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Monday, December 17, 2012


A POWERHOUSE feature short Christmas story about the upcoming Christmas Season in Choiseul/Saltibus from a political angle! The initial setting is Milan's Bar in the Village where Santa and Tucker meet and discuss a few sensitive and controversial issues, some relating to the last elections. But guess who is Santa? Controversial but enjoyable and different from the conventional short story! It highlights many of the hidden issues facing the constituency. You may or may not like it. Rated EP (extremely political) and may hurt tender sensibilities. Readers discretion is therefore advised!

Santa met me in Milan’s Bar (Choiseul Village) and he wanted to know how I felt about Christmas in Choiseul/Saltibus and - in the context of the high cost of living and the VAT - whether or not it would worth celebrating the festivity in 2012. In defense, I replied that Choiseul is the Christmas Capital of St. Lucia; and Choiseulians - being the traditional Christians we are - believe that we have a natural obligation to celebrate the birth of the Holy Child, and irrespective of the tough times or come what may, we will celebrate it at all costs.

Santa thought it was both strange and troubling at the shape his festivity was taking this year!

He told me he was extremely happy about the shape of Xmas in the South from Soufriere to Vieux Fort, except Choiseul! "Why should the Christmas Capital of St. Lucia be placed in that dilemma?" Santa asked.

At that point in the conversation, Tucker strolled in; Santa could not hide his bewilderment at the image he saw. He turned to Tucker and asked, “What's wrong, young man? What caused you to lose so much body mass in such quick time?” Tucker barely gave a wry smile and answered that he was fine and almost as an afterthought, he added: "It’s the rigid exercise regime prescribed by my doctor".

Santa then proceeded to engage him in a political discussion.

"I'm aware that the UWP has totally ruled you out as a potential candidate for the next elections", Santa remarked.

"Yes and No" Tucker replied.

"What are the reasons", Santa pressed.

"Well . . . The usual; nothing substantial", Tucker fleetingly answered.

"Well, I have learnt it is for a number of good reasons", Santa counteracted in an uncharacteristic boldfaced way and he persisted, "I understand health and credibility are at the centre".

Tucker winced slightly - almost imperceptibly - showing a measure of discomfort but in his usual slippery way, he tried to brush Santa's comments  aside: "I've been in this constituency for almost 25 years and I've served it for 2 parliamentary terms. I'm now beginning to feel like it may be a good time now to consider taking a bow from this political thing so that I can look after my health and be with my family".

But Santa would not be distracted: "Why then did you want to contest the results of the last elections when it was clear that you had lost?" Santa asked.

Tucker would not be outdone by Santa. He suddenly seemed to have found his footing and assumed an equally aggressive stance; with his head cocked up, he hit back: "Now let’s get this matter straight! I never considered contesting the results of the last elections!" Then he paused momentarily as if to catch his breath, and then asserted, "That was not my idea; that was the brainchild of the disciples who harboured their dirty sour grapes. Doddy was outright stupid to have taken his cue from those less than smart guys who . . ."

Santa swiftly interjected: "So it wasn't true that you sealed a deal with the Boss in exchange for guarantees of immunity"!

Tucker responded with a sheepish, lack lustre giggle: "I have the right to remain silent on this one"!

"One final question, Mr Tucker" echoed Santa, "Are you behind this new self-styled group of pseudo-intellectuals in my constituency who call themselves the CSL?"

Tucker feigning ignorance, replied, "What are you talking about? Do you mean the SCL" and on that note he departed.

After Tucker left, we promptly began to assess his comments. I asked Santa whether he believed anything Tucker said. He answered “Hell no! Who would? Didn’t you notice that the guy is more than eager to run again? Tucker has built a formidable empire within the constituency and he can have his way on any given day but having said this", Santa added, "It seems the empire is now crumbling around him because for the second election in a row, he has not paid his election workers. Even Jimmy is pissed off and published an open letter to him on Pippin's blog!"

"What's Pippin's blog?" I asked.

"Choiseul-on-the-Move . . . that's the Blog run by the UWP PRO for Choiseul", Santa proffered. 

