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Sunday, January 31, 2016


The rebuttals to the PM address were disappointingly weak with the same old tired clichéd responses hardly worth the TV time they were offered. This time around, the Leader of the UWP took a new line of rebuttal trying to refute what he claimed was never uttered in the PM's Address to the Nation.

The LPM continued to remain a non-entity in St. Lucia’s political universe, falling short both in terms of numbers and substance in its "pseudo-rebuttal". It's not the sort of rebuttal you would wish your O'level, A'level or college student be exposed to if s/he desires to learn the practice of argument theory. Mr Prudent continues to make the loudest noise even when his party is numerically weak by some distance.

I have hitherto not heard from the peripatetic and vociferous Mr Springer; I suspect he may have taken “sabbatica” from his own intellectual crudities.

With Lent round the corner, the PM in his address to the nation, served us with a substantial “Last Supper”; what perhaps made it even better was the apparent lack of a genuine “Judas” to spoil it.

I am certain that when the "Pontius Pilates" ask, “who should we set free from the cross?” that we will hear a chorus of "Barabbas" from the UWP and the LPM! Equally, on the hand, we will hear a chorus of "Kenny" from the SLP faithful! 

Apparently, the rank and file of the UWP may not have been happy that Prudent was louder than Chasse this time; so, they sent Lionel Ellis to the shouting game. In the end, the game didn't change anything: the algebraic sum of all the rebuttals was still zero!

Hence, we waited for the professionals like Frank Mayers, Richard Peterkin and Jn Marie for an injection of substance; but they passed - and understandably so.

I   missed Jeff Stewart - my Choiseulian counterpart. I don’t know if a New Year’s Address would fall within the purview of his competence; but in the past, he stood out for his structured and clinical dissections of estimates of expenditure and budget addresses.

So the question is: why is the land with the highest density of Nobel laureates per square foot apparently losing its way when it comes structural intellectual analysis. Might the “Economist” IQ rankings be right when it placed us the second from the last in the world? No, it can’t be!

We’ve just become an unknown species of homo sapiens who give more honour to our “new-found genii” like Mr Prudent, Hon Guy Joseph, Lionel Ellis and Allen Chastanet among others, who seemed to have become the intellectual axis on which our world turns.

How does the PM’s address stand up to my expectations? I’m prepared to upgrade my score to an A grade primarily because of the "value-added components": his posture and mood; his excellent and proactive analysis of the economy; his frankness and honesty; but in my opinion, what stood out most was the general “falsifiability” yet (hitherto) “irrefutability” of the address. The sum total of all those principal components apparently must have caught detractors off guard to the point that they have not been able to penetrate holes in it!

There are a number of similarities between Kenny and Obama but I do not know if those are sufficient to merit a comparison. For example, they both were community organisers and law professors; they both are of Caucasian/Negro descent; they both are strategic thinkers and also formidable/destructive platform speakers; and they both have been accused by their detractors of embracing socialism.

Let us therefore juxtapose selected elements of Obama's “State of the Union” address to Kenny’s Address to the Nation without necessarily losing sight of their context, orientation and substance.

Firstly, I’m prepared to state that Kenny’s Address was more logically-driven - Obama seemed to be playing more to the gallery than Kenny! Secondly, Kenny’s outputs were more specific. Obama focused more on long-term processes than he did the outputs for the period under review. Hence, Kenny’s performance was perceived to be more measurable. Thirdly, much of Obama’s speech was not only refutable but was refuted the very night it was delivered.

 On those three counts, I am prepared to rate Kenny’s Address to the Nation higher than Obama’s State of the Union address both in terms of format, (significance?) and content.

However, despite a drastic change in Kenny’s demeanour and an apparent attempt to sound more inspirational this year, there’s still a lot to be done to motivate and inspire the nation. He is apparently still wearing the professorial veneer from academia which just won’t go away when he makes his presentations.

He could do with a with some notes from Obama (regarding being less professorial) just as Obama might do with a few from him (in terms of sharpening his focus). They are two great 21st Century leaders in their own right, seeking to change their respective political universes).

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