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It has become obvious, in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, that under the regime of Ralph Gonsalves, “pluralism” is a dirty word which he has fought hard to destroy. He has fought hard to exclude the opposition party, the NDP, from having any input in anything.
Laws have been passed in parliament for the sole benefit of preserving ULP MP’s and some party-adopted persons from prosecution. Illegal government actions have seen laws passed overnight to make them legal. A cybercrime law has been brought in to protect the hierarchy. An act also passed to make it impossible to prosecute anyone who was involved in the dodgy passport saga.(??)
For years now, accounting of state funds has been, in many cases, simply not done or if they are, hidden from public scrutiny. Big gaping holes in transparency – PetroCaribe, AIA, National Properties and several others.
Even an illegal act by the government of not paying government employees NIS into the fund each month as required by law, when exposed by the NDP to correct the situation, the government took a loan from the NIS to pay the NIS debt. Did you ever hear of anything as crazy and disgusting as that?
A man caught carrying cocaine whilst travelling on a Vincentian diplomatic passport. The man was not a diplomat, did not work for the government. Who do you think ultimately approves diplomatic passports?
Ralph Gonsalves or/and his government has brought to the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Favouritism, Cronyism, and Nepotism.
Favouritism in SVG is just what it sounds like; it’s favouring a person not because he or she is doing the best job, but rather because of some extraneous feature-membership in a favoured group such as the ultimate rulers family, ULP or the communist party, personal likes and dislikes, etc. Favouritism can be demonstrated in hiring, honouring, or awarding contracts. A related idea is patronage, giving public service jobs to those who may have helped elect the Gonsalves and other ULP members, who have the power of appointment.
Cronyism is a more specific form of favouritism, referring to partiality towards friends and associates. As the old saying goes, “It’s not what you know but who you know”. Cronyism occurs with conferring favours on family and supporters.
Nepotism is an even more narrow form of favouritism; covering favouritism to members of the family. Both nepotism and cronyism are often at work when political parties recruit candidates for public office.
With the end of pluralism comes the end of democracy because they go hand-in-glove with each other. With the end of democracy comes Dictatorship and autocracy and the introduction of a dynasty; and with the dynasty, although the key leader is called prime minister rather than a king or emperor, power is transmitted between members of the same family due to the overwhelming authority of the leader. The danger then being at some juncture the leader with a change of constitution [or even without] will declare himself president for life and use this power to nominate one of his family as successor.
True pluralism and democracy remain as NDP ideals, and will be revived when they eventually take power. Frequent and robust dialogue, understanding and compromise will certainly be necessary for these values to become stronger and unite Vincentians of all political, cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Saint Vincent’s pluralism will once again become an example and a source of inspiration for the rest of the Caribbean.
The Vincentian people have had enough of the Gonsalves family and its rush in forming a dynasty. Old wounds to Dr Ralph E Gonsalves are being reopened as the people once again inspect the past accusations of rape, sexual assault and molestation. None of those allegations, accusations and even charges have ever been presented before a court for adjudication. The world has changed following the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations. Every person who has ever carried out such filth is being exposed, it’s happening in every country in the world. It’s a little slow in SVG, but it will surely come, as sure as night follows day.
Under the ULP government the poor have become poorer and the middle-class have emigrated, whilst the rich are rich and can afford to ride the storm. But there is also a nouveau riche class who have become rich by being ULP party members and contributors and had favours bestowed on them. There are members of parliament who have become unbelievably rich during the last 17 years of ULP power. You cannot get rich on an MP’s salary, so where has that richness come from?
So, what is the point of making a much larger section of the population poor? It is quite simply to create a peasant class, a class of person reliant on government, ULP and prime ministers hand-outs. That class of person is usually ignorant to the fact that they are merely pawns being used to change Vincentian society from democracy to autocracy.
To be sure that the poor get poorer and a peasant class is established, for 17 years revenue from farming, fishing and industry has been destroyed. No jobs are created except in government. No new industry has come to SVG. School children have no future in SVG, no jobs, nothing. So they must emigrate or stagnate, sitting about smoking marijuana, crack cocaine and strong rum. Some of those unfortunates left behind in SVG will become members of gangs. Some will become robbers and killers, guns being their badge of acceptance.
But the problem that has come to the forefront in the last 17 years is the political control over the police and judiciary. No one can get into a civil court without getting permission from the government, a fiat they call it. (Bullshit). Can you believe that is another law they passed to help themselves, because it doesn’t help the public, it hinders them?
The Vincentian police are renowned for beating confessions from those they arrest and accuse. The police have been savagely beating Vincentians with impunity since the Gonsalves government repealed the PACE act. Gonsalves, at the time, said the act hindered the police. I have not even touched on assassination, because that will take several more pages. The judiciary are even more suspect now since the Ms Farrell’s case and her incarceration in the mental institution, not to mention High Court judge, Justice Brian Cottle, and what the Court of Appeal said about him.
Public conception of events is all-important and this regime has had people working hard on the radio and internet pumping out propaganda to try and make wrong right in the minds of Vincentians. Fortunately, at last the tide is turning, the people are aware of all the lies and are turning against the regime. The problem is how to get free and fair elections when so much election fraud takes place. Bribery, wholesale bribery, mass bribery, massive bribery, the stuffing of ballot boxes and people registering to vote more than once, ballot boxes with inadequate seals, dead people voting, counting votes that should be disqualified. Pure and simple nasty corruption of the whole system.
The concept of the benevolent dictator, just like the concepts of the noble thief or the honest whore, is no more than a meaningless fantasy.