A PERSPECTIVE ON POLITICS IN ST. LUCIA
|Chen Shui-bian now in Jail|
What do Ambassador Chou, Rufus Bousquet and Richard Frederick have in common? Mr Chou was appointed by former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian who has been sentenced to life in prison after being convicted on charges of corruption. Mr Bousquet has served two prison terms in the USA (for identity theft and grand theft auto) and continues to collaborate with Mr Chou in the breaking of the supreme law of the land.
Now that Uncle Sam has revoked the personal and diplomatic visas of the embattled Minister for Housing, will the next move be to seek his extradition, in the same way that he sought the extradition of “Dudus” Coke?
At the moment, unconfirmed reports are rife that the Cabinet of Ministers fearing for their political future has mandated the PM to fire the embattled minister. Whether fired or resigned, will the departure of the Minister remove him the deep quagmire he has put St. Lucia and himself? What are the implications of his departure from Government?
THE BACKGROUND STORY
The “HOT, COOL & VICIOUS” is an analogy or even an allegory “indexing” the character of our government. It makes some stunning revelations about the nexus between our sacrosanct ministers of government, the media and the underground narco-trafficking network.
|The Hot: Wang Tao|
Many of us may have seen the Movie “The Hot, The Cool and The Vicious” starring Delon Tam (The Cool), Wang Tao (The Hot) and Tommy Lee (The Vicious). In the movie, “Mr Cool” and “The Hot” (Government Officers) set out on a mission to investigate an underground counterfeiting and drug trafficking network operated by the Mayor of the Town (Mr Wong).
When the Mayor found out that he was under investigation, he hired the vicious (a notorious bandit) to protect him and to go in pursuit of the investigators and to kill them both.
|TOMMY LEE: THE VICIOUS|The movie ends with the Cool and the Hot combining their superior Kung Fu skill to defeat the chief crook (the Vicious). They also effectively destroyed Mr Wong and his network.
As is the usual case with Kung Fu movies, ”The Hot, The Cool and the Vicious” is an action-packed thriller but it also has a nice, simple yet relevant moral. The narrative of the movie (which coincidentally was filmed in Taiwan) has many striking similarities to real life in the Caribbean, where allegations of corruption and criminality about government officials - who use their positions of power to cover for their illegal and criminal activities - abound.
|THE MAYOR: MR WONG|
LESSONS FROM JAMAICA'S CULTURAL REVOLUTION
In the Caribbean, Jamaica is believed to have distinguished itself as a violent society. In fact, it is referred to in the international press as “the murder capital of the world”.
There is a school of thought among native Jamaicans that the culture of violence has its genesis in an incipient “cultural revolution” in the ghettos, allegedly masterminded by former JLP Edward Seaga in the pursuit of his ambitions for political power. Two of the major bye products of that revolution are believed to be “garrison politics” and a dynasty of Dons (such as the Coke family).
Up to today, places like Tivoli Gardens, Arnett Gardens (Jungle), Mountain View, Water House, August Town and a host of downtown communities are regarded as “garrison constituencies” run by Dons who are not only intermediaries between the politicians and the electorate; but also major beneficiaries of shady “vote-catching” government contracts. While those phenomena have brought political and economic gains to politicians, they have at the same time also significantly contributed to the destruction of the moral fabric of the Jamaican society. They have encouraged a culture of dependence and mendicancy especially within the corporate area.
THE JAMAICAN MODEL APPLIED TO ST. LUCIA
In the context of what is happening in St. Lucia, an appropriate question worth asking is: Is the Jamaican political model being imported here? Are we developing or have we developed a Don culture facilitated by politicians like Richard Frederick Rufus Bousquet, Doddy Francis and Mr Chou? You will remember that the former President of Taiwan who appointed Mr Chou is now saving a life sentence for corruption!
Indeed, the proliferation of “political” contractors who are campaign managers, heads of constituency groups and the chairpersons and members of the towns and village councils appointed by Richard Frederick dominate the political landscape in St. Lucia. That was exactly how the Don culture in Jamaica started; and it was out of that culture of political patronage that the Coke dynasty emerged.
The mission of the “Dons” is clear: to ensure victory for his candidate by any means necessary. The role of Mr Chou (whose tenure is currently under review by Taiwanese government) and the involvement of politicians with questionable character (like Richard Frederick and Rufus Bousquet) are creating a new “Super-Don” in St. Lucia. I refer to the phenomenon as “Super Don” because of the involvement of legislators, foreign diplomats and elements of the local press (newspaper publishers, talkshow hosts and newsmen who act as a protective belt for the offending legislators and the diplomats).
