JUST DENNIS: Independence Day – Day of Honour

Dennis Joseph
Dennis Joseph

It was a great night with no real sign of any rain as more than 10,000 gathered in the Windsor Park packing the temporary stands and grounds to be part of the most important moment in our nation’s history- when at midnight we would truly become a nation and a member of the United Nations Assembly of nations.

We were about to troll with the big boys and girls and change the name of the leader from Premier to Prime Minister which is the post enjoyed by all those who followed  after Patrick John who was the first Prime Minister and who should be rightfully called the Father of our Independence whether you like it or not.  Right is Right so do the Right and be fair.  I am always astonished at the capacity of we the people to diss-down what we perceive as unworthy yet cover and uphold things and people we know to be worst.  On that night we also became a Republic with the name Commonwealth of Dominica to differentiate us from being confused with the Dominican Republic.

I was on the broadcast together with Ferdinand Frampton and Jones P Madiera a guest commentator from Trinidad.  I was the one with the microphone when the flag of Dominica was hoisted with great fanfare and cheers at midnight and I recall the pride of achievement we all felt as we stood there on the top section of the specially built huge two tiered stage and saw the Sisserou fluttering in the breeze.  That pride I am sure was reflected in my voice and that of Ferdinand and even Jones as a Caribbean person.  Yet it was more than a flag being hoisted, it was our new system of government being introduced, accepted and recognized through a new Constitution.

That Constitution had been negotiated in London between the British government, the government of Dominica including the Leader of the Opposition and her team.  On that night in the spirit of a new beginning of unity the Leader of the Opposition Eugenia Charles was asked to write and deliver the  welcome address to all the visiting dignitaries most of all the Queen’s representative her sister the late Princess Margaret after who our main hospital at Goodwill is named.  Just after midnight  in his first address to the nation as Prime Minister Patrick John said this:

“Therefore let us stop wounding and slandering ourselves and present ourselves before the world truly as we really are – as friends not masters, as apostles of  principle not of power, ….”

On the anniversary  each year we hold special events and ceremonies and we have done this for 34 years on November 3rd Independence Day and are about to do it again which is ‘present ourselves as apostles of principle not of power.’  So you might ask what is different this time around?  Well apart from a bit of history for the benefit of those who were too young to know or who were born later and there are many, it is because this year “Aye Dominique something is not right” .

What do the police and armed forces do on Independence Day?  Some will answer, “They march and parade and shoot blanks in the air.”   No my friends they do more than that –they salute and do honour and homage and somebody stands in a position to receive such.  It is not just the show it is the substance and while some come just to see, to cheer or to laugh and others may even perversely hope to see a police officer faint from the heat of the sun mostly the police and the other groups are just thinking of getting it right and perhaps even wondering that if those under the tents sheltered from the sun were placed to sit under the sun then the speeches and presentations might not be so long drawn out.

But all that ceremony has a greater purpose because Independence Day is a day of honour. What is honour? It is something that cannot be bought, sold, traded, or handed to one of the boys, but must be gained through the respect of your peers and the people in general. In some cases honour is displayed through feats of heroism in time of war, in other places there are honour killings of women who supposedly disgraced their families.  The Bible tells of women being stoned to death for dishonouring their husbands and people still commit suicide due to loss of face.  Honour is no small thing in the world from centuries back. Independence Day is our day of honour when locals are honoured for their work and the police and other groups honour with their salutes and their marching band. Whoever that person is who takes the salute of honour must be respected and accepted as honourable  or the thing becomes a Ho, Ho, Ho Noh matter.

That is why I have a problem with Mr. Skerrit when he implies that the presidency is really nothing much so  what is the fuss about Savarin being appointed to the post.  There are those who will hasten to dilute for  mostly  political reasons and say that it is not the person that matters but that the salute is for the land or the day or whatever else.  We do honour to our land by respecting our National Anthem  and not ‘ beff-in’ and disregarding as many of us do when it is played.  We honour our land by protecting our environment and sustaining our rivers, and other natural resources, but what we do on Independence Day is honour and salute the President who represents the  shape, soul and unifying force of our nation which is the sum total of everything.  Most importantly we honour the President as the guardian of  the law which sets up the system of government – the Constitution.

