Restoring the Essence of the Nation: Breaking the Economic Stranglehold (Part 4)

Kent Vital, Economist

Over the last three articles, we have been discussing three interrelated strategies that are highly important to break the domination of the corrupt ruling regime.  In this article, we will begin to expound on the second area – efforts to break the economic stranglehold that the ruling regime has on the people.

Research has shown that political context and process is central to shaping the way politicians and policy makers decide for or against progressive changes that can deliver legitimate, capable, accountable and responsive states. It has helped explain why some countries achieve economic growth and political stability, while others remain locked in conflict and poverty. (Taken from a DIFD research synthesis paper titled – the Politics of Poverty: Elites, Citizens and states).  Clearly our country is locked in poverty and underdevelopment which we need to break.  Moreover, we desperately need to avoid civil strife and violence but sadly, the parameters for such are already in place in our country given political fraud, political victimization and military intimidation.

The centrality of politics in building effective states and shaping development outcomes is clearly borne out in the DFID funded research.   Development is Politics! Underdevelopment is Politics! But clearly in the case of Dominica, the ruling regime has engaged in politics primarily in pursuit of personal interest to the detriment of the country’s optimal development. They clearly want to hang on to power at any cost and so they have set out to dominate the people of Dominica and to subvert democracy in the country.  The regime seeks to maintain power through a variety of strategies and a major one of these is to withhold progressive changes from the reach of the vast majority of the people.  They do so because they fear that as people progress towards economic independence and dignity, it would be impossible to dominate them!  They pursue a set of carefully laid out cunning strategies through which they lead some people into thinking that the regime has the economic interest of the people at heart, when in fact, they are standing in the way of progress.

Let us examine the three aspects of their economic suppression strategy. First, they use illicit financing sources, or they misuse public funds, or they even use legitimate public programmes, to provide significant gifts in order to entice voters.  These gifts may be significant ones such as the provision of low-income housing and the provision of assistance under the rapid response programme.  However, none of these gifts or bribes have been designed to empower the vast majority of the people to thrive or to allow them to have a significantly better life. Instead, the gifts are designed to invoke great gratitude and loyalty to the regime in the context of a weak economy with high poverty and high unemployment.  Clearly, the regime is not interested in growing the economy in ways that would result in many people becoming economically independent. In fact, many of the economic actions they engage in are designed to serve the personal or political interests of the ruling regime or the interest of their local and foreign co-conspirators.

Secondly, the regime re-enforces the false notion that better cannot be done or that the country is doing the best it can.  They use a number of strategies to get that message across.  For instance, when they stay things like “the PM is the best PM in the Caribbean” the underlying message they are actually sending is that better cannot be done. They are sending the message that though the country is still struggling, it is the administration of the PM that results in things not being worse.   Of course, nothing is further from the truth – our country is among the worst economic performers in the English-speaking Caribbean which is a direct result of extremely bad and corrupt economic management.  Clearly, under capable and honest leadership, the country could do much better.

Thirdly, the regime led many to think that should another political group take the reigns of leadership, then that new government would no longer provide gifts.

Together, all three aspects of their strategy result in many voting for the regime because they received gifts and/or want to remain in line to receive significant gifts or favour.  The voting decision is buttressed by the lack of hope – they don’t think the economy will improve to allow them to help themselves rather than depend on gifts.  Their voting decision is further entrenched by the fear spread by the ruling regime that a new regime will no longer provide gifts!

In the next article, we discuss how we, as a people, can pull our country out of despair despite this government’s use of their politics to serve their own interest rather than the best interest of all the people.

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  1. Man bites dogs
    April 8, 2021

    Man shut up you are a fail leader off “freedom party “get back to the hills and smoke yourself till you fall asleep.

  2. Viewsexpressed
    April 7, 2021

    Kent, we appreciate your thoughts and concerns re the failure and incompetence of this failed incompetent Questionable inmature Skerrit as this fake incompetent failed do called Prime “Odd” Minister. Be advised that Skerrit is politically Immature, he’s obvious Visionless and has absolutely no concept of Socio-Economic Development therefore Skerrit is slowly killing our Economy, sells our passports to Nefarious Characters all over whereas there is absolutely no foreseeable concept of Socio-Economic Development of our country that it is elevated to a standard of living and working with farmers and other independent hard working farmers and people to elevate our people and country to that level of decency and respect that our people comfortable to move on in life. However, this will not happen under this fake incompetent Questionable inmature Skerrit and his failed devious Labour Party Government. We have had enough of this deceitfull Red Bobol Clinic 🙊. We need change and Skerrit…

  3. Roland Mitchell
    April 6, 2021

    Mr Vital, Sir, your analysis may be right, but I think we should cut to the chase.
    (1)By Mr Skerrit apparently flying in people to vote for DLP candidates on election day, this is what is keeping him and the DLP, in power fraudulently. If any party wants to get power, it must stop this practise.
    (2) The threat that the Dominica Police and its paramilitary force poses to the freedom that democracy requires to survive is ever present, and forces people to be frightened of Mr Skerrit and his supporters.
    (3) There are strong people behind Mr Skerrit like Mr Anthony Astaphan, who are the power behind the throne, and they seem to have immunity from prosecution. These people will not give up such power lightly.
    (4) There is thus far no accountability for income from the sale of passports for overseas citizens. This seems to be a big source of income from the country, yet Mr Skerrit is not accountable to anyone for that.

    If you can solve these 4 problems, then Dominica can flourish.

  4. Fully aware
    April 6, 2021

    Excellent,well laid out,informative article.
    Please encourage all Dominicans to start reading and thinking for themselves.
    The only way for change is by informed understanding of the issues.

  5. Rolle Rolle
    April 5, 2021

    Good read! Keep it up Mr Vital.

  6. god way
    April 5, 2021

    I’M LOST OF WARDS you could not even take a political party into an Election our country is among the worst economic performers in the English-speaking Caribbean which is a direct result of extremely bad and corrupt economic management REALLY Kent no one has been sent home all the other islands has your is under sand! you need a Job Dominica has

  7. Waiting For Airport
    April 5, 2021

    100% agree, always with gifts, always empty promises, but no investment in infrastructure to monetize our natural resources.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1
  8. Ibo France
    April 4, 2021

    Another excellent analysis and assessment as to the grim reality in Dominica. The misguided, thoughtless and self-serving policies of an avaricious and uncaring regime have devastated the masses financially, materially, spiritually and psychologically.

    Change is inevitable if the people are to realize a much better quality of life. That change MUST come from a monumental ground swell of support from the afflicted. They must want it and go out and take it by any means necessary, preferably non-violent.

    The longer a ruler/regime remains in power the more corrupt and dictatorial he/it becomes. The Dominican people have served twenty-one (21) years of HARD LABOUR under the DLP, it is time to unlock the handcuffs.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2
    • April 8, 2021

      As for you, as long as it is anything negative about Skerrit, it is always an excellent analysis and grim assessment of reality. You want to put your hands on that CBI money and it has not happened and it will never happen. Dominica is doing great considering the progress and developments of the other islands. We are doing well. You IBO FRANCE and Kent Vital need to find a real job. We are good in managing the COVID experience unlike the other islands where deaths are occurring frequently.

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