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Saturday, October 22, 2011


With the advent of elections, the “philosophical” dichotomy between the UWP and SLP has become even more pronounced. On one hand, the UWP is recklessly sporting loads of money (at least a million per candidate) and a fluffy PR campaign as its strategy to win the next elections. On the other hand, the SLP has adopted a "sublime" approach, focusing on substantive policy issues related to the economy, health care, education and national security, presenting near immaculate policy leadership in those areas.

While the UWP is recklessly spending loads of "questionable" and bribe money in its campaign (as if to suggest that it is all as a party that it has to offer the electorate), the SLP is conducting a responsible and organized campaign laced with excellence and vision. Even in opposition, the SLP behaves more like the de facto governing party, proffering specific policies and problem-solving models as  strategies to remove us from the deep social and economic quagmire we now find ourselves in.

The UWP recklessness has no limits, whether within or outside government. We would expect to see massive sustainable projects as outcomes for the billion dollars borrowed over the last 4 ¾ years. We would also expect to see value for the $120 million which Chastenet claimed the party received from the Taiwanese for constituency projects; but we see nothing but transient “ti-canals” projects.

But that’s not the whole story: Chastenet has spent a record $250 million dollars on tourism and the outcome is perhaps St. Lucia’s most precipitous decline in the industry, which is now on ‘life water”. Almost everything that Chastenet touched (including James Hepple, Boxing in Paradise, Caribbean Market Place, FCCA conference, American Eagle and now Red Jet and Blue Jet), failed and landed St. Lucia in more debt.

In spite of St. Lucia’s never-ending economic misfortunes, King claimed that the economy grew by 4 percent in 2010 (the year we were devastated by Hurricane Tomas) and that it is projected to grow by an additional 2.2 percent in 2011. If the economy did grow, then what is the combined impact of the growth of the economy and Taiwan ti canal projects on the country? Apparently, the impact is overwhelmingly negative.

Despite the massive borrowing, the post-Tomas discovery is at a virtual standstill. The major disasters in the Bar de L’isle, Bexon, Columbette, Fond St. Jacques, Venus, Tete Chemin etc remain untouched. The national unemployment figures have climbed from 13% to 24%, with youth unemployment at a staggering 40%. The rise in youth unemployment statistics is frightening, and by the end of this academic year, when many hundreds more young people will graduate and be looking for work, it may well climb to 45%.

The UWP’s answer to the widespread youth unemployment nightmare is a “HOT FM” type stage-show at Saman’s Park on Sunday. Although I heard the AG extolling on the inspirational virtues of the Taurus Riley & Co stage-show, I did not hear him outlining the specific objectives of the show and how they will translate into employment and socio-economic advancement. I fail to see how a stage-show can become a platform for the social and economic advancement of the youth.

A political stage-show targetting the youth is nothing more except a “chicken-and-rum” and “Pork-Barrel” strategy designed to bend their impressionable minds and this strategy is deeply regrettable for two reasons: firstly, it is a form of blatant disrespect for the intelligence of the young people rooted in the belief that their vote can be ambushed by “feel-good” bribery. It is noteworthy that the UWP is re-inventing and re-packaging that strategy when Jamaica (which is credited for patenting it in the Caribbean) is contemplating dismantling it.  

Secondly, this type of campaign speaks loudly to the caliber and baseness of our under-achieving, under-performing politicians who brandish the "politics of bribery and bluff" to brainwash our youth.

I call on the youth of the nation to reject UWP’s attempt to bribe them for votes, using proceeds from the Consolidated Fund. If they did not put Mr Chou money into the Fund for the benefit of the country, then why do they want to defraud it by using its proceeds to pay for stage-shows for political gain? 

I call on the youth of the nation to open their eyes and stand up against corruption and base politics. I call on the youth to demand not just meaningful and sustainable employment, but more dignified treatment from disrespectful politicians.

By the way, news circulating in CyberSpace suggest that Tarrus is a woman beater and he is also homophobic.  It is alleged that he beat up his "queen" Etana because she is bisexual. Etana is thought to be a real virago!

Meanwhile, Tarrus Father (Jimmy Riley) was arrested, fingerprinted and bailed for beating his wife.

I hope the UWP are not bringing down the wrong role models (like Richard Frederick and Rufus Bousquet) for our youth to emulate.

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