“Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God’s new Messiah, offering each the bloom or blight,
Parts the goats upon the left hand, and the sheep upon the right,
And the choice goes by forever ‘twixt that darkness and that light.”
James Russell Lowell. 1819–1891- 128 The Present Crisis
Pointless reminding readers that those who hide behind pseudonyms to launch attacks on others bold enough to put their undisguised neck on the line say more about themselves than about their intended targets. Which might explain why they never hit the bullseye. One such character recently sought to level accusations at Rick Wayne that I could not let go without a personal reaction. The coward’s name, as he or she will doubtless say in useless self defense, finally does not matter, therefore he or she won’t mind if I refuse to identify what doesn’t matter.
Let me start off by acknowledging that our constitution entitles us to free expression. But that freedom does not extend to twisting facts, bold-faced lying and inventing, regardless of how desperate the cause. I have known Rick Wayne for many years. “Pitiful and toothless” are adjectives that no reasonable person would use to describe him. During his recent visit to Atlanta, Georgia for his very successful launching there of Lapses & Infelicities, a woman who met Rick in person for the first time described him as “a well-rounded man I could listen to all night.” She unhesitatingly placed Rick high on the list of St Lucia’s more distinguished sons and daughters—even though he would be the first to tell you he does what he does as a caring citizen, not in pursuit of accolades, of which he has collected more than a few, if mainly overseas.
We must learn to win debates on the merits of our argument. Bad-mouthing and name-calling suggest we lack the facts to back up our positions. That, or we are too handicapped by prejudice and selfish motives to see or think straight. In his article, ‘What Do You Call Politicians Who Profit From High Crime Figures?’ that appeared in the final issue of the STAR for 2010, Rick admonished fellow St Lucians to view crime as the business of criminals and a threat to the entire nation. What could possibly be wrong with that sentiment? The undeniable truth is that both political parties and their blinkered acolytes have used the on-going crime situation as a political football. When hooligans with guns murder citizens in our streets, only suicidal maniacs would see cause for celebration. Crime is evil and must be fought by a nation united against evil, that was the message in Rick’s earlier-mentioned article. We must resist the temptation to gloat and boast when crime figures continue to rise seemingly beyond our control. To illustrate the stupidity: as I write, the word is that the murder figure stands at 48. When Kenny Anthony took office the figure was around twenty-something. By the time he was replaced by the present administration the figure had shot up to 42. In other words, Stephenson King inherited a St Lucia already burdened with serious crime (and a heavy national debt that would soon further increase to a shocking billion or something). Should King now claim that in his time only six additional murders have been committed, that Kenny Anthony landed us in this mess in the first place with his 42 murder score and an already huge national debt? Certainly not. To quote Rick, “that would be beneath the dignity of sophistry.” But it proves what can be done with figures, whether with the national debt or with murders. The point is: regardless of the administration, crime has for some time been destroying our nation’s fabric and a solution must be found that cannot be found in the old ways of crime fighting.
In a politically charged attack on Rick that was more a butt-stroking love letter to the hapless leader of the opposition Kenny Anthony, the earlier cited writer in disguise opined: “No self-respecting, patriotic St. Lucian would want Rufus Bousquet to be our Prime Minister, but Rick seems to be on a mission to do just that.” Seems to be? Actually there was absolutely no mention of Rufus Bousquet in the article under attack; there was not even an inference. The no-name writer’s response to Rick’s final article for 2010 was clearly a desperate attempt to justify celebrations at the nation’s expense. The writer’s confusion is apparent when he (she?) describes Rick as evil, but appears to have no problem in lamenting without evidence that this distinguished author and former Mr Universe would “rather see St. Lucia suffer than to help return Kenny to the helm of Government and rescue our country from the misrule of the Stephenson King regime.” What unadulterated arrogance! And on so many counts. Is Rick wonderful and patriotic only when he helps Kenny “return to the helm of government?” And what about all other citizens who feel they have good reason to trust Stephenson King and not Kenny Anthony? Are they too evil to the core? Clearly, that is not Rick’s problem.
The no-name writer’s dishonesty is almost tangible when he-she claims Rick has failed to highlight the crime situation under this administration. Consider what Rick actually wrote: “Politicians whose election campaigns profit from rising crime figures must be seen for what they are: enemies of the state, therefore undeserving of accommodation in the people’s House!”
To other than the jaundiced eye, Rick’s message is clear, straightforward and simple. He refers to “politicians” generally, not exclusively to Kenny Anthony and the Labour Party. Indeed, what Rick is saying is that our politicians have all at one time or another scored off high crime figures and a people living in fear of crime while nothing useful is done against crime itself. It seems to me that Rick’s message is that it’s time to turn a new page and combine our efforts against the common enemy that is crime. But then some people are hell-bent on deliberately deceiving the uninformed. A political lackey will ignore all logic and avoid all facts in a desperate pursuit of devilish conclusions.
Consider this from our illogical hack writer: “The language of enemies of the state is very revealing as it is reminiscent of the spurious justifications used by repressive regimes to suspend civil liberties.” What! That from the defender of a former prime minister who famously referred to a journalist as a “media terrorist.” Did the no-name apologist forget it was Kenny Anthony as prime minister who sought to establish on our statute books the repressive and “regressive” Section 361? These are facts, dear reader, not desperate speculations and uninformed opinions.
The defender of the indefensible had the audacity to bring up Rochamel. With typically cockeyed reasoning he-she claims it is Rick that “has tried desperately to spin the report of the inquiry into some sort of indictment against Kenny Anthony’s administration.” Could he-she be referring to the Ramsahoye report that details Kenny Anthony’s mismanagement of the nation’s scarce resources? The record is also clear: while taking care of Frenwell’s debts Kenny failed miserably to seek advice from the paid financial technocrats at the Ministry of Finance. It was as if he believed this nation were his private domain and he were free to govern it as a colonial might have governed his plantation back in the day. But dat day done! Oh, what a tangle web we weave . . .
Finally, let me make this very important point. With all the talk about Rick’s political somersaulting and vendettas, let the record show that the only political platform that Rick has been on is that of the St Lucia Labour Party. Was he an “apologist” for the Labour Party then? Did he have a “vendetta” against Compton, or was he simply exercising his democratic right to freely associate with people of like mind—and to fight against what he considered evil? Rick has never backed off on anything he wrote or said about the Compton regime back in the day. Rick has every right to exercise his rights as a citizen in the manner he sees fit. In the same way that the former prime minister Vaughan Lewis exercised his constitutional rights when he walked away from Compton’s arms into Kenny Anthony’s waiting embrace. It’s high time the SLP gave up its cannibal ways. Election or no election, there are some things over which we cannot fight, some things we must attack with a united determination to wipe it out. Crime heads that list!