A fundamental statement with profound implications for national development was made last week by Chairman of the Carnival Development Corporation (CDC), Ricardo Adams. Speaking on national television, Chairman Adams, commenting on what he perceived as anti-CDC sentiments in some quarters, concluded that political polarization is affecting not only the CDC, but Vincymas itself.
His statements came on the heels of a far from healthy turnout at the CDC’s launch of Vincymas 2023 two Saturdays ago. To its credit, the CDC has acknowledged this as a drawback and clearly made an analysis of the cause. Its conclusions should give all Vincentian patriots reason to worry though one can only admire the honesty.
The Chairman is of the view that the political polarization which seems to hang over our country like a blight is affecting the CDC and Vincymas, because the CDC is identified with the governing Unity Labour Party (ULP). Persons who are critical of, or do not support the ULP government tend to extend those positions to the CDC, and by extension, Vincymas. He even went as far as to say that Vincymas is suffering because of this situation with opponents of the ULP trying to discredit Vincymas as well.
This is a most worrying situation but one which does not surprise us. Indeed, many have been the observations made over the years about the debilitating effect of party politics on almost every area of national life. It has become like a cancer buried deep in our DNA. In the process our objectivity is being lost and partisan connections take priority. Nowhere was this so clearly demonstrated as over the construction of the Argyle International Airport and the national response to the COVID-19 vaccination programme.
Given the CDC’s dependence on government, it is not surprising that it would come in for criticism, but to take the matter to the stage where the Vincymas product itself is being discredited, or the CDC undermined, does no good for our country and our efforts to develop and promote Vincymas. In fact, as far as our Carnival is concerned, discrediting Vincymas would be plainly suicidal.
While in this case, it is Vincymas which suffers, the polarization along partisan lines is affecting the entire society. Can we not, as responsible citizens make a distinction between principled criticism or even opposition to given policies, and blind opposition even to matters of national importance? Has “the tribe” now become the defining feature of our society?
We cannot go on like this. Take for instance, the current mood for constitutional change in the Caribbean. Yet in spite of the obvious anachronism that is the British monarchy, partisan blindness so affects some that they will prefer to hold on to the coattails of the British monarchy and the robes of the Privy Council rather than agree on a path of our own democratic choosing.
It is time for us to bring maturity into our analyses and actions, to be able to separate partisan interests, whether of the ULP or NDP, from national ones. We are jeopardizing our own future and our country’s development.