However Savarin is under a cloud of being unconstitutionally appointed and his friends may rush to his defence and say this is just politics.  Yet no matter how you  tap dance around it the fact is that whoever stands on the platform to take the salute must be honoured and respected by the people.  That is where this year is different because for the first time in 34 years the holder of the office of President is deemed by the majority of the people to be definitely un-honoured, un-respected and unworthy of such a post.

If you believe that it does not matter if the President is worthy of your respect Charles  then all I have written is of little import, but if you think otherwise and still do him honour then you have surrendered to wounding and slandering yourself and that is damaging to you, the youth and our Isle of beauty.  Perhaps when we sing the lines of the National Anthem we do not truly consider them.  Some lines  bear repeating here:

‘Come ye forward Sons and Daughters of this gem beyond compare
Strive for HONOUR…..do the RIGHT, be FIRM, be FAIR’

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  1. whoopi
    November 4, 2013

    that picture of Dennis self harsh wi zoh, get a friendlier pic man aa :lol:

  2. dadie
    November 3, 2013

    well from your writings,and from what i see happening;i have come to the conclusion;that Politics;is a Game of ‘ca ke tapia e’ cricket (who get it,keep it, ‘the ball’which is,the control:and they do what ever they want with it.when it was all you;you run things your way.today skerrit doing his thing,and always the masses are the loosers.it just troubles me to see a country like Dominica which have so much potential,could go down this road;Political Selfishness,which leave the masses fighting among themselves.As of today;i am going to pray for Dominica every day and comment no more;i am so sick of Dominicans behavior. sewo and more sewo,poor Dominica.wish you could have a happy independance;

  3. Posse
    November 2, 2013

    We all see ourselves as patriotic. I don’t know where Mr Joseph is going or what he is thinking but all I can say is enough is enough move on Mr Joseph .Maybe when your party is in power they will make you president for life.maybe just may be every time he hears the name CHARLES HE THINKS OF THE LATE PRIME MINISTER CHARLES who took all away from him.LOL HAPPY INDEPENDENCE

  4. Jail-corrupt-leaders
    November 2, 2013

    Savarin resign

    • Anonymous
      November 5, 2013


    November 2, 2013

    We celebrate the anniversary of our Independence because we are now a free democratic state with a Constitution as the framework to guide our national political system.

    On 3rd November 1978, the Hon. Parick Ronald John – as Dennis says – whether we like it or not, the father of the Nation of Dominica, gave us our Constitution, a document that every civic-minded and patriotic Dominican, especially our political leaders ought to be respectful of. By giving us our own Constitution, we became an Independent state and broke the umbilical cord of sovereignty with our former colonial master and mother country.

    The spirit of our Independence Day celebrations is deep in the values upon which the State of the Commonwealth of Dominica was founded. Our inherent and expressed fundamental rights, freedoms and protections ought to be the focus of our Independence Day celebrations.

    Yes, we should celebrate our independence with flair and festivities from Capuchin to Cachacou. There is a place for the pomp, parades, shows etc but we cannot lose track of what we are celebrating. We must always remain focused on the ideals of our democracy, liberty and freedoms. Hence, no amount of “good time”, parties, ceremonies, well-attended rallies, parades can substitute for the true embodiment of the principles and values on which this nature Isle was founded.

    What we defend today is not just something to give speeches about in a ceremonious way but they are real principles that ought to be and can be achieved in the course of building this country- the lovely Nature Island, beautiful Waitukubuli, Commonwealth of Dominica.

    Roseau valley

  6. Gary
    November 2, 2013

    To Lougaoo Mem

    To say that what Dennis wrote is full of substance and truth is somewhat puzzling.It tells me you choose to blatantly subvert your thinking to Dennis political rhetoric or as usual always using your political partisan belief to justify what is the truth for you and The country you say you love.

    It is so shameful for Dennis to write such article Independence Day – Day of Honor and praising The late Prime Minister Patrick John who disrespected our country Honor and Independence by joining forces with a group of white supremacist mercenaries to invade the country,where is the honor in this man to his country.

