Letters & Opinion

A Nation On A Negative Path

By Jeff Fedee

FROM my perspective and observation of the management of the social and economic development of our country, I perceive that the policies of this administration under the leadership of Allen Chastanet, are against the general welfare of the citizens of our country, and the Youth in particular.

This is manifested in the prolonged six-month period of music festivals, in which alcohol consumption is a major aspect, with the harsh reality that there are dire and negative consequences for the general population and youth in particular.

Furthermore when the music festivals are over, the participants are faced with the reality that the money spent could have been used for more productive purposes.

Instead of encouraging citizens in the pursuit of an advanced education, and join the ranks of qualified professionals, our Prime Minister encourages our citizens and the youth in particular, to squander their limited finances, instead of encouraging our citizens and the youth to open a savings account for their future education, which will give them empowerment as professionals in the job market, not only locally but regionally and internationally.

It boggles the mind to contemplate why Allen Chastanet, who inherited the reigns of a party and predecessor, Sir John Compton, whose philosophy was that only an advanced education could change the status of locals who were at the bottom of the social and economic ladder. He always ridiculed our citizens’ predilection for feting and bacchanal, and derisively referred to our people’s preference for “Way-lay-lay”. Allen Chastanet has his priorities wrong, going contrary to Sir John’s admonition of the neglect of our citizens in the pursuit of an advanced education, instead of wasting time and finances in fun and partying.

The agenda of Allen Chastanet is to seduce St. Lucians in a perpetual round of merriment, instead of pursuing serious professional and academic qualifications. Something which is being promoted by a limited Prime Minister whose aim is to keep uneducated locals to the bottom of the social & economic ladder.

Sir John set the example by leaving St.Lucia to study at the prestigious London School of Economics, where he studied Economics. He was among the outstanding visionary leaders of the Caribbean who left the Caribbean to study in Europe, namely Eric Williams, Forbes Burnham, Grantley Adams, Errol Barrow, Norman Manley, T.A. Marryshow and Eugenia Charles.

The positive development of any progressive country lies in its people, and how they are directed in using their limited resources for national development. What is evident is that instead of encouraging thrift, and using their limited financial resources for the pursuit of an advanced education, our Prime Minister encourages our citizens in a false sense of euphoria, in the drinking and feting, in which the major beneficiaries are the foreign artists who are paid highly for their performances.

Leaders of a democratically elected government must bear in mind that it is a privilege granted by the electorate to serve the interests of the people, rather than rule in an authoritarian manner.

It is evident that our current Prime Minister does not approach national issues with deep thinking or analysis, or consultation with technocrats or qualified professionals in the government service. Only persons fiercely loyal to Allen Chastanet are chosen to fulfill positions in government that require an advanced education. Limited persons with motor mouths, with no advanced academic qualifications are the main mouthpieces of this administration.

The policies of this administration are inconsistent and incoherent as clearly illustrated by the St. Jude Hospital fiasco. There is a lack of a unified approach within the ranks of this clueless administration.

This confusion is apparent on several fronts. I recall that the Minister of Health, Mary Isaac, appeared on television and stated categorically that St. Jude Hospital will be “demolished”, stating further that “there is enough space on the other side of the road, to build a new hospital.”

In a subsequent edition of the Voice of St. Lucia, dated 29th May, the Minister of Economic Development, Guy Joseph, best known as government’s voluble Spin Doctor, disclosed that “whatever government decides to do with St. Jude Hospital will be done on the hospital’s old site, which houses the unfinished structure.”

There is a transparent lack of a consistent approach to the governance of our country under this administration. After squandering more than $100 million donated by foreign governments, specifically from the Taiwanese government, there will be dire consequences for further financial assistance from these donor countries. I have been reliably informed that the plans for the modernization of Hewanorra International Airport, are on suspension by the donor country. The financial recklessness of this administration, which depends on foreign aid for its economic survival from generous donor countries will bring dire consequences for our country’s infrastructural development under this feckless administration.

In this modernized and technologically advanced world that we live in, there are basic qualifications that leaders are expected to possess, as I illustrated earlier in this article about the visionary Sir John’s early advanced education in Economics and Law which were acquired as far back as 1954.

Our Prime Minister apparently is not learned in the rudimentary principles of Economics, as illustrated in the Prime Minister’s announcement of an increased levy on petrol, which one can rationally surmise that reckless expenditure has surpassed the revenues of this administration, with its resort to desperate measures.

There is a concept in Economics termed ‘Regression Analysis’, in which a qualified Economist or Mathematician can calculate the volume of a product that will be purchased, for every added unit cost of a product. The windfall that the increased levy on petrol that the government expected, has not materialized, and as I have been reliably informed by gas dealers, that gas consumption has dropped dramatically.

We have seen the diminution of traffic in the northern corridor of the island, with the decline of traffic on what was heavy traffic throughout the day.

Can such a government survive? We have observed an unprecedented upsurge in violent crimes, suicides and a lack of discipline in academic pursuits, which will prepare our people for the scientific and technological pursuits that will prepare our citizens and particularly our youth, for the demands of this modern world. I exhort citizens to think twice and ignore the inducements of carnival, and save one’s financial resources for more productive endeavors.

I recall a popular calypso by the Mighty Sparrow entitled “Carnival Babies” The youth should take cognizance of this warning.

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