Let’s all end the musical chairs gambling!

Worldwide, people are demanding accountability from their political representatives. Almost everywhere but in Saint Lucia. Will we ever become active participants in the governance of our island?

In 1997, when even to mention the SLP was taboo, I voted for Kenny Anthony. In 2006, however, I cast my vote for Sir John Compton. Put another way, I voted against Kenny Anthony. At the time I imagined I was alone; that I had engaged in an exercise in futility. And yet I held my chest high, with pride. I had taken a stand against what I considered bad government.

Imagine my surprise upon discovering, after the votes had been counted, that there were other citizens who thought as I did; who had decided to stand up for what they thought was right, against what they considered wrong. My euphoria was short-lived. No one was more disappointed than I when Sir John announced his Cabinet, comprising individuals whose candidacy the people had rejected.

We should never forget the debacle that followed Sir John’s passing; Stephenson King’s selfish elevation of Rufus Bousquet. In effect, the people took a kick in the teeth, with power once again prevailing over principle. To make matters worse, there was the blatant callous wastage of government funds.

So what did I do? I waited patiently for the next general election, while the country sank deeper into a bottomless pit. My distaste for Stephenson King in 2011 was even greater than it had been in 2006 for Kenny Anthony. King had not only betrayed my trust but the deceased Sir John’s as well.

I voted eagerly for Kenny Anthony, who in 2006 had made me cringe. Once again I experienced the feeling of aloneness, especially with all the money floating into constituencies just before elections. But guess what? Another pleasant surprise was my reward. The election result proved there were more people like me than I had thought.

There were thinkers, people who realized that regardless of our political colours, one colour ran through our veins. That much we all had in common.

Politicans fear us, if only once every five years. Until voting time, they treat us with scant respect. They deny us our right to accountability and transparency. Then come election time, the wolves become like lambs as they beg our vote, sometimes even paying for it, one way or another. And too often we fall for their tricks.

The political musical chairs must end. Where are the visionaries? Where are the people who love this country? Call me naïve, call me stupid. But when Kenny Anthony returned in 2011 as our Prime Minister, I truly believed him when he said he had learned while in purgatory that the people must always come first. Not just his personal favorites but all the people. I convinced myself that any primary school student could have done a better job than the previous government.

But here I am, with two years before the next elections, once again choking on my own bile, convinced it’s time to strike a blow against what is wrong and will grow worse if we as a people do nothing. The Governor General’s address that featured in the STAR of March 20, 2014, further convinced me that something is truly rotten in our state. Almost every word from Dame Pearlette had the sound of deep disenchantment, a feeling I share.

I am all too aware of the criticism that has been leveled at our Embassies over the years. I’ve refrained from commenting in the past because what I heard sounded far-fetched. Upon reading Her Excellency’s speech, however, all I could think of was “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

To be removed from Saint Lucia, with all its problems, and given expensive accommodation in the US or England, a diplomatic passport and all its associated privileges, must be every party hack’s wet dream.

What is especially ironic about this is that most of these lucky people have no knowledge of international relations, no background in the field, never studied it. Too many of them have never given public service before they were appointed by the Governor General.

But Dame Pearlette reminded us in her speech that she appoints only as directed by the Prime Minister. Does that mean the Prime Minister ordered the appointment of his party secretary’s wife as second in command in Washington, and his son as the Legal Officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs?

What is the background that allows Mrs. Clarke to “earn” a salary that makes the public servants at the Treasury Department feel deprived and underpaid. Is it true that her daughter is enrolled at public expense in a private school overseas?

I understand that the Consulate that was all but shut down a few years ago under this current administration has been given new life. Why, when we cannot pay our public servants at home?

What qualifies Menissa Rambally to be our ambassador in New York? Was her appointment based solely on political affiliations considerations? Albert Fregis was one of the election candidates rejected in 2011. A retired police officer, he is now the second in command at our London mission. The electorate of Dennery South did not want him, so what was the rationale behind his appointment?

We need accountability and transparency. Most of all we need respect. We owe it to our country to demand that government funds be used for the sole purpose for the development of this land that gave us birth and not only as reward for hand-picked political hacks. We need true journalists to expose the facts behind these appointments and how hard the recipients work for their easy money. The people have the right to know how our money is spent!

I hope one day to vote for someone with the courage to make a difference, someone not tolerant of business as usual.

Politician after local politician, having bled the country by uselessly traveling all over the world, eventually leave it to public servants to clean up their mess. These public servants sit quietly, bite their lips and say nothing for fear of victimization. They must find the courage to expose the scoundrels.

