It must be true, after all: repetition does kill the soul—if this election season is anything to go by. For the last five or six weeks over-hyped political rallies have dismayingly proved to be more of the same, as they say, hardly different from similar comminglings of the past 30 years. Still on conspicuous display are the all-too-familiar irrationally exuberant, not-so-holy holy rollers (forget their faces) in imported red or yellow tee shirts, deliriously waving yellow and red rags, conceivably indicative of their favorite in this latest no-pedigree horse race to that fabulous land of milk and honey called Korniobeah!
For the most part they appear beyond feeling pain, absolutely soused—in particular those nearest the makeshift stage with its bouncy beer bellies and jiggly jowls. Regardless of the platform decorations, the Grey-Goosed performers seem to be reading from the same script, save for the names they choose to associate with every conceivable corruption.
Much of what is televised live from the steps of the Castries market or from a playground in Micoud or from William Peter Boulevard, Babonneau or Jacmel amounts to smelly, stale potfish in smellier wrapping. When they initially served their obnoxious concoctions in the House the performers wore either made-in-Taiwan bespoke suits or mismatched pants and jackets picked up in better days at a Miami Target or at Macy’s (by which I mean during their own stint at the national trough!) As for the lingua franca fired from their open-air perches—raw verbal sewerage that frightens away all varieties of vectors—it differed but slightly from the House version that was specially scented for the Speaker’s comfort.
Meanwhile the concerned observer is left to wonder how many more election seasons a country devoid of natural resources, and growing poorer by the minute, can withstand before it throws caution to the wind in the name of starting over. Also, how many more straws before the one that breaks the camel’s back . . . how long before a malice-laced match lights up the city; how much longer before . . .
The observer can hardly believe the images proceeding from his oppressed brain. He tunes to a different mental channel, only to be confronted by more demonic questions: How can he pretend to be a responsible, law-abiding citizen while doing nothing to stop the wrong being done his beloved country by the very people who had sworn on the bible to do for citizens only what was good and fair and lawful? The whole world now counts our once idyllic island as a den of iniquity; among the worst violators of human rights, ruled by unconscionable politicians with bellies bloated with the churning gases of corruption and self-importance.
A telltale ping sound interrupts his thoughts. He glances at the Whatsapped headline on his nearby upturned cell phone: Update On St. Jude Hospital, by health minister Alvina Reynolds. He groans as he reads: “Our government is extremely pleased that St. Jude Hospital is finally nearing completion. There have been many challenges in completing this hospital and I must admit that this process has taken much longer than we had originally planned . . .”
“More insult to injury,” he reminds himself, as he reads what is less an apology to the people than a litany of sins allegedly committed by the opposition United Workers Party. The message ends with yet another election-time promise: “Saint Lucia will have the best health-care infrastructure in the Eastern Caribbean and quite possibly in the English speaking Caribbean.”
On the other side of hell, the SLP leader has nearly always been equated with all things Satanic. Still his yellow-attired critics evidently expected saintly behavior on his part at election time. Predictably they point yellow fingers at the red demon while relying on the demon’s law for justice. Seldom are the more serious issues (some festering for years, such as Grynberg!) tackled. When they are, count on it, the tacklers sound like five-year-olds discussing life on Mars.
For many IMPACS and the broken justice system that allows even known “serial rapists in our midst” a free pass are “not bread and butter issues,” therefore undeserving of their attention. More proof that politicians are different from regular humans!
In the meantime the daunting reality is that while politicians in their own selfish interests pass the buck, ordinary people are dying for lack of appropriate medical attention—whether because of poor facilities or poverty!
Then there is from the same communications source the prime minister’s own latest promise: “I pledge to construct a road from Gros Islet to Dennery. Today I wish to remind you of my third pledge. We will make adjustments to reduce the tax burden by increasing the personal income tax allowance. I will continue to work with you, for you and for Saint Lucia.”
Elections are due in a few days but not a word, not a word, not a word about the biggest elephant in the room: IMPACS with its countless possible consequences. Since 2012 the prime minister’s stubborn refusal to deal with it has cost the country close to US$2 million a year; police morale is in the toilet; it is generally accepted our nation’s justice system remains busted, even as we creep closer and closer to living like jungle animals. Rape is commonplace, occurring within yards of our holiest places. More often that not crime goes unreported, while victims consider taking the law into their own hands. Our belief in magic and boloms and such stupidities is growing by leaps and bounds—to the extent our politicians speak more about voodoo than officially acknowledged “one or two serial rapists in our midst.”
As we go to press the unconfirmed word (after all, who will confirm anything at this time?) is that the Americans revoked or are about to revoke at least two very important visas. If true, might this be another reason (other than the obeah factor) for the snap election? Perhaps the worst part is that regardless of the result on June 6 only politicians will have reason to celebrate. Now here is one election-time promise you can take to the bank.
Oh, oh, another one just dropped in my lap: the inquest touching on the fatal shootings of “The Vieux Fort Five,” stuck in limbo for over three years, has abruptly acquired new energy. Word is the magistrate is determined to have his submission ready by tomorrow—even as principals in the matter are appealing to a judge to stay the Vieux Fort proceedings. There’s much riding on this particular inquest that is bound to deliver more questions than answers. People, you’ve been warned!
See what I mean about the election result that already is creating its special controversies long before the votes have been counted?