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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Are town, village and city councils Constituency groups?

In school, we are taught that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts; but apparently, uncanny politicians have turned that saying around and now it may be more appropriate to say “the sum of the parts is greater than the whole”.

Never before has St. Lucia had so much money going around. In addition to Government’s budget of a billion dollars a year, each constituency receives an additional 1 million dollars a year. Add it all up, we get a whooping figure of approximately 5.085 billion dollars or ($5,085,000,000 million). St. Lucia has never had so much money before. Yet, this is the time we continue to face the most hardships. To make it worse, we were struck by Hurricane Tomas and there has been no visible or credible recovery plan while the victims continue to languish in poverty and misery.

So how could things for the last five years be so bad in St. Lucia when there was so much money going around? That is largely expected when according to the hypocritical Rick Wayne "a man not fit to lead a Boys Scout troop becomes a Prime Minister"

But this is only a part of the agony facing Helen. The price of gasoline is climbing and approaching $15/gallon. The price of cooking gas has also skyrocketed to almost $40 for a 20-lb cylinder. At the moment, a barrel of crude oil is $106 and it is projected to climb above $150 by which time a gallon of gas would be around $25/gallon and a 20-lb cooking gas cylinder would be close to $60.

The only beneficiary of the hardships is the government who makes $3.00 on every gallon of gas. (The dealers make a profit of about 20 cents per gallon and the retailers 80 cents a gallon.) If government were to remove that tax, a gallon of gas would be less than $12.

Does government have a plan for the amelioration of our hardships? The only plan seems to be an advisory to tighten our belts, as if to suggest another disaster is approaching; but how much belt-tightening can we do again? Does the government want us to squeeze blood out of stone? What about government, itself? Does it practice what it preaches? The answer is obvious!

Government is asking us to practice thrift, when its ministers are overly extravagant? Look at the Bay Walk offices for the foreign Minister: taxpayers pay over $114,000 a month; look at the Daher Building, where over 30 million dollars were flushed down the toilet. Couldn’t those monies be put into better use? Who pays for that wastage and mismanagement? Indeed, it’s we - the taxpayers - who are now paying through our noses! How can government advise its citizens to be thrifty and at the same time be so extravagant?

Let’s look at it from another angle: Just imagine what could have happened if the $85,000,000 from the Taiwanese were channeled through the treasury and were rolled out based on national plans approved by the social and economic experts/planners? Just imagine the impact if those monies were well-spent in manufacturing, industry, technology and education? Can you imagine the fiscal boost it would provide to government and the impact on development in this country?

Perhaps, we have to agree that government is not only its biggest problem, but also its worst enemy because of its pathetic “lack of vision”.  It is this lack of vision wrapped up in the pursuit of self-seeking materialism which will eventually lead to its inevitable perish.

Gov’t is so lost in its “tracks” that it has resort to dangerous form “plagiarism”. Yes, government is covertly plagiarizing the SLP’s “STEP Programme” (even after it thought STEP was flawed and dragged the NCA before a Commission of Enquiry). Ministers of government are busy implementing “STEP” using Taiwanese money but because it is so haphazard, it is an utter mess. That’s why Tucker’s “Super-STEP Programme” for Choiseul/Saltibus is transforming the constituency into the Ti canal Capital St. Lucia where the only beneficiaries are henchmen.

That is one of the problems of vision that the government is trapped into that has resulted in severe “fragmentation of governance” to the point where every Minister does his own thing hiding behind a constituency group called a village, town or city council?

We accept that the “whole” is greater than the sum of its parts; but for UWP government, the parts are greater than the whole government. The parts which include a cabinet of ministers, individual ministers, political “Rick-Tim-Sam” press, a vast belt of ten-per centers, and the village, town and city councils which serve as their constituency groups. That’s the dilemma of any government which is led by a boy scout PM is bound to face.

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