealings he was interfering with a belief and not just a political party.
The problem you encounter when attacking a belief is that those who have believed will have their head under water and think they are still breathing (adapted from John Legend, All of Me) and for so long that they cannot bring themselves to peek inside the Pandora’s Box for fear the truth will jump out at them so instead they simply shout out against the bearer of truth just two words, “You lie.” It was so in the time of Jesus the Christ and it is so now. People hate to hear unflattering reviews of the things they love and react in sometimes even violent ways against the messenger.
However, ‘Action speaks louder than words’ is a known slogan. While the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) may have placed in their election manifesto that the DLP is committed to building an international airport actions prove otherwise. In January 2000, The Labour Party won the elections and met on their plate the hundreds of acres of land already purchased for an international airport by the UWP at tens of millions of dollars cost to the taxpayer and simply allowed the land away to all and sundry claiming they wanted to locate the airport somewhere else. However, nothing happened. In the 2005 elections, again, the Labour Party promised an international airport and again nothing happened.
Then the Labour Party proceeded to do all through words and action to discourage we the people about an international airport and in particular by extending the Melville Hall Airport at a cost of nearly half a billion dollars which is stark ‘in your face’ proof that they had no intention of pursuing such a venture. When the Labour Party during their 50th Anniversary celebrations brought in Prime Minister Gonsalves of St Vincent to say to us that we do not need one, it was further evidence that the Labour government had no use for that kind of project.
The PM said that the UWP was just throwing pie in the sky. Now who is laughing as he joins the club? We were given the impression that the UWP politicians were a bunch of lunatics to suggest that they were determined to build one and the Labour crowd cheered. Then with no mea culpa, he hastily leaves for China in search of an international airport and again the Labourites cheer. Which way are you cheering Labourites? Should we not know where is that airport to be located, what investigative work has been done towards ensuring the takeoff and landing safety of the site, who are the people involved in the negotiations, how much is the real cost to we the people, what is the agreement with the builders and what is to happen to the newly renovated Melville Hall Airport and the Canefield Airport and on or is this just another election gimmick like the last ones? How many more times do we have to hear about an international airport before we actually see one. We the people should step out and say, “Either you build the bleeping thing or stop playing with our minds”.
Now let us take a peek at the geothermal matter that seriously has my attention more so because I have just read that there has been an increase in earthquake activity in the region during the month of April. The Prime Minister at his Labour Day show-rally in St Joseph made little mention of the geothermal project, which we were once told, would be like oil is to the Arabs. By now, some of us may have forgotten the “geo” thing having other things to do but the residents of the Roseau Valley where the drilling is ongoing sleep with one eye open. In the time of the four blood moons they might want to sing, “I see bad moon rising” (Creedence Clear Water Revival)
The earth is a living organism and we are an intimate part of it so it is unwise to tinker with large sources of energy without having provisions for a worst-case scenario. You do not test a gun to your head with only one bullet somewhere in the chamber and pull the trigger without preparing for what might happen.
The Labourites at their recent Labour Party show-rally preferred to hear about who liked “cow meat” and so the geothermal matter took a backseat in the bus as far as the Labour Party rally speakers were concerned. We keep taking this geothermal matter lightly substituting its seriousness with stand-up comedy about trivialities but that is how nations are hit hard by what they call “suddenly” because they never want to see the signs coming preferring as in the time of the Biblical Noah to have a field day with denials and trivia.
While some of us live miles away figuring, “We not in dat” be reminded that Mt Pelee in Martinique was 4 miles away from the village of St Pierre as the crow flies and it took seconds for the volcanic eruption to destroy the whole place including 20,000 people leaving only one man in a prison dungeon and a child hiding in a cave to survive Nature’s fury. For political reasons of an imminent elections poll and the desire to keep voters in the village for the polling day the people were told that there was no danger and the authorities sent in a group of so called experts who climbed the mountain and pronounced that ‘all is well’ just five days before hell was released on them.
God made man and we made politics but political war is mostly a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight in which the poor people are made to destroy each other. It is amazing how poor people revel in the verbal slaughtering of one another on behalf of those who become rich while they benefit nothing but hopes of handouts. Yet as in the words of Abraham Lincoln ‘God must love the common people; he made so many of them.”
I think it is because God wanted to spread common sense everywhere, but the common people do not always use that gift. When it is not the pastors and priests it is the turn of the politicians to take boldfaced advantage of ordinary folk. However, the ordinary folk must look after their interests and one such is the preservation of our natural environment, their homes and the sanctity of the life God has given us. There are investors not bothered about the people’s travails over the geothermal project except if it begins to hamper their agenda for milking the cow. There are those even in government who do not care two bleeps about the poor villagers in the surroundings but just the possible big money that would come to them win or lose or draw in that venture.
Yet the poor people have the liberty of voting which is a way in a democracy to stop all undesirable things in governance. This is not the age when God sent a prophet to anoint leaders but by our own ink stained finger, we do it ourselves so we have the option to say to those in government ‘either, or”.
It is time for the residents of the Roseau Valley to stand up and demand that an evacuation and rescue plan is put in place and that they are thoroughly informed of what this project means and how their lives could be impacted and not just call talk shows but say directly to their representatives, “Come talk to us because this time its either, or.”