Wake up Saint Lucia, the Philistines are upon us!

Prime Minister Kenny Anthony (left) and Opposition Leader Stephenson King: Is their latest kootoomba routine centered on Canada immigration policy choreographed to divert public attention from Saint Lucia’s economic woes?

Some four months ago, relative to the economic problems confronting France, Greece, Spain, Portugal and other European countries, the chief economist of Commerzbank in Frankfurt, Dr. Jorg Kramer, observed the following: “Rejecting austerity budgets in favor of more government spending will not automatically ensure economic growth.”
The emphasis was not so much on the pros and cons of austerity budgets per se but rather on the desperate hyperbolic political promises of automatic growth.
“The last thing these economies need,” Kramer advised, “is a debt-financed stimulus program. The governments are having enough trouble financing their existing debt, much less coming up with money for stimulus spending by whatever name.”
Meanwhile, in Saint Lucia we were yet again bragging about our secret weapon. Said our governor-general, regally reading from her Throne Speech: “The Saint Lucian people are no strangers to hardship. We do not run from adversity. We know the value of perseverance and the strength of unity. We understand the concept of community.”
Being a fine lady, no one expected to hear the governor general say we also know BS when it hits us smack in the gob. But it’s a safe bet this nation that has nearly always been kept politically polarized and poor was thinking precisely about cow dung as the governor general continued to deliver the speech that the prime minister or his surrogates had doubtless calculatingly fashioned for her.
“These times demand that we remember a day when money and opportunity did not divide us but gave us reason to come together, to collaborate, knowing that if even one of us succeeded to the summit, it would be a triumph for the family, the community, the nation.”
Precisely when were those better days? Our history books confirm our forebears were slaves on local plantations owned by white foreigners who bequeathed the best land in primitive Saint Lucia and other ill-gotten wealth to their off-spring who, in one way or another, continue to perpetuate dreams from their fathers. Massa day done, you say?
“We need to remember and rediscover these qualities within ourselves and in each other,” the GG went on, “and know that together we can join in the common enterprise which is the salvation and success of fair Helen.”
Alas, as often happens with political speeches, the governor general seemed to contradict herself when she said: “For too long too many of us have felt that we have a right to stand by and wait for the fruit of good fortune to fall from the tree which has been planted by the sweat of others. This pretence works only in the mind . . .”
Well, don’t we? Isn’t that what entitlement is all about?
Finally the governor general said: “My government is committed to participatory democracy that embraces all sectors of society.” (Dear thinking reader, you may well ask: What exactly does that mean?)
“Democracy without equity is unsustainable,” said the GG. “Like a raft heading toward the treacheries of a waterfall, the waters of discontent and disenchantment can speed up ever so calmly before it is too late to discern the dangers ahead . . .” (Whoah, now. Water can speed up like a raft headed for treacheries?)
In less than eight weeks the government will have been in office a full year. It will doubtless boastfully point to the debt-financed public service jobs, jobs, jobs it has created since last November and the several debt-financed no-returns innovations undertaken, not to mention the construction stimulus package—all to loud applause from the suicidal gallery.
If the past few months are any indicator, the prime minister will also repeat his no doubt inspired prophecy that in a year’s time tourism will be back as we had known it in obviously better days and the world economy will be booming again, affording us more opportunities than ever before to pick up the crumbs to which we remain happily addicted.
In the meantime there will be no reality checks, at any rate, not by the people’s trusted watchdogs, the press. It is unlikely our talk show hosts will ask about the cost of maintaining “the fruit of good fortune from the tree which has been planted by the sweat of others”—to quote our ever-quotable governor general, or about what it’s costing the taxpayer to keep the legendary tree nourished and fecund.
Neither will we hear anyone asking how more government spending of borrowed millions is working out, how it is automatically stimulating the comatose economy. More and more good workers, after years of excellent service, are being sent home, simply because bleeding employers can no longer afford them. VAT will have no salutary impact . . . not with government spending going through the roof in the best interests of insane campaign promises.
Our press is too busily engaged with Tom Walcott’s more recent platform declarations, and with the after-the-fact inevitability of the Canada-visa disaster, to care about arcane economic issues that demand a little research. Better instead to serve as evidently unappreciated voluntary conduits of political mush from both sides of the political divide. Then again, we remain convinced that coming together as a people, as the GG remembers us doing in times of bad weather, will save our asses and our mules, our jobs, our businesses, keep our kids in school and safe from sex predators.
As the GG further reminded us in April (lest we had forgotten!), we are used to hardship, we do not run from adversity (especially since Canada’s recent visa decision!). Besides we’re great believers, whether in voodoo or in miracles, or in faith that can move mountains.
If only that faith could also move us to wake up and smell the Philistines!

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