This commentary is about the state of governance in this country and the manner in which unsuspecting citizens are being taken on a ride to nowhere.
– It is about a political leader (not a prime minister) who spends most of his time raising money and campaigning for the entire period of his term.
– it is about a cabinet that seems obligated to one man and even if they would hold a different opinion (one of conscience), they do not have the guts or honesty to speak out even if it means sacrificing a ministerial or other high position.
– it is about a political leader who has demonstrated to the citizens of this land that the only things that matters is MONEY, no matter where it comes from.
– it is about a political leader who uses psychology to fool the masses of the people to believe that while he is alive, no one else should lead this country. This gentleman must realize that even in great nations like the United States, people like Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George Bush and other prominent world leaders are currently and have been private citizens for a long time.
– it is about a political leader who spends substantial amount of time and resources to demonize and humiliate opposition members to the point where the people actually believe him and follow his insulting and denigrading characterization of anyone who is of a different political thinking.
– it is about a political leader who uses all instruments of state such as the public service, police service, the courts, cabinet members, village councils, the media, the clergy and some private sector businesses and personalities to control practically all activities in the state.
– it is about a political leader who awards “no bid contracts” to overseas companies without advertising for bids from the Dominican population. Both the west bridge and the river-dredging projects were awarded to Barbadian and Trinidadian companies. This is really an insult to the people of this country and lack of sensitivity to the high rate of unemployment. All profits from such contracts go to other economies while our people continue to suffer.
– it is about taking a very powerful and necessary ministry like Public Works and convert it to the administration of a board of directors controlled by that same leader. Because of this irresponsible act, our roads, highways and other public works projects are in such disarray. Roads repairs are given to unqualified, unskilled and inexperienced persons – their only qualification may be political support.
– it is about a political leader who has brought a new meaning to “security detail”. It is being said that when he moves around the country even on simple personal matters, there is a motorcade of at least three vehicles. Last week, there was heated debate on the media by persons who claim that the leader’s children also receive security detail to/from and during school. Folks, this is at tremendous cost to the state while there are insufficient police officers to respond to emergencies and other routine calls.
– it is essentially about a leader who travels overseas sometimes to do state’s business without the public and in some cases his own aides and advisors not knowing his whereabouts.
– it is about a leader who has used the power and resources of the state to keep the masses of the people ignorant and by playing on their minds (especially after Hurricane Maria), pledges and promises all kinds of things that he cannot deliver.
– it is about a leader who uses financial and other aid from friendly countries and institutions to play politics by using unelected members (caretakers) of his party to do the distribution. As a result, the most needy and affected persons do not receive or marginalized if they are not demonstrated supporters of his party.
– it is simply about WINNING ELECTIONS and remaining in office for as long as he wants. He did make a statement once, that he would be in office until his second son is ready to succeed him (words to that effect).
Fellow Dominicans, for those of you who still were in doubt about the motives of this leader, you should now be convinced that he wants a ONE-PARTY STATE, of course, ruled by one man – himself.
Once he achieves that, we have lost it all – it will be A DICTATORSHIP. Addressing a crowd in the north last week, that leader said it is foolishness to have an opposition –“ we do not need an opposition in Dominica…”
Just that basic statement leaves the door open for the members of his cabinet to decide whether they agree with him or whether they oppose that view. Silence is not an option. If they are serious about democratic rule, they should publicly denounce that pronouncement by their leader.
We have been taught that DEMOCRACY is government by the people, for the people; it is usually referred to as representative government. In practice, there has always been a governing body and an opposition which keeps checks on the government.
However, fairness and equity would require the government to allow the opposition to do its work and grant them the necessary resources to accomplish such work. In fact, the opposition party or parties are not enemies of the government; their job is to ensure that truth and justice prevails through honesty and transparency.
The current leader does not see that as necessary. He wants NO OPPOSITION. He is saying to the public at large that he does not want anybody to question him or his motives and he shall do and say whatever he wants. Here is the danger with that kind of thinking. This would essentially give that leader unlimited power to run this country and no one can stop him.