The saddest part is that things will never change until we come together to make it happen.

And by change, I mean we must stop playing musical chairs with politicians who have been tried over and over and continue to be found wanting. One way or another, we must discover St Lucians truly worthy of our vote!

—-Sharon Lewis


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11 Responses to Let’s all end the musical chairs gambling!

  1. The attitudes of our youth towards the environment is sad……..but all this can be made better …it will take a leader with vision…….any way it’s hurricane season soon so pass it on clean your drains ….trim dangerous branches….help your next door Lucian……cause storm coming………lead Kenny lead……..

  2. Endemic…….modes operendi no matter who is elected…….we need a leader willing to stonewashed our constitution to reflect us the people of the Caribbean not politicians filling their bellies riding the coat tail of long expired ex colonial constitution……….a young man can get raped in jail for a bag of weed yet still gun slingers fear no one no even magistrates……Kenny thinks it’s ok because he could of made gun crimes maditory jail….tax and regulate the weed …..get the masses on his side and clean up the crime mess and the environment………Castries stink……rodneybay marina stinks……..garbage every where…….no pride…..the youth par may lay…..ect…

  3. G. says:

    Thank you Sharon. I agree with you 100%. They say charity should begin at home so perhaps the Governor General should look at the Head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Minister. Well that is if you can get him in St. Lucia long enough, not on a plane travelling somewhere with his “special english” only he understands. Apparently not even the Prime Minister is pleased with him. But then again I am not pleased with the Prime Minister either. St. Lucians, Sharon is right, people are dying fighting for good government. Look at Venezuela!! Yet we sit back and let these politicians take us for blind and deaf fools!

  4. Richard says:

    Who remembers Platinum George’s song a few years ago “I giving you taking”; this should be the new anthem for the Prime Minister and all of his friends. Mr. Prime Minister, civil servants led by the Firemen and Police (who were the first to vote) removed you from Government in 2006. Never assume that we do not know what is going on. We see, we know and it would appear now we are writing. I agree with Sharon, we have been playing musical chairs with politicians. A sad but true article and a bitter disappointment and a hard pill we all have to swallow.

  5. boyblue says:

    Shout it out loud Sharon and all St. Lucians’, we do need to stand up and demand transparency and accountability.
    We all need to have the courage to speak out whatever our political colours regardless the consequences, to initiate better government for country which will be mutually beneficial to all and not just the few political hacks of the governing party.

  6. Leah says:

    Dame Pearlette sure did open Pandora’s Box with her speech! This is a true injustice. We need to know how our money is spent. On the one hand we are receiving donations from countries because things are so bad yet we can afford to pay all these fat salaries to Labour Party hacks!! Things in St Lucia are not so bad after all. Well unless you are the ordinary man living from pay cheque to pay cheque. Kenny Anthony, I want to be your friend! Butter my bread please!!

  7. MKaks says:

    con’t from above

    To think presently we have so many university graduates in the country now and the thinking is still the same as it was 15 years ago clearly education made no difference as all it has produced is a nation of educated fools. The nation can never move forward cause they have set the standard so low ready to sell their souls for political favors, oh when will they ever learn? The generation presently in pre school will pay the price for all this political bs currently happening, they will inherit a country buried in debt.

  8. MKaks says:

    While I do agree with majority of your article, I can tell you that this problem will never go away in St.Lucia as long as we have red and yellow. It’s sad that’s what the people see and take no time to analyse the candidates before them. I think if we were born color blind in St.Lucia we would be better off. 15 to 20 years ago growing up I would hear people say how ignorant the voting population was at the time and could be so easily persuaded.

  9. guava jelly says:

    very well said Sharon |Lewis

  10. dan says:

    Went to school with Menissa Rambally (Trinidad) and trust me ‘she ain’t the brightest bulb in the room’. Kenny is no different than the UWP – no different. Look at the appointments of Julian Dubois, Michael Willius, etc. where is their training and experience in international relations? Michael Willius was a failed business man and Julian was a teacher. Look at the all the money his wife made as a consultant to the flawed labor code. Look at all the money his daughter made on the bank merger. And we have a bunch of useless, non-thinking embeciles just there chanting en rouge and kenny – ridiculous.

  11. galanjoseph says:

    I read this with tears knowing these are the facts. An issue I have always highlighted is that change will come but it maybe a generation has to be gone also. Rick am sorry that you may not see it but we will live it remembering that you were never afraid to bring the truth to light.

    Thanks S. Lewis


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