"Santa, who or what is the CSL?", I asked curiously, "Is it the same as SCL?"

Santa informed me that CSL stood for "Choiseul/Saltibus Lobby", a motley group of native constituents who have bandied themselves together to promote the Choiseul/Saltibus Agenda. 

Following our conversation, Santa drove with me to the Centre for Excellence (Reunion) where we enjoyed a game of Table Tennis, during which we discussed a range of issues. We broached my earlier article about Sir Dwight’s interest in the Choiseul/Saltibus Seat; Santa brushed that aside as a diversion, a faked attempt to deceive. He admonished me about fake rumours and “fakes” generally putting themselves for elections in Choiseul/Saltibus.

When I asked him who was the likeliest candidate for the UWP in 2016, he replied that the field was wide open and there was no clear choice; but that if Tucker survives his illness, he may well be! 

Then I asked Santa: "What about you? Are you interested in a second term?" He replied it depended on the success of his Xmas programme. He added, “As long as 'me father' is alive, anything is possible”!

After the TT game, Santa took me to the St. Jude’s Hospital to visit Mr Mazoon from Montete. On his hospital bed, Mr Mazoon told us that he has lost interest in politics and told Santa that he would never vote for him again because “look how Christmas coming and Santa didn’t give him no road”. He affirmed that he almost died before he got to the Hospital because of the road condition. Santa gave him the characteristic “fake” smile and then “the crocodile tears” came pouring down. Then, Santa disappeared!

About two months later a “blue-vexed” Santa emerged again, this time at the Saltibus/Gertrine junction where he accosted me with a “death warning”. He asked rather furiously: “Why are you and your bunch of hypocrites spreading rumours and lies about Gertrine and Saltibus? Why are you all ‘neg mawons’ insulting the intelligence of my Gertrine/Saltibus people, propagating lies that they have written a petition to remove me as the legitimate candidate for the party? Do you all want to kill Christmas and destroy me? You all call yourselves CSL and behaving like SCL!"

In an explosive bout of temper tantrum, Santa shouted at the top of his voice that he didn’t “give a damn” what people say about his victimization of the girls from Saltibus and Gertrine. He affirmed that he was the absolute boss and warned me and my propaganda goons to keep out his constituency business; he said I should have known better about these so called Kenny’s cousins who have sought to destroy him all along!; and he can win without them anyway.

With tears in my eyes, I paid a visit to the Kenny’s cousins in Saltibus. Only upon arrival to find out I had jumped from the frying pan to the fire!

Kenny's cousins promptly chased me out of their yard shouting: “Mister, I have nothing to do with you and your Santa Claus representative! Both of you bluffed Saltibus big time, promising us milk and honey; but all we got were kicks and tricks. Look with VAT on our backs, we can’t even buy a Fanta for Christmas and you come taking about a fake Santa! Go away, man! Get out of my yard before I do something ignorant with you!

“Both you and Santa are Fake! Fake! Fake! And Santa is the worst district rep in the history of Choiseul/Saltibus,” they blasted at me.

In the circumstances, I had no choice but to bow out shamefully and take my exit.

As I walked away, I wished for a moment that the earth would open up and devour me for good; but upon deeper introspection, it started to dawn on me that I wasn't the problem. Why should I therefore be crucified for Santa's sins?  Am I Judas or Jesus?  But I said to myself that this was the nature of small island politics, especially for persons like me who know better and who work and live at home. You become Mr Scapegoat or Mr Target.

As I walked down that lonely road back home, lots of negative thoughts conjured up in my mind. "Why should I of all persons have got myself immersed in that political mess?" I asked. "Why have I all of a sudden become a political 'Mother of Sorrow' for Santa Claus?" 

"The party and government have rejected me; and they won't even pay me for services rendered to them during the election; they wouldn't even enroll me into the job-for-the-boys programme, and look now Santa is on my back! I must be some kind of whipping boy!" I thought.