    Dennis insistence to Charles Savarin as being unconstitutionally appointed as President is such nonsense.I would like to ask Dennis to prove such thing.He may not like the choice as do many others but that does not say The president is appointed unconstitutionally.The closing sentence of your comment thanking Dennis for writing about what he sees and feel is all based on your political partisan beliefs.

  7. One Love
    November 2, 2013

    The OFFENSIVE thing about Dennis Joseph is that he writes the TRUTH; – PERIOD

    • Original Observer
      November 5, 2013

      We must not blame Denis for his SHEER HATRED of Charles Angelo Savarin. Denis sat pretty well inside the engine of the Patrick John Labour Party. He had a position of Director of Communications with responsibility for radio and television. He designed pR programs for {atrick. Denis stood idly by when Patrick John promised to jail civil servants at the Cabrits. Isn’t that true? denis was the man with the “master Plan” for Patrick’s government. He enjoyed the status of being able to reach the PM whenever he wishes. He remained loyal to Patrick John when every othe r minister was calling it quit. During the 1979 ‘people’s revolution, he opened and closed DBS Radio whenever he wanted and at the instructions of the then Prime Minister to broadcast messages from the Prime Minister. Interstingly, more than three decades later, Denis sees every evil in the events of May 29, 1979, but is closely associated with those who tady are calling for a repeat of the events of May 29th 1979. So people takeit easy on Denis. His world came crashing back in 1979.Charles Savarin took a strong stance against those who dare criminalize the actions of civil servants who were simply agitating for their money that was more than three years late following conclusioin of a collective agreement. Did Denis urge Pj to pay the civil servants? What I do know is that he carried the news item promoting the threat to imprison. As a parting word. There is no difference in what Patrick promised to the civil servants back in 1976 to what the “novice leader” is now promising Evangelist Peter Augustine. Pj promised the civil servants that “if they go on strike he will jail them in the Cabrits” (1976. In more trecent times, the novist is promising Evangelist Augustine “if you dare to criticize me on the stance I have taken regarding truth, justice and the good governance of the country, I will personally remove the ointment from your annointing”. Both the former Prime Minister and the novice are political partners. Denis sees absolutley nothing wrong with any of the stancxe they have publicly taken. So people ease up on Denis. See him for what he is. A very bitter loser of five out of six general elections. He is already in line for another defeat.

  8. Erasmus B. Black
    November 1, 2013

    The new nation that was born prematurely that night at the Windsor Park and re-christened Commonwealth of Dominica, was also plagued with too many godfathers and big men with master plans. Some would argue that the father of the baby that night, aka: Doctor, Colonel, the Right Honourable Prime Minister, was an honourable man who wanted to do right by that new baby nation. But it was the ambition of a few honourable men who had tasted power that led to the Ku Klux Klan conspiracy and countless other conspiracies. Bob Dylan, in his 1960’s vintage recording sang “the times they are a-changin.” So too it seems have honour and “honourable-ness.” They mean different things to different people at different times.

    In Shakespeare’s Julius Ceasar, Brutus(an honourable man) said he betrayed his friend for the sake of Rome. He thought he was saving his country from a power hungry politician. Instead, civil war broke out. This Rome is a mourning Rome….

  9. "O" STRESS"
    November 1, 2013

    Keep writing Dennis but do not forget about how the selling half of Dominica came about, include also the attempted overthrow of a legitimately elected Government and do not stop writing about the fire at High Street the registry. Keep writing Dennis and write about the army controlled by a then mad man that shoot at people demonstrating peacefully and the death of Phillip,{R.I.P.}Timothy. Keep writing Dennis Do the right thing”. “BE FIRM BE FAIR.SMFH” keep writing my brother, keep writing.

