A Review or a Revue?

So where do we stand now with the allegedly indicting Private & Confidential review of Financial Operations of Town, Village and Rural Councils recently released to privileged Facebook friends, BBM and Whatsapp contacts of the government’s press secretary, and to her ubiquitous other links, not to mention the countless red-eyed faithful throughout the galaxy via the World Wide Web?

What to make of the witty lord of the Soufriere manor whose favorite line from Alice in Wonderland is “off with her head?” Certainly he had let it be widely known, long before November 2011, that he didn’t much like Tom Chou’s head—to the unbelievable extent he had all by himself actually declared the famously generous Taiwanese ambassador persona non grata in his neck of the woods, and the hell with disagreeable too-needy-to-care-about-fishmonger politics. The MPs hidden message seemed to say it didn’t matter to him whether the hard-pressed were forced to suck up all the water at Sulphur Springs.

When it comes to issuing statements better delivered by lawyers of the ilk of our most famous silky Dominican SC, our social transformation minister is just about the last wannabe anyone would expect to see at the sensitive end of a microphone. But then I suppose some of us are most adept at coming across like audio recorders; you press the right knob and out comes the master’s voice pouring out of every orifice.

Which seemed to be the case when, shortly after our most riveting budget debate this century, the cocky social transformation minister convened his very own press gathering, his sole purpose evidently being to further indict his enemies from the previous administration, identified in the earlier cited Private & Confidential document,
one in particular who had dared to challenge his authority, even going as far as to resurrect, if only for a moment, the town’s long dead copra factory!

Alas, in the end the well-attended meeting proved to be yet another political soufflé, all pie-in-the-sky with no heart. When one of the more adventurous of our limp-wristed seekers of truth dared to ask what might be the government’s follow-up plan, now that the Private & Confidential review was no longer Private & Confidential, the minister put on his best Pilate face before responding.

Seemingly oozing what I imagined was some kind of icky huile de soufre, his hands at waist level and palms upturned, the minister muttered: “Well, as you know, the government has done all it can. It is now up to the police and the DPP to take over from here.”

You could have heard a feather drop. After all, everyone in the room had to have known the minister’s hand-washing declaration was merely Soufrierean gobbledygook for “boy, we done widdat!” Which, if true, would be a pity, for indeed the whole nation, at any rate, that part of the nation whose favorite fantasy is to live long enough to see an MP and his co-conspirators accounting before a judge for their stewardship.

Indeed, my own particular dream centers on officials forced to answer charges going back years, that doubtlessly have had more than a little to do with our present sorry economic state.

So many times the nation had been told the “oppressive, anti-poor, anti-work” VAT law had to be imposed on citizens at the worst of times, on the basis it had been rendered “inevitable” by our sister OECS states who, themselves, had long ago adopted the regime.

That VAT had never delivered as promised by its endorsers had never mattered one iota. Oh, but what a service to the region if a bunch of Looshan ministers and their satellites should find themselves before a judge and jury in the best interests of we the people. Now here’s something we could brag about for at least another 200 years: something that certainly would easily translate into better days.

But no! We have been told the future of this ostensibly “damning” review has been put into hands especially notorious for their idleness, hands that depend on one another, regardless. As if to make matters worse, the noise surrounding the release on the Internet of the Private & Confidential document has gone as quiet as the declared dead Grynberg issue, now waiting to be resurrected and judged by the ICSID.

Should Saint Lucia be discovered in a state less than pure, there will be hell to pay: to start, some US$500 million in damages, exclusive of cost.

Apropos of the councils matter, the prime minister has oh-so-mutedly been suggesting (reminiscent of Section 361) that in the circumstances it might not be possible to mount a useful prosecution against those mentioned in the review, including, of all people, the much lauded former MP and daughter of the deceased Sir John, whose accounting the SLP had claimed was most satisfactory and worthy of emulation by her UWP colleagues.

Which may be why King and his once merry men may be ignoring the review and concentrating instead on matters more immediately important. For example, rehousing Allen Chastanet.

Let me repeat: I couldn’t be more disappointed that yet another opportunity to strike a blow for the people may have been wasted by recurring incompetence, hatchet jobbing and an insatiable need for vengeance. How much longer must the people wait for better days in the affairs of state, in particular better days for transparency and accountability?

By the way: I’ve been looking up the definition of “review.” I should quickly inform you, dear reader, that even the government’s Interpretation Act advises that words should first be understood in their ordinary meaning, before they are given special nuances.

My quite ordinary dictionaries define “review” quite clearly.  For instance, it can mean: To look over, study or examine again. Also: to examine with an eye for criticism or correction—as with doing a review of research findings. Or it can mean reexamination of an action or determination. It can also mean “a critical report of a play, magazine articles, books and so on.”

Then there is “review” in the judicial context: “A reexamination of a decision, especially by a higher court, of an action or determination.”

There is the homophonic “revue,” which is defined as “a musical show comprising often satirical skits, songs and dances.” The folks who write reviews, either of action plans or stage revues, are called “reviewers.” Not detectives. So do you suppose the government meant to refer to the councils “review” as a “revue” consisting of satirical skits, songs and dances?” Could somebody have misspelt the word “revue,” meaning a satirical skit?

Then again, you never know with politicians. For some, the word “is” carries special meaning, as does “as soon as convenient!”

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