Round Table with Oscar
May 28, 2013

What is this democracy project that is bigger than Argyle?

There is a project under construction in SVG which is bigger than Argyle airport. It is a “democracy” project. It began after our independence in 1979. {{more}}

Presently, it is in its final stages and we have to terminate it before it comes into full birth, or else it will eliminate us as free citizens, even though at the same time it claims that a citizen is the highest honour/position/office in our SVG. What is this democracy project that is bigger than Argyle? Well, one of the clearest signs of this democracy that abolishes citizens is the firing of Mr Otto Sam from employment in our teaching and public service. That act of dismissal is not just a simple ugly and vindictive slaughter of an enlightened and critical citizen and his family. It tells us rather, that the goalposts of conversation on the field of our politics have been moving, even while we are playing the game.

We are being packaged and exported out of our democracy and that is a huge re-enslavement project which we must pay attention to and blast away in order to reenter a democratic politics. Mr Sam is a traffic sign that shows us where we are heading and how far we have arrived. Thank you, Otto Sam.


The aim of this major political project that I am pointing to, is to close us down as people who dream, have visions and give our own voice and programme to those new ideas and creations that can shape our society. In this new democracy project, the good citizen is the person who can see nothing besides what the political leader/boss/masa shows him. The citizen is a person whose voice is always an echo of masa. Democracy in this project is the rule over the people by masa, for masa. I remember in a fit of arrogance, Prime Minister Williams of Trinidad & Tobago once said “When I talk (let) no damn dog bark”. A democracy of the dumb is coming on stream if we allow it.

Yet, before we exercise our voice in a democracy, we must be moved by a vision of things that are not present, but could be and ought to be and that we hope will be. Faith/vision is “the matter of things hoped for…(and) not seen” is how Hebrews 11.1 put it. Visioning, when you exercise it, takes you “outside the box” that they have locked you in, so that you can point to how things ought to be. It seems that citizen Otto Sam had a mind that stepped outside the box and called for things as they ought to be, whether from prime minister Gonsalves at the visit to the South Rivers school, or from the Director of NEMO or from whoever.
At times, Mr Sam has also upbraided me for having done what I should not. That is the kind of citizen they fear and want to make blind and dumb and penniless. I seem to think that many others have been neutralized before and many of us right now don’t know “What’s wrong with Otto”. Why not just cool out and wait for your pension, boy? When we think that way, then this major democracy project will succeed. Citizen Otto Sam, who Dr Gonsalves says occupies the ‘highest office in the land”, does not need such fatuous hogwash obscurantism to enable him to stand up where others bend their knees. He envisions and dreams of things that can be, ought to be, and will be, when 10 more citizen Sams share the vision and the voice and the leadership.


In 1981, the then SVG Labour Party government brought two repressive bills for our parliament to process. The bills were killed, not in parliament, not in the courts, but in the hearts and minds and wills of Vincentians and their democratic organizations. What we have to kill in 2013 is this project of political terrorism. Mr Sam is doing his part through the industrial relations and judicial systems. The process leading to his dismissal is a warning and a scandal of opacity and interference.

Beyond Otto Sam, we have a citizen rights battle to engage in. We must strengthen our hearts, put our minds and conscience in gear, come to positions in our groups, put our pens onto petitions, our dollars in a democracy fund, our feet to walking and our wills to resist the terror. The day of the righteous citizen has dawned.

Before the night of terror falls on us, let us run together to meet the dawn of this new struggle, eyes clear, fists clenched, love for our people’s future our stronghold.

Stand up, citizens!