THE INTERVENTION OF THE MEDIA
|WHAT IS RICK'S ROLE?|
That phenomenon explains why certain atrocious and politically inappropriate phenomena (such the criminality of Bousquet, the CIA/FBI allegations of narco-trafficking, customs fraud by ministers of government, Tuxedo affair and allegations of murder against at least two Ministers) are perennially pushed under the carpet of journalistic amnesia. To put is differently, some elements of the local press/media are obviously paid to do the dirty laundry of Ministers with criminal records and/or history.
|TIMOTHY POLEON: IS HE HOT, COOL OR VICIOUS?|
Of course, collusions between the media and criminal elements in any society (especially if those elements are entrenched in government) are extremely dangerous and even potentially treasonable and can substantially impact on the growth and quality of our democracy with serious implications for our national security. In a parliamentary democracy, a lot devolves on the press. A problematic press that trades professionalism for underhand silver mirrors a problematic democracy and in fact may even be a factor in the degeneration of that democracy.
MR CHOU AND THE MEDIA
The introduction of Mr Chou has confirmed some of our worst fears about the integrity of media. It is obvious that the press/media has thrown a protective belt around him. While we are not privy to the exact nature of the interface between them, we have enough anecdotal evidence to help us formulate rational conjectures that point in the direction of an existing unholy alliance between them.
It is in the context of those conjectures that we seek answers to the following questions: (1) Why haven’t the media taken issue with Mr Chou’s violations of the constitution and Finance Act? (2) Why is Mr Chou being defended by the most popular talk show hosts in St. Lucia? (3) Do the answers have to do with the protection of the government by the press/media? (4) Is it a special “red envelope” contract with Mr Chou? The media can always prove us wrong.
Mr Chou can do anything in St. Lucia in the name of diplomatic immunity. He can’t face the judiciary. But the Ministers can – at least in theory. Except for the former controller of Customs who arrested a minister for customs fraud, will the judiciary ever arraign a minister of government for violations of the law? In other words, will the public servants ever arrest and prosecute their bosses? And if they do what will be the outcome?
DELEGATION VS DEVOLUTION: THE HELPLESS PUBLIC SERVANT
Remember, the public servants (the police and their magistrates) take their policy directives from the Ministers; the Ministers provide policy leadership; the public servants follow their directives and instructions. Will a minister of Government therefore issue a directive to have him or his cabinet colleague arrested for breaking the Finance Act and the constitution? These may happen in advanced democracies like Britain, USA and Germany but do we expect it happen in St. Lucia, especially under the King Administration, except under “earth-shattering” public or external pressure as was the case of Walter Francois and Richard Frederick.
|RICHARD: THE MAYOR IN TOWN|
THE WOLVES IN SHEEP CLOTHING
What is happening in St. Lucia today has an embarrassingly “striking parallelism” to the events in the Movie “The Hot, the Cool and the Vicious”. In that movie – as is the exact case in St. Lucia - the very persons who were the threats to national security are the ones calling the shots. In the movie, the mayor of the town (Mr Wong) who was in the centre of a deadly counterfeiting ring was also the authority who gave instructions to the law-enforcement authorities.
THANK GOD FOR ROOSEVELT
How does a small helpless country like St. Lucia deal with that “fictional” dilemma currently engulfing us? Our options are limited, perhaps zero; and I am sure that our foreign minister understands that, it is in these prevailing circumstances that the watchful eyes of the eagle have come into play under the framework of the “Roosevelt Corollary” (RC). Under the RC, Uncle Sam has appointed himself as the hemispheric policeman; and every embassy in the Caribbean are playing the role of police outpost if not an outright hemispheric US police station.
|FRANKLYN ROOSEVELT - 32ND PRESIDENT|
While the Roosevelt Corollary (which is an outcome of the Monroe Doctrine) has its disadvantages, it also has many advantages. In Grenada, it ensured that the murderers of Maurice Bishop could not sit in as a legitimate government. In St. Lucia, it is ensuring that drug barons clothed in ministerial attire do not enjoy diplomatic immunity.
THE HOT, THE COOL & THE VICIOUS: THE REVELATIONS
To ensure that we are all on the same wavelength, let us conclude by unraveling together the mystery of “The Hot, Cool & Vicious” operating in St. Lucia. I claim the Commissioner is “Mr Cool” and the FBI/CIA is “The Hot”. Does Mr Cool have the courage and resources to break the back of Mr Wong’s Network? Obviously no. He needs the support of the “Hot”! who has far more “intelligence” and resources. In fact, “The Hot” has proactively delivered a crucial first blow to the network by revoking Mr Wong’s visas. There is a need for “Mr Cool” and “The Hot” to work together to investigate the legendary mayor of the town (Mr Wong) and neutralise his underground narco-trafficking network operating in St. Lucia. Mr Wong is (or was) a Minister of Government with responsibility for the entire Local Government Network. Sometime ago, he walked through Customs with over US$300,000 in cash without declaring it. He was not searched by Mr Cool; but he was searched in Puerto Rico by “the Hot” who was probably angry at Mr Cool’s ineptitude. The Vicious is an “element” in the Press/media led by a newspaper publisher and his sidekick TP.