What is a DICTATORSHIP: It is an authoritarian form of government characterized by a single leader or group, with either no party or a weak party, little mass mobilization and limited political pluralism. A common aspect that characterized dictators, is to take advantage of their strong personality, usually by suppressing freedom of thought and speech of the masses in order to maintain political supremacy. Dictators usually employ political propaganda to decrease the influence of proponents of alternative governing systems.
In a manuscript called SILENT WEAPONS FOR QUIET WARS, the writer captions “The Political Structure of a Nation – Dependency” to demonstrate human behavior towards politicians and I quote-Pg 39:
“The primary reason why individual citizens of a country create a political structure, is a subconscious wish or desire to perpetuate their own dependency relationship of childhood. Simply put, they want a human god to eliminate all risk from their life – pat them on the head, kiss their bruises, put a chicken on every dinner table, clothe their bodies, tuck them in bed at night and tell them everything will be alright when they wake up in the morning. The public demand is incredible, so the human god, the politician, meets incredibility with incredibility by promising the world and delivering nothing. So, who is the bigger liar? The public or the godfather? This public behavior is surrender born f fear, laziness and expediency. It is the basis of the welfare state as a strategic weapon useful against a disgusting public.”
If you are interested, you can read the full text of “SILENT WEAPONS FOR QUIET WARS” online and it will awaken your spirit of what is going on in Dominica. This was written with countries like the United States and other big countries in mind but over the years, we have seen the “hubris” syndrome in so many countries large and small, that they all seem to follow the same pattern of not wanting to leave office; in some cases, even if the electorate vote them out, they resist.
In Dominica, this should be very easy. We have a leader that has publicly pronounced that he does not want any opposition, thus changing our political way of life such as what they saw in Haiti for decades and most recently and currently in Venezuela.
The clock is ticking and that is what we can do as patriots of this land to avoid this situation. We are certain that cabinet ministers are not in favor of the leader’s strategy but are afraid to object for fear of retribution.
This is what elected members can do, bearing in mind that it is they who choose the leader of the country after victory at the polls:
– Call an emergency cabinet meeting and select a new leader with or without the participation of the current leader. If you could do this you will have done a great service to your country and save it from this man that now holds the office. A simple but profound act of bravery.
A few decades ago, there was a certain popular non-political leader here in Dominica, who used to threaten his members every year at the Annual General Meeting by telling them “if you don’t vote for me you don’t have a job tomorrow”. He was successful for many many years. One thing they never learnt was that if they did not vote him in, he would be out of a job.
So those of you who are partners with your leader, please take a page from that book and learn that with all the power he is exerting, if the majority of you can come together and select a new leader without his approval, you will have saved Dominica from a lot of problems. I know it needs trust from among you but it is certainly doable.
If you cannot get a majority to agree, call a special session of parliament and join with the opposition in a “no confidence motion” against him. This country’s problem is solved and the country can look forward to a fresh new start without all these controversies. Like St. Kitts/Nevis, one of you will get the opportunity to become the political leader and prime minister. After all these years don’t you think you deserve it like Dr. Timothy Harris of St. Kitts/Nevis?
– Another way to get this man out of office is for the people of his constituency to vote against him. This is much more difficult since he spends millions of dollars there to ensure victory at the polls. With a well-planned and organized ground strategy, an opposing party can expose the unsuspecting public in that constituency of the problems of that candidate and mount a very aggressive campaign to unseat him.
I will end by advising all Dominicans from all political parties to consider what I have enumerated above and come together to end this divisiveness and hate that is going on in Dominica.
One last thing to think about is this: Assad, the President of Syria may feel within himself that he is right in all he does; he continues to blame opposition forces but millions of people have fled and hundreds of thousands have been killed while he continues his reign of terror.
Do we want to see Dominica get to that point?
I hope not.
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