My mind became overwhelmed with a multitude of thought processes and for a while I thought I was losing it. I pondered on my campaign friends in Laborie getting big ambassadorial positions in the UN and Canada and asked, "Why didn't I educate myself more?"

Mixed feelings of guilt and anguish were too heavy for me to carry. They were crushing me! Things got even worse for me when Pippin’s blog carried an article captioned, “Brutus Stabbed Santa Again”, suggesting I was one of the conspirators who murdered or were about to murder Santa and Christmas. 

The article hinted that even Santa’s inner circle was on the list of co-conspirators. Pippin’s suggested that even Santa's "inner circle" had become so downright disenchanted with Santa, that the members had convened a special secret meeting to discuss an alternate candidate. He claimed that we all have stabbed Santa in the back!

Meanwhile, good news about Santa’s erstwhile and now disbanded Chairman, Campaign manager and deputy were circulating like wild fire in Choiseul. The news disclosed that Santa had generously compensated the trio for the work done during the campaign. The figures bandied about were “one million” for the campaign manager for his research and consultancy services and ½ million and a poodle for the deputy for his contribution! Santa did not disclose the exact payout to his Madam Chairman, who incidentally was also his driver and office administrator. All he disclosed was that a huge sum by way of an out of court settlement was paid to her for character damages.

Side by side with those disclosures came the news that Santa’s new inner circle which is headed by the constituency contractor-general was making a killing, receiving as much as 7% administrator's fee from the constituency development programme as payment for the administering the contracts awarded!

Despite our seeming differences, Santa and I had many shared challenges; but unlike me he had the wherewithal to make a turn around; after all, Santa is rich and he remained confident that Choiseul/Saltibus will have the best Xmas ever. I didn't have the "luxury" to  make that pronouncement. I have not received my million yet.

Santa has predicted that the J'ouvert Parties at Sugar Plum and Lambert’s Disco will be bigger and so will be the Christmas day “La Séwénal” in Mongouge and Morne Sion. He even promised that to make up for the shortfall in sorrel as a result of Hurricane Thomas in 2010; a shipment from Taiwan will land on the new Choiseul jetty behind the Choiseul Fisheries in time for Christmas. We should also expect plenty of meat from mainland China. The containers are already on the wharf. The barrels are already arriving from the USA. The remittances from the UK are in the mail. Nuff "Gwad Blanche" will arrive from Martinique.

The Constituency Development Programme will complete the success story for Santa by adding hundreds of thousands of dollars to the constituency bakery run by the new contractor-general.

NICE has guaranteed jobs to dozens of young women in Choiseul/Saltibus. STEP and the caretakers programme will give a big boost.

Santa projected that in the next two weeks, there will be a "Christmas revolution" in the constituency and everyone will be singing Pelay's "c'est tradicion noel". All Saltibus defectors will be brought back on board. So will Sonia, Vernon and Bolo too. In the interest of the goodwill for the season, even "Jimmy" and "Reds" will be rewarded with special Tucker-type contracts, especially Jimmy for his bold article on Tucker. 

Christmas 2012 in Choiseul will be like Boxing in Paradise in Gros Islet – a world class event and potentially a platform for promoting Christmas tourism in the constituency.

Santa has faxed a copy of his Christmas Message to the Powerhouse and it is indeed very impressive – much more impressive than last year. He told me that he has finally learned his lesson about these messages.

He confessed, "I used to take these messages for granted and made a fool of myself but no more will I allow Mose, Alva and Musa to put me in the shade. This time around, I took time to write my own message." 

In his new format, he has taken time to reassure all constituents that he is on his way down from the “City of Bethlehem” with a galore of gifts including those that were not delivered last year to the children in Derriere Morne and Park Estate!

So, ladies and gentlemen, let’s open our hearts and doors to Santa and let him in! Let's give him another chance. It may well be his third last Christmas, as the "Ayatollah" has hinted he may not be in for a second term!

Our understanding is the CSL is already on the road, mobilising hard for a better Christmas in 2016.

Thank you Santa for a job well done and may God bless you in proportion to your quality of service to your subjects.

Merry Christmas!

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