  10. Rhum Bucco
    November 1, 2013

    Happy independence Mr Joseph and to my fellow citizens and residents of The Commonwealth Of Dominica.May i humbly suggest that Mr Joseph take some time to inform DNO readers about the 47 day strike for which Mr Savarin is being villified? I was a civil servant(as we were known back then) and i know about the strike too.Extremely low wages just to name one of the causes.
    I also would like Mr Joseph to tell us through his writings about the libel and slander act that Colonel The Honourable Patrick Roland John aided and abeted by the then attorney general Guyanese born Leo I Austin attempted to impose on us the people of Dominica.
    We may demonize President Savarin, but had people like Louis Benoit(ZabOka)of the
    Waterfront and Allied Workers Union,Kertiste Augustus of the Dominica Amagamated Workers Union,Charles Savarin of the Civil Service Association,the brave leader of The Dominica Trade Union not lead the charge against the dictatorial aspiratios of the Father of the nation maybe we would not be able to be so critical of President Savarin and other members of the government and opposition. I’m not a supporter of the present government but please tell our young people the whole truth and nothing but the truth.Telling the truth might very well heal our nation.Young people do some research of your own.

  11. November 1, 2013

    “That is where this year is different because for the first time in 34 years the holder of the office of President is deemed by the majority of the people to be definitely un-honoured, un-respected and unworthy of such a post.”
    You guys are serious about this narrative. So, Groovy Bat was justified with his behavior under PJ. You fellas have convenient memory selection. If so, then have fun with dat.

    • Anonymous
      November 5, 2013

      Not the majority. Just the people who falling for the uwp bs.

  12. Afriko
    November 1, 2013

    And who was the first president of Dominica again? Pushed through by Patrick John (with I am sure the support of Dennis?): Frederick Degazon, St. Lucian born, former Speaker of the House in the style of Alix Boyd Knights when dealing with the opposition.

    And that was fine, was it Dennis? So that when Patrick John was in a state of crisis of his own making in June 1979, That “Honourable President, Degazon” ran away from Dominica without even telling his prime minister!

    Whatever people may say about Charles Savarin I know that he would never run away from Dominica at a time of crisis. He fought for workers when they needed him.

    And that was at a time when Dennis made sure that only the voice of the ruling party in power could be heard on the ONLY radio station that was allowed to operate in Dominica. Reading these articles when you lived through those times is just sickening.

    • Anonymous
      November 1, 2013

      WELL SAID @Afriko, tell it to them AGIAN.

    • NextLevel
      November 4, 2013

      Tell me about it Dennis is talking to the young people born after 1979 what he is forgetting is he Patrick and all the others did the very same thing. They kept the Freedom Party out of every thing that’s why there was this kind of revolt against the then Labour Party do as I say but don’t do as I do. Sometimes the hypocrisy is just cutting. Why Federick Degazon the first President a St. Lucian by birth. I will say again your horse legs were cut off by Charles Savarin that is the jelousy you are carrying today get over it Dennis

  13. Oh yes
    November 1, 2013

    As usual you shed light on matters of importance. There should be no compromise when the matter is respect. Respect for self, respect for fellowman, and respect for your country. Of course, ‘superior’ respect is for God.

  14. Leo
    November 1, 2013

    what are these lobourites hyperventilating about, there is something called truth, when one comes into contact with it and your experience is a real one – it sets you free. Stop being prisoners of your conscience. Denis’ encounter with the truth allows him to be comfortable with himself and what he writes

    • unique 1
      November 2, 2013

      people always talk about truth,truth always seems to be something people deem wen they are in support or against a matter.

    • winston warrington
      November 2, 2013

      Truth is a state yet not static; that’s why the general public wants facts – without embellishment. History is not self-written like the age of a tree. It is a product of memory which influences thought: consequently, whatever is produced by the writer is part of himself and we should not expect him to change his experiences. And he can’t, for that forms the foundation of HIS truth.

  15. yah yah
    November 1, 2013

    i am sadden, yes; that Mr Joseph in his publication refuse to point out the culprits for dis HONORING Dominica’s most secret day,he refused to mention who is it that asked Dominicans to spit on this our national pride for thee years running.national activities is not to be held hostage to fulfill the own selfish gains.but instead he UNFAIRLY hits on Charles Savarin.Back then he was the savior for us all but then we get what we wanted he now becomes the devil.Savarin was not at fault then and he is not at fault now.do the RIGHT, be FIRM, be FAIR

  16. T bouy
    November 1, 2013

    Here we go again. You don’t have to agree with the writer’s views. That’s your option. But, it does not preclude him from publishing his views. Pleas look beyond the writer and look at the writings. This is a free country and everyone has a right to express himself.Thanks Dennis for giving us a piece of history. At least you are making a contribution. The truth offends all the time and all the time the truth offends. I may not agree with your perspective on our first PM but sa lavie. You will never be right all the time.

