If you think like a slave you will behave like a slave. A slave is whipped to the ground over and over and will still continue to work without protest with a “Yes Massa” cowering attitude. If you are made to think like a poor person you will always act like a poor person and that is why I have a problem with the so called Red Clinic social program policy of this government.
This program urges poor people to attend a money distribution clinic one day each week to beg for a bit of that money and receive a little something directly from the hands of Prime Minister Skerrit. The mostly choice-less cabinet of ministers agree to the program and approve the taxpayers funds to sustain it and in so doing have sidelined the established Social Welfare office. Any person whether truly needed or not can avoid the investigative processes of the Welfare Division and make up any story to get a little money.
I keep wondering why is it that the Labour Party boasts of how well they are doing for the people of Waitukubuli /Dominica yet every election cycle they rush overseas putting out mllions of dollars to secure votes in order to stay in power. It appears that they need those who live somewhere else to drop in on Election Day and make up the numbers that will put them over the top. It also means that the local voters are unimpressed with their doings and one of these is the manner in which social programs are made to seem more vote catching traps than compassionate giving.
I evaluate our national leaders not by their sounds of thunder, fury, pompous boasts, promises and “bef” but by the lasting legacy of their stewardship. I think of things that have made an impact on our lives making us think and live differently. Edward Leblanc was busy changing the social class structure of Dominicans in the sixties to make the poor think differently, Patrick John gave us our political independence and our system of governance written in a new Constitution to give us an international identity, Edison James brought us the World Creole Music Festival which has been a source of national pride and termed by all our people as the biggest and most significant cultural and tourism event ever and so now we await what Skerrit’s legacy will be.
What lasting social program or policy has he put in place that will compliment his large talk of being deeply interested mainly in social programs? A legacy of just being skillful at winning elections and bringing in voters from overseas to do that is not good enough. Skerrit’s term has been mired in scandals and court cases and the voters are becoming restless as they face another election cycle with a feeling that it will be more of the same and the same old talk of a love affair with China and Venezuela. Meantime the opposition United Workers Party’s (UWP) confidence level has erupted with an exhilarating feeling of being born again.
This feeling is centered around the phenomenal rise of the new leader Lennox Linton from a political unknown just a few short years ago to become the popular undoubted choice to replace the big footprint of Edison Chenfil James who kept the party afloat but is now retiring. The UWP political base is so powered up by this newness that they have already proclaimed Linton a Prime Minister in waiting. His masterly inaugural address from Castle Bruce was worthy of a Prime Minister in the making and was like a shining star in the east uplifting the politics to a new height of sober and analytic presentation which may prove a difficult act to follow.
Certainly PM Skerrit will have a hard time trying to match that level of oratorical skill and perhaps he should not even try.
When according to Nasio Fontaine the people start to think that “we’ve been travelling much too long from Genesis to Revelation” and that the revelations are disturbing then understandably the ruler’s anxiety level increases. That is why Linton’s revelations of misdeeds in governance have caused a feeding frenzy for his blood, and ongoing attempts to tear down his gate and frighten his radio listeners away. The governing side has regarded him as an unholy intrusion on their sacred ground and has gone totally nuclear ballistic biting off their nails and spitting them out into fire ‘well vex’ and calling for their ‘mamie.’
Skerrit himself with backward thinking, inappropriately launched a public verbal salvo against Q95 radio which broadcasts Linton’s ‘Between You and Me’ show seeking to have business houses boycott the station in order to fatally cripple its advertising revenue intake thereby forcing the station off the air. Embarrassingly for the PM that back-fired big time since not even his own government offices and people heeded his call. As often happens, when there is overreaching criticism, the DLP agents only succeeded in enhancing the curiosity effect and turned Lennox Linton into a local radio superstar and a national personality.
However the coming of Lennox Linton who has advocated change may be the chance to bring in real change in our politicking. We hope that the advancing election season is not just another round of inane, abusive cruel ‘mepwi’, cussing and crass politics but a show of respect to we the people as we will be allowed to listen to intelligent debates on the staggering issues facing our land. One of the serious issues is poverty alleviation and jobs, jobs and more jobs. This Red Clinic suppresses talent and makes our people think like poor people without hope. If we want our people to rise we must change the beggar thinking which the Red Clinic encourages and indeed nurtures.
Many times in life we must be careful for what we ask. The present early election mood of the people is caused by the PM who whenever he feels under some pressure tries to change the conversation by threatening another general election. Recently he did it again but this time it may backfire. The agents and officials of the DLP invited Lennox Linton to enter the political boxing ring so now the glove is in their corner.
This time around we will find out if Roosevelt Skerrit who has won two elections as prime minister truly enters the real political ring or will he stay far away on a political platform posing and cooing to his admirers. We look forward to intense analysis of the issues facing us by way of debates between those who claim they have a plan to fix the problems. If Skerrit again insists upon moving sideways we must conclude that as usual he has chosen to opt out of accounting for what he has been doing and the promises he makes.
It would therefore be obvious that even now Mr. Skerrit is still an infant in the business of country management and fears a one-on-one with Linton who he may think like in the words of the great famous boxer Mohamed Ali “flits like a butterfly and stings like a bee.”
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