ONE thing about our politicians: they never seem to understand when the people have had enough and want change.
We listened in awe this week to the opening presentations in the parliamentary debate on the Constitutional Reform Commission report with a degree of disappointment because it appeared so early in the day that attempts are being made, maybe by those who have profited from the system that we now have, to retain the status quo.
One understands the rationale or desire for wanting to protect personal interest. But we never imagined that the debate would have prompted assaults on the integrity and questions about the motives of the 23 Commissioners who took the time to do what our politicians have never done over so many years: meet the people of St Lucia and elicit from them their feelings about the state of governance in their country and the remedies they felt were necessary to correct whatever flaws and inadequacies that had appeared in the system over the last 36 years of independence.
We watched once again, the immaturity of some of those who want to lead our people, failing to appreciate the fact that the Constitutional Reform Commission’s report was merely conveying to the entire country, the feelings of a sizeable portion of the population of St Lucia about the way they are being governed. The bottom line is St Lucians are dissatisfied with what has gone on since independence and want change. We fail to see what is so difficult in that position for our supposedly intelligent Members of Parliament to grasp. Instead, we have began to do what we seem to do best, which is to smear, to castigate, and put into “classes”, the messengers of the people, members of the Commission.
One of the most impressive aspects of the CRC’s mission was the wide body of opinions that it was able to canvass. Indeed, there has never been such widespread level of consultation with the people of St Lucia at any other time in the past that we can recall. It is clear therefore, that the Commission’s task was quite thorough. Also, and ironically, even in its quest to achieve consensus among its members on the various items on which it deliberated and the attendant recommendations that ensued, the report publishes the reservations on some issues by several of the very Commission members.
This kind of transparency on the Commission’s behalf is most welcomed. In fact, as we go forward with the national debate on the report, we perceive that the positions of the many dissenters on the Commission will provide value-added to the exercise. But we must make the point that the people of St Lucia will be watching the process with great interest. During the CRC’s consultation, they spoke loud and clear about the aspects of the present system of governance that they are not happy with and want changed.
During Tuesday’s debate, the MP for East Castries made the point that it was “the people who were the ones to tell us how to run the country and not any group of men or women…..”. To say the least, it appears that Mr. Pierre is unaware that this is exactly what is happening, that it is the people who are speaking, not “any group of men or women”, not the Commissioners.
In the final analysis, it is left to be seen whether Members of Parliament will continue to frustrate the will of the people or join them in ushering a new dawn in the governance of this country, which is what the Commission report is all about.