    • Anonymous
      November 1, 2013

      There is, has always been, and will ALWAYS be, a difference between giving one’s opinion on an historic event and distorting history in order to make the villains of yesteryear appear as heroes. And all your ranting, Mr Joseph, will not make a hero of Patrick John nor a villain of Charles Savarin. Thank God there are enough of us still alive who remember every detail of the events of 1979. Shame, double shame, on all those who want to rewrite history for their own selfish purpose.

    • cornmeal
      November 2, 2013

      Dennis must tell us what section of the Constitution was violated. How was Mr. Savarin’s appointment unconstitutional. Point me to that section of the Constitution.

    • Popam
      November 2, 2013

      here we go again. You don’t have to agree with the Prime Minister’s views. That’s your option. But, it does not preclude him running the country. Please look beyond the PM and look at his works. This is a free country and every one has a right to express himself. Thanks Mr. Skerrit. At least you are making a contribution. The TRUTH offends all the time.

      Children are are always proud and honour their Parents. But after your parents try to sell you to racist oppressors, commit Treason against the family and is given a reprieve and still cannot eat humble pie, those parents and those continually egging them on should be thrown out.

  17. HMMM..
    November 1, 2013

    true say Dennis true say.

      November 3, 2013

      sometime what is untrue according to how you say it sound like the truth. shame on you dennis

  18. Truth
    November 1, 2013

    I am saddened for you and not for dno,.because in the abundance of water ,you are still thirsty,

  19. Bojangles
    November 1, 2013

    Mr Joseph, once again you have outdone yourself.You could not have said it better.
    I am sure you are not the only one who is entertaining these thoughts at this time of year, it is PITIFUL that we still have Dominicans who as former Prime Minister Pierre Charles once said, continue to “WEAR THEIR IGNORANCE AS A BADGE OF HONOUR”.

    HAPPY INDEPENCE DOMINICA !! I pray for your deliverance from this CESSPOOL that we have been cast into. !!!!

  20. Doc. Love.
    November 1, 2013

    It was a day of honor as far as being politically independent is concerned. I can never forget the speech delivered my Eugenia Charles on the night. In my opinion, the speech was very dishonorable and was deliberate in an effort to embarrass Mr. John. Sometime in the future, Mr. Joseph must print the speech on DNO to prove my point.

  21. Mac
    November 1, 2013

    Give your reasons again why you believe that Savarin is not fit to be President because I am not very clear and in fact lost. Could it possibly be your political bias? If so this does not count. It is not good to harbor resentment and bitterness because you are not hurting anyone, you are only hurting yourself. Time to let go and heal. Like youself, Charles Savarin has made great contributins to this nation and is fit as anyone to hold the position of President. Everyone, including myself, has opinions but that does not make us right. We need to approach things with an open mind. Are you doing that Mr. Joseph? Are you at least trying to be fair and not let the past cloud your judgement?

  22. Democratic Party
    November 1, 2013

    I am saddened that DNO keep publishing Dennis Joseph nonsense, but if he is paying for his publications on DNO well it’s all fair in the name of commerce

    • concerned
      November 1, 2013

      I do not agree with Charles being president but there is sense in NON sense. Do not just stick to the last lines. See beyond the lines and act as a true patriot of your country. Presidency is not a life time thing.

    • Lougaoo Mem
      November 1, 2013

      @ Democratic Wanna Bee. I am saddened and sorry at the level of your ignorance and blindness that cause you to blame DNO.

      Everyday I read comments like yours, certainly, reinforces the fact that there’s much work to be done in order to change the course we are on.

      Permit me to say that the article “Independence Day – Day of Honour,” is well written, full of substance and truth, and a lot to reflect on as a nation that has lost direction.

      Thank You Denis Joseph for writing as you see and feel it.

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