Dr. Fraser- Point of View
September 11, 2020
In These Times

It is deplorable to see a country which pre-Covid, was struggling to stay afloat, existing virtually at the bottom of the Eastern Caribbean countries’ economic ladder, now literally tearing itself apart.

Slings and arrows are tossed about verbally and all manner of evil is flouted around like no body’s business. Things are getting nastier and nastier by the hour and we are really in a state of cold war. We are in fact, two nations at war with each other. Healing is going to be extremely difficult, especially in a post-Covid world. What is alarming is that we seem to be paying little attention to that world that will confront us and within which we will have to interact. Today’s reality is that the country is in a state of slumberland. It is on automatic pilot as all efforts are focused on the elections, expected to be called at any time.

As I have stated before, I am concerned about the mad rush to do things which should have been done a long time ago.

Ours is one of reacting rather than being pro-active. Every reference to any area of neglect is now being hurriedly tackled. What is being put in place to deal with the new world we are not sure. We are fortunate that like some of our neighbours, we have not been seriously affected by the pandemic in terms of people contracting the virus and dying from it. It is true that with the exception of Antigua, and the BVI which has 63 to our 62, we are leading in the Eastern Caribbean with the number of persons who had tested positive for the virus. But this is one aspect. We have while ensuring that we continue to control the spread of the virus, to begin to look at how we will meet the new challenges. What effort have we been putting in to reflecting on how we are going to survive in that world and ensure economic growth and development and an environment that will allow our people to grow?

There is little being said about this. It is as if it is going to be business as usual. In any event, even the most creative and sound ideas about rebuilding the country will have to confront a society fiercely divided where loyalties are to parties rather than to country. I have difficulty listening to a government that has been in power for almost twenty years telling me about rebuilding the country and expressing their vision for the future. We should have seen this already in action even granted that the post-Covid world would demand new creative ideas to meet new challenges. It is necessary at this stage to begin to think about the possible challenges. We cannot wait until we are faced with the demands of this new world to hurriedly try to put things in place. The involvement of stakeholders in the society is a must if we are serious. The answers will not emerge from Cabinet meetings. I say this because we have been accustomed putting in place candidates who might have been popular in their places of abode but might never have given serious thought to the development of the country or to the challenges that might emerge or even had an understanding of politics. These people are elected to parliament, hold positions of power, and immediately assume that they know it all or at-least are expected to know it all.

While this might have worked in the past this is a new global world, revolutionised by communications technology and a market economy. One has to understand that world and its demands and challenges but even more and sadly so, ministers of government have downplayed and usurped the role of senior civil servants some of whom have become rubber stamps and secretaries. Few are prepared to stand up and exercise the role and the authority that should rightly be theirs under the Westminster system that we are supposed to be following. These are indeed serious times!