It is hardly remarkable these days to hear the so-called leaders of our society casually tossing at one another during parliamentary exchanges such expletives and threats as would shock the most foul-mouthed of drunken sailors—whether the Speaker is a fellow honorable gentleman or a perceived shrinking violet.
As far back as 1982
. . . actually, it would be more precise to say as far back as the late 70s . . . impressionable young Saint Lucians on whom the nation’s future depended, were graduating cum laude from our schools for scoundrels, tutored by mindless politicians hell-bent on getting into office by any means.
In exchange for their demonstrated unspeakable hooliganism, their willingness to create chaos on demand (at political rallies, especially) and to instill fear by threats and by actual violence, the misguided young trouble makers—many of whom were already well and truly hooked on various drugs—were promised the freedom to smoke marijuana without fear of police intervention.
As far back as 1979, university-trained calculating politicians were manipulating the nation’s most vulnerable with promises to make legal nearly all that was illegal. Today marijuana and egregious public behavior, guns—the great equalizer—in every back pocket, and crack cocaine in every pipe. Oh, yes, indeed, that was the unspoken promise 35 years ago!
The record shows that at a particular House session in 1982, one MP fired across the table the following unforgettable proposition: “I will shoot from the hip and make shit come out of your mouth.” Yes, nice. Though the overheated MP delivered his murderous threat at top volume, the day’s Speaker let it fly without comment.
As for hollow campaign pledges, to say nothing of lies masquerading as truth, nothing new here either: following a successful campaign during which the wildest promises were dangled before wild-eyed and hysterical young supporters, this was the new post-victory message: “Brothers, don’t expect us to legalize marijuana. We do not want your minds blown. We need you fit, with your brains intact, so that you can fight off the oppressors with every ounce of energy in your bodies.” (Ironically, the oppressors referred to were member’s of the speaker’s own government!)
Called upon more recently to account for the non-delivery of certain promises undertaken during his party’s re-election campaign, chief among them that the new government would immediately invest $100 million in the private sector for job creation, this was one grinning MP’s reaction: “Immediately does not mean right away!” Doubtless Humpty Dumpty, who had his own famous way with words, would readily agree.
And speaking of words, the following is taken from a press statement issued by the prime minister via the glossy mouth of his press secretary Jadia JnPierre-Emmanuel: “Last night on HTS Television Allen Chastanet, the leader of the United Workers Party, told the public that in two-and-a-half years the government of Saint Lucia had increased the Public Debt/GDP ration by 17%. In the same news excerpt and in the same breath, without blinking this time, he reduced the figure to 14% . . . That statement is patently false.”
Moreover: “This is one so-called economist [Chastanet] who cannot get his basic statistics right . . . The government of Saint Lucia does not deny that jobs have been lost but it is a patent lie to suggest that a number of jobs lost is in the vicinity of the figure quoted by Chastanet . . . Chastanet was a disaster for the former UWP government. So, too, he will be a disaster for the United Workers Party.”
I mean, really. Does the prime minister actually expect the media to repeat, word for word, this press release to which a lady would be reluctant to lend her voice in what used to be called “polite company?”
On the other hand, perhaps Jadia JnPierre-Emmanuel, who can be so absolutely charming as to be downright seductive at times, is expected to follow a particular tradition that already has produced more demons than this nation can control.
Whether or not Allen Chastanet goofed, whether in fact he set out to deceive his fellow Saint Lucians when such deceit could easily be exposed, our leaders must be careful not to lead the attack on all that makes a civilized society civilized—regardless of how desperate the need to hang on to office or to divert public attention from what is really important, even vital: our deteriorating standards on all from fronts, including social to economic!