Bureaucracy, secrecy, and arrogance

Saint Lucians are constantly being fed with a daily dose of hype and propaganda. In recent days, people have been left wondering if this is the trend the formation of the National Broadcasting Network, (NBN) is trying to cement, along with the one party state that the Saint Lucia Labour party administration seems to favour.

Meanwhile, days ago actor Matt Damon and his wife Luciana Barroso, renewed wedding vows and celebrated with a renowned guest list of celebrities  at the exclusive 78 room, five-star, Sugar Beach Resort in Soufriere, Saint Lucia, inclusive of 24 hour private access to the beach and its surroundings for four days. How cool is that, when you can afford it!

These two events are matters at the heart of press freedom, information dissemination and freedom of movement, the use of the queen’s chain (Saint Lucian’s patrimony) security and privacy, and the marketing of Saint Lucia as a pristine destination and a World heritage site. Including the many blunders committed, by the trusted government agencies too numerous to mention. The interesting point here is how all of these state
run institutions left out the very people they depend on every election time and the fact that these people livelihoods depend on tourism and access to  Saint Lucia’s patrimony.

St Lucians woke up only to be greeted by armed special service personal on land and sea. They would later discover that access had been denied to the beach, no entry rules attached to land and surrounding waterways.

Some have suggested that it was what the ‘smart’ people in government thought necessary — to keep people in the dark, wondering what was happening in Saint Lucia and since when.

Everyone wanted to know whether it was a case where it was felt that people did not need to be informed as to what was happening, even though the restrictions spanned public areas. Are Soufriere and Saint Lucia governed by elites with a culture of secrecy who wish to return the people to a life of dependency and autocratic rule? Or is this just plain arrogance by the great doctor(s) that some are suggesting are now proving to be the enemy of workers, trade unions and by extension the people of Saint Lucia?

These trusted government agencies have by virtue of their own actions shown their disgrace and disrespect to the people of Saint Lucia to matters that affect their livelihoods. They have embarrassed the essence of the tourism product that millions of dollars is spent annually to promote — the people and their culture!

The immense silence by government agencies to afford the simple courtesy of notification — or is it a matter of security and privacy? Again this may speak to the subject matter of inclusion by the people, as the most valuable asset of the tourism product, to feel part and parcel of the tourism industry. Or was it a big time failure and a waste of marketing resources and money to keep locals at a reasonable distance?

The use of armed special service personal of the state to keep citizens out, as well as visitors from the beach, the queen’s chain, and waterways within a World heritage site was unacceptable and disturbing. It is sad that visitors and the people of Saint Lucia had to succumb to this type of treatment where a better means of dealing with the situation could have been sought.

What this shows is that the agencies lack innovative thinking and creativity and have missed an ideal opportunity to showcase Saint Lucia in a manner not seen anywhere with the presence of actor Matt Damon and his wife  Luciana Barroso, George Clooney, Brad Pitt and his fiancée Angelina Jolie, film director Ben Affleck, Michael Douglas and his Oscar-winning wife Catherine Zeta-Jones and others by their very persona in the heart of the three ‘Wonders of the World’ — the twin pitons, a drive-in volcano and Soufriere, a historic town with a rich and unique history and body of people ready to display their talent and ambiance to the World.

What a missed opportunity of a lifetime!

“Hey, so what, nothing new,” someone replied. Surely the events of recent times in Saint Lucia demonstrate an impending disaster with the making of a totalitarian style of governance and a bureaucracy of sloppy demeanor.

The tongue-tied nature of government MP’s and the secrecy to bypass the people’s business is a crisis waiting to happen.

And it is about time that people in positions of leadership and influence in Saint Lucia stand up and decry the injustice that is destroying the confidence of the people, by not looking after the interest of Saint Lucians.

At a time when people are looking for answers and working hard towards a better life for themselves and their family, they should not be faced with non responsive MP’s, government bureaucracy and arrogance.

The feeling is that probably a sudden revolt in needed to wake up the sleepy and sloppy agencies in this country, to request responsibility, accountability, respect and accurate disclosure of information, in order to bring the situation under control. To deliver the message that hiding, withholding information and selective privacy is a breach of public trust and a lapse in judgment that this administration continuously demonstrates.

These latest episodes are no doubt a public display of the lack of concern by the government to the people of Saint Lucia.

Ultimately, the MP for Soufriere, SLTB, the Ministry of Tourism, Heritage and
Creative Industries and SRDF, must be held to account for the lapse of judgment, a lack of trust in the people of Saint Lucia, and the missed opportunity to make the
most of Saint Lucia’s marketing ability.

Opportunities lost may never be regained, that is one thing that should never be forgotten. We deserve answers!

 —Lucian Peoples Movement (LPM)

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