Knowing him as only two of us do, I can safely predict he’d disagree if I said he was hoisted by his own petard (what the hell is a petard, anyway?) yesterday morning while high on the juices of self-satisfaction, courtesy an allegedly careless CSA president.
As a rule, I resist every temptation to call the host of Straight Up to argue local politics, as entertaining as that would certainly be for some twisted minds. We do enough of that off air anyway, the host and I, believe it or not.
Yesterday I broke my own rule, when I called Straight Up to tell the host what by now must be common knowledge: my position on the ongoing Government-Unions brouhaha, especially aspects of it directly impacting the police.
Before I was able to deliver a loaded sentence, the show’s host interrupted with his own diabetes-baited question: “Tell me, Rick, what do you think of people who make public pronouncements that contradict their earlier on-the-record statements?”
“Well,” I chuckled, “I notice you were careful not to refer to just one sinner . . .”
Again he interrupted my flow, albeit sotto voce: “Look, man, I don’t know what you’re hinting at.” We both laughed at the obviously private joke.
“People who boldly make public statements contrary to earlier ones from their own mouths are at once stupid and arrogant prevaricators with no respect for the intelligence of others.”
As for the private joke: experience had taught us both that politicians speak with forked tongues, therefore should never be taken at their word. Which is a far cry from the notion that they never speak truth. The point to be underscored is that whatever a politician might say, he should, in the public interest, be required to provide validation.
Claudius was not about to assist my opening of yet another official Pandora’s Box. But if only inadvertently, he inspired the opening paragraphs of this piece that I’d planned to write several days ago, having bumped serendipitously into the following by one of our more experienced politicians:
“You can win an election with lies but you cannot run a country with lies!” A gem worthy of John Bartlett’s book of quotations.
Then there was this: “The United Wreckers of the Poor have not understood they won an election and now they have a country to run. All they can talk about is the global crisis. You cannot run a ministry, blame it on the global crisis. You fly first class all over the place, global crisis. You give men SLG’s to drive, the global crisis is the reason.
“If you cannot handle the global crisis, then get out and let someone who can combat the global crisis run Saint Lucia. We have dealt with crisis in this country before!”
This one is near unbelievable: “If you want to make a sacrifice what you must do is say you want no pay. Do the honorable thing. Resign, call general elections, let the people choose a government that can handle the global crisis. This crisis is being made worse by a government that is itself in crisis!”
The above-quoted statements by none other than Philip J. Pierre, serve as indisputable proof that when the opposition SLP was in 2009 campaigning with public servants against the Stephenson King administration, members were not only fully aware of the global crisis and its killing effects on the local economy, but they also were self-convinced they had the remedies.
Consider this, not from Pierre this time, but from the mouth of his party leader, now Saint Lucia’s prime minister. Referencing government officials based in New York, this was what Kenny Anthony told applauding supporters from the steps of the Castries market:
“Monthly figures for the two ambassadors are $32,768 for Sarah Flood-Beaubrun and for Donatus St. Aime $40,292. A government that is serious about sacrifice must make certain that where they have persons who are not really necessary these persons should be relieved of their responsibilities.”
The above was the SLP leaders reaction to the then prime minister’s “all we have for local investment is $2 million” appeal, while pleading for more time to meet commitments to public servants.
Referring to King and his Cabinet as “a government of broken promises,” the Labour Party leader said: “Government must keep its promise and pay the workers now!”
His closing statement on the occasion may have returned to haunt him:
“If you allow this country to continue to deteriorate at the rate its deteriorating, well, the doors of the IMF are now open, waiting for us. Speaking for myself, I have been two years in purgatory and I am ready to lead again.”
The market-steps rally that produced the quoted statements was held on the evening of 23 April 2009. A full report appeared in this news paper two days later.