The Silly Season is Becoming Sillier and Sillier
Dr. Fraser- Point of View
May 31, 2024

The Silly Season is Becoming Sillier and Sillier

When used in politics ‘Silly Season’ refers to the period leading up to elections when frivolous events are highlighted and trivial activities blown up, with outlandish stunts and exaggerated stories. In SVG the ‘Silly Season’ is becoming the normal practice during the five-year term of

office under the Westminster system. This means that the period leading up to the elections is becoming sillier and sillier. Actually, that is my reading of what is happening in SVG these days. Last week’s reaction to the erection of a billboard dealing with the record-breaking number of murders is in my view testimony to this. Those who reacted negatively to the billboard argued that it was meant to discourage people from going to Sandals; a silly season reaction if ever there was one.

Now let us be real about this. Travellers these days try to inform themselves about the destination to which they are going. With Social Media and Communications technology available it is easy to go online and get whatever information you are seeking. Persons coming to SVG probably know a lot more than what the billboard will tell them if they ever care to look at it. In any event you are already in SVG. Do you then take the next flight out? Quite unlikely. You spend a week or the length of your intended vacation. You return to your home, with no muggings, not being attacked and talk to your friends about the wonderful vacation you had. If you had asked your taxi to stop at the billboard (providing you knew about it) and read what was written there, you would also have seen “The NDP has a plan to make SVG safe again. Find out more about their plans.” So, I guess the next thing to do is to find out who or what is that NDP and because you intend to come back or encourage your friends to come you might then find out what you can do to help the NDP to make the country safe again. This type of thinking is the product of an over fertile imagination.

Then things become more interesting. The leader of the Opposition is a Canadian, a dangerous beast indeed. The fact that he was born in Bequia and has his home in Bequia matters little because he is that dastard Canadian who wants to make the country ungovernable. Senior officials of the NIS met with the Opposition, not with the parliamentary membership but with representatives of the party, so it is expected that that ‘courtesy’ will be extended to the ULP. But the Opposition led by the Canadian did more, it met with the Supervisor of Elections. I expect that a meeting with the ULP will follow.

Last week’s political debate centred around these kinds of issues. In a country that had an ‘education revolution’! (whatever that means) I really weep for my country for we have lost it. Ours is a country where economic activity is geared not toward development and meeting the needs of the people but where the focus is political, meant to achieve political ends. So, the cusp of an economic take off announced in 2007 is still to be. Ours is a poor country and prioritising our needs and our activities is critical, but something is missing in the way we prioritise. There has been for the past few months, a flurry of activities, part of the ‘Silly Season’ agenda.

One of the worrying signs is the amount of borrowing we had been undertaking. Toward the end of last year our Public Debt was $ 2.4 billion a rise of 12.8% above the previous year. Some of the items for which the loans are being raised seem not to be priority items. The question will be our ability to pay back these loans, while leaving enough to deal with important needs in the country. What we have not been paying as much attention to as we should is the development of the productive sector. I worry about this even with our soon to be new Port. Will the result be larger imports rather than larger exports? I mention some of these to say that there is so much we need to talk about, yet spend our time dealing with trivialities. Will we ever get out of the ‘Silly Season’? That is the question!


  • Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator and historian