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Sunday, October 9, 2011


The Prime Minister will soon dissolve the House and call elections. Indications are he will do so during the course of this month and elections may be early November – perhaps November 3 or 10.

PM summoned to Washington?
Meanwhile, something strange is about to take place. I heard it via the UWP grapevine but I must admit that I can’t confirm it. The US government has summoned our Prime Minister to an urgent meeting in Washington DC. I don’t know the purpose or agenda for that alleged meeting. I can only assume that it is related to Richard Frederick Visa revocation. It may be for the better or it may be for the worse. Let keep our fingers crossed.

I have every reason to believe that - judging by the proliferation of corruption and untruths perpetuated by King and his Cabinet - the US may be contemplating some drastic action against us. 

A new arm of government
The news coming out of St. Lucia is not good – despite attempts in some quarters to camouflage it in favour of the UWP government. In fact, I daresay all the major media houses (including talkshow hosts) are generally pro-government. Many appear to be active participants in government’s feast of corruption. More and more, it’s beginning to look like the media are now an arm of government and are avoiding condemning it for its rampant corruption.

Robert McLeish wrote: “Every time a journalist takes an extreme view, misrepresents or lies, every time a member of the public dis-believes, we as a society lose something of genuine value”. And this seems to be the case with St. Lucia. Outside journalists like Ricky Singh and Ron Saunders seem to be more on the ball on St. Lucian affairs that than our local mainstream media.

The Hen laying the golden eggs
If it is true that King has been invited to that Washington meeting, one of the issues I want the US to put on the table is campaign financing. Nothing has happened in this country for the past 4 years, 9 months; but all of a sudden, St. Lucia has found the goose that lays the golden eggs and we are the land of plenty. No more global crisis! All of a sudden, government is boasting about a galore of work without any major economic activity on the horizon that is associated with generation of work. (We don’t see or hear about any major development projects – even the HIA and the Daher Building rehabilitation projects that have the potential to stimulate economic activity - seem to have gone underground.); yet a magic hen has laid the golden eggs and there is a flood of work in all constituencies and unemployed and employable persons are beneficiaries of contracts ranging from $1,500 – $10,000.

Our local media seem to have taken a vow of silence on the “sources and application of those funds”.

More equal than others
There are many issues regarding the sustainability, accountability and transparency of those projects that need clarification. Are these projects informed by economic policy? What is the measurable long-term economic impact of the projects on the economy? Are the sources of funds for those projects legal that is, do they have the blessing of parliament? Will we be able to rationalize and quantify the economic impact of those projects?

Sometime ago, government said it had allocated amounts of $100,000 and $250,000 to constituencies under the constituency development fund. By doing so, government equated St. Lucia to an Animal Farm by suggesting that some constituencies and by extension some people are more equal than others.  We have since found out that the opposition candidates got nothing. Not only was that action discriminatory, it was atrocious.

Secondly, Government legislated what they called an economic stimulus package of 2.1 million dollars and the application of those funds still leaves a lot to be desired.

Paramountcy of UWP candidates
The village councils (or what we have come to regard as the UWP constituency groups) each get one million dollars from Mr Chou. An interesting case is Vieux Fort North, where the UWP candidate is the chairman of the Vieux Fort North rural council and has been vested with the responsibility for the implementation of that money.

Soufriere, Laborie and Micoud North are also interesting cases. In the case of Soufriere, half of the million dollars from Mr Chou went to the Soufriere Development Foundation and the other half went to the Soufriere Town Council. The Foundation, which is a “frontline advocacy group” for Mr Chastenet, overtly “professes” that the ½ million dollars received from Mr Chou is exclusively for the pursuit of Mr Chastenet’s Campaign.

In Laborie, Mr Rene is employing scores of people around the constituency in beautification and tree-cutting exercises, paying workers as much as $250 a day.  The Micoud North candidate is “over-achieving”, while the district rep and the opposition candidate are under-achieving.

The question is: Why should the UWP candidates for Soufriere, Laborie and VFort North have loci standing in the constituencies they seek to represent and why are the incumbents are unfairly marginalized?

Taiwan is unequivocally in the centre of it all; and is doing a great disservice to St. Lucia. We understand that Taiwan is not a member of the UN; but we need the support of the international community, we need the support of the US, Europe and China perhaps by way of a UN Security Council initiative to regulate those Taiwan-enabled malpractices that passes for democracy. Those malpractices which undermine the practice of free and elections can be construed as crimes against humanity; and by “free and fair elections” I’m not referring to “balloting” on polling day; the practice of free and fair elections go way beyond polling day. It begins with corrupt constituency projects of the types associated with Mr Chou that are clearly designed to bend the minds of the electors in a certain direction.

New terms of reference for monitors
The terms of reference for the observers should also include the monitoring of the corrupt campaign practices designed to promote mind-mending of electors. It is naïve to ignore the complete electoral/democratic process that produce the results and focus on the “voting only” that produces the results purportedly in the name of democracy in St. Lucia.

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