On Thursday November 2, on TALK I was intrigued by the resurrection of a long past and not-so-secret love letter from a certain politician to a teenage girl. According to the host, that same politician had accused another of attempting to wreck the morals of the youth of the nation via pornography. It was a reminder that outright lies and propaganda are the preferred tools of politicians eager to avoid scientific rigour and probity. Monopoly of the electronic media is regarded as par for the course. In more recent times, however, new money has allowed those opposed to government to vent their spleen, equally without regard for scientific rigour, logic and probity.
About forty or so years ago I was in the village of Micoud one afternoon after school. Someone, on seeing me, shouted: ‘Messeu mee Josie!’ School children within ear shot turned and bolted. That was a demonstration of the way my name was made to generate fear by my opponents. You may laugh if you wish but, at that time, what people knew about me was mostly from the government propaganda machine.
In a way, that explains my opposition to the negative propaganda against Guy Joseph. The abuse was launched years ago by persons who may be worse than Guy. Hopefully, scientific questioning and logical investigation into the tenure of these anti-Joseph propagandists will be exposed for all to see. Issues arising from the St. Jude Hospital reconstruction fiasco to Grynberg and the Juffali affair, to Asphalt and Mining and IMPACS, must be investigated and exposed. It’s time to clean the Augean stables that have for too long passed for governance on this island. We need a fresh start under a new constitution.
Former Prime Minister King was harassed out of his wits for his delay in repairing and reopening St. Jude Hospital after that fateful fire. The person who harassed him most soon formed the government. And guess what? When asked on public television why he continued with the same contractors and same methods as employed by King, what was his reply? The only conclusion gleaned from the tissue of lies was that he was more competent to handle inefficiency than Stephenson King. The old arrogance had resurfaced. After King’s departure more time and money were spent on the St. Jude Hospital project than the citizens of fair Helen were led to expect.
At the moment, rather than encourage the government to complete and open the hospital, irrelevant side issues are thrown at Guy Joseph (the minister responsible) as if he, and not the former government, needs to be investigated. Saint Lucians wish to see St. Jude re-opened, soonest. Minister Joseph must therefore urgently complete that project while Prime Minister Chastanet should employ the best lawyers and accountants to thoroughly investigate what monies were spent, who got paid, and who certified the work paid for. In other words he must follow the money trail!
We expect, soon, debates in the courts and in parliament. We therefore pray for a strong deputy Speaker selected from the elected majority as we cannot trust a deputy Speaker from the ranks of the opposition. It may also be timely for the prime minister to announce some minor cabinet changes.
All the useless, illogical and reckless propaganda against Guy Joseph is just that. The hogwash is meant to divert attention from those who supervised the waste of scarce resources on St. Jude and elsewhere. By the way, opposition to the DSH project is merely another smoke screen to divert attention from the many past ills that need correcting.
In a newspaper comment last weekend, someone asked whether Guy Joseph was smiling because he knew something the rest of us did not. Someone ought to reply that pleasant, facial expressions originate in the heart and soul. It is difficult for a vexed and vicious heart to reflect a pleasant smile. Experienced persons are not fooled by skin-teeth-grin and crocodile smiles. This explains why some politicians employ persons who are incapable of reading the negative physiognomy that reflects their evil hearts. Wisdom teaches that inner emotions are made manifest by outward gestures.
At least one more crucial observation in the St. Jude Hospital affair needs exposure. How often did an opposition MP demand an audit from the St. Jude reconstruction project? Has any MP, trained either as a quantity surveyor or as an accountant, asked a question in parliament about St Jude Hospital? In addition to their individual qualifications, one expects parliamentarians to have some intuitive feeling about several other subjects garnered through reading and work experience. Surely, curiosity and a sharpness of the senses would drive our parliamentarians to observations which could best serve their constituencies and the nation.
Sadly, there is no scholarship, no intuition to be shared with constituents or the nation, no effort at asking relevant questions and demanding cogent ,succinct answers. Instead, one sees a deliberate effort at avoiding the truth, sidestepping relevant issues and deliberately throwing mud at the perceived threat. The power to listen intently and to observe with deeper curiosity is a quality one expects every parliamentarian to bring to the table. By that means alone can one adequately participate in a democratic political debate that seeks to enlighten, and identify truth! Democracy perishes where ignorance is bliss and informed debates are skewed and frowned upon.
Guy Joseph is no hero. On the contrary he may be considered average in many aspects. Yet he is the only politician today bold enough to challenge the status quo and set the political debate and discussion in the public square. In this regard he is determined to dig for truth on matters of national interest. For this reason some may label him the de facto leader of the UWP. That partly explains the negative propaganda directed at him by his opponents who, incidentally, are everything they accuse him of . . . and more. It is useful to remind readers of the hypocrites who bent their heads and sheepishly dispersed when asked by Jesus to cast the first stone at prostitution and fornication.