What if Kenny should flip-flop again?

kenny-aI had just completed Friday morning the article that occupies this issue’s center pages when a tantalizing thought occurred to me: What if the prime minister should announce to the nation—in the absence of a CSA consensus—his intention to take off the table his four percent offer and return to his original no-can-do position?
Whatever may have possessed him to abandon his original position, it has been made quite clear his reckless generosity barely impressed the dissident public sector workers, despite the prime minister’s warning that to bend to the CSA’s demands will dump the nation in waters more turbulent than it can possibly survive.
In his circumstances the prime minister’s promise (is a promise under deadly duress the same as, say, a promise to love another until death do them part?) sounded like a man choosing to jump over a sheer cliff into shark-infested churning waters rather than chancing at close range a Glock bullet in the head.
As horrifying as is the first proposition, it offers at the very least the smallest chance of survival. The Glock offers only death at lightning speed. Yes, so say the prime minister should announce on Tuesday that the national upheaval generated by his debt-financed offer had forced him to rethink, in particular, about the repercussions of more borrowing—what then? It certainly wouldn’t be the first time he said one thing then did something else!
Would the CSA membership quickly change its collective mind and follow the leaders of the unions that have accepted the four percent wage hike? Or would the TUF and CSA leadership repeat their respective reactions to the pussycat prime minister’s almost inaudible ultimatum?
For his part the earlier mentioned TUF leader had dismissed the suggestion of consequent retrenchment as “crying wolf.” For as long as he had been alive, he said, governments had threatened dissident workers with retrenchment.
So many times, in fact, that he and his determined membership no longer were capable of hearing the word, regardless of how amplified. Something akin to what’s referred to as Manhattan night noise—heard only by visitors to New York, the city’s regular residents having grown altogether immune to the nonstop screeching sirens, banging dustbins, vehicular collisions and the cries of nutcases too broke to afford much-needed fixes.
The CSA leader seemed determined to make the prime minister choke on his word. If there is to be retrenchment, she said in effect this week, it would have to begin at the very head of the public service, with the big-money earners: the relative of campaign-donors and other important supporters whose loyalty had been rewarded with near-secret fat contracts, the known party front-liners, “baggage,” I think she called them, that always arrive with newly-elected governments.                 She also referred to the various consultants, the pampered, non-producing, anachronistic embassy staffers in London, New York, Washington D.C. and so on, all of them living high on the hog at taxpayer expense. Additionally, she talked of government corruption and nonstop mindless borrowing.             In short, the CSA boss implied that regular public servants were not the main cause of the country’s economic problems. Finally, she suggested the government should take their own prescribed remedy, by cutting their own salaries and making do with less.
She fingered the ministers with nothing to do all day and their various advisors with nothing to say.
As I write, the CSA president is announcing strike action by her membership starting Monday.         So to repeat myself: What if the prime minister should withdraw his offer until there is total consensus among the public sector unions? Whatever might be the consequence, he at least kept his election promise to turn Saint Lucia a deeper shade or red.

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