Round Table with Oscar
December 15, 2015
As we get close to the crossroad

The Electoral campaign continues among the two contending parties and we wait for their dust to settle. In the meantime, it is our task to face the questions about the state of our society and what the way ahead looks like for us.

Who has the right to govern us?{{more}}

The office of the Supervisor of Elections managed the electoral process, provided us with results and will in time present its report on the December 9, 2015 poll. The results presented give an 8:7 parliamentary majority to the Unity Labour Party (ULP) and that party, the ULP, has the mandate to govern the state. The New Democratic Party has the right and the duty to unmask, expose and challenge any improper conduct it observed during the elections, and we expect to hear such disclosures for which they have evidence. Valid material examined by our court may indeed change the course of the elections and might even unveil more fitfully the will of the people. The ULP may also disclose wrong conduct which it has documented. The campaign continues, while the ULP sits in office.

What quality do we expect in governance from ULP 4?

In calling for a fourth consecutive term in government, nothing that the ULP said made us look for a more democratic quality in its operations. The transparent cruelties that Mr Otto Sam, Mr Leon ‘Bigger’ Samuel, Mr Rollin Stapleton, Ms Luzette King and others faced during the earlier ULP terms were not declared as ‘things of the past,’ not to be seen in the fourth term. The indecent, or discreet defamation of such courageous women who alleged sexual assault and slackness from the person of Prime Minister Gonsalves was not placed in the category ‘Never Again’. The national insult of not presenting audited accounts for the biggest capital project, at Argyle, but declaring a ‘Creative Financing’ sleight of hand, surely makes us worry about projects in the fourth term. Governance in the fourth term is not going to improve, if it is left up only to the Government to improve itself.

It has been said that where you find a nation in which the state penetrates and dominates the society, and where one party dominates the state, and where one leader dominates the party, there you have a nation on the way to forging a fascist political culture. Already we have seen in all constituencies’ posters that the ULP Great Leader is in a position as father-giver for each of the ULP candidates. The Comrade is also the constituency boss. Will a ULP fourth term see in SVG, one person controlling a ruling party, one party controlling the state, and the state controlling the society? If this is the quality of governance that is ahead of us, then in this period 2015 to 2020, a political crisis is looming, a crossroad is within the horizon. We have to rise to a new challenge.

Who will protect our democracy?

Leaders who become fascist, like Adolf Hitler or Forbes Burnham were very attractive and popular political leaders with a message that mobilized their people and parties. It is said that young Walter Rodney of Guyana had a preference for Forbes Burnham at one point. In the end, Burnham arranged the assassination of the valiant Rodney, who declared in referring to President Burnham: ‘People’s Power, No Dictator’. In parliamentary democracies like ours in SVG, it is hard for Parliament to halt the downward slide to fascism (a terrorist kind of party capitalist government). The party will always vote the way its fascist leader tells it to vote and the opposition will spin its top in mud. It will be the task of a politically alert Vincentian citizenry to rescue what we have of democracy and decency. Political party mobilization and education are good, but limited to getting a team into Parliament. To rescue and to renew our democracy in SVG calls for a movement of citizens from different walks of life and interests to learn together that justice, bread and decency in society must be taught to those whom we entrust with our power. That kind of struggle needs clear heads, brave hearts and feet on the ground. Nothing less during ULP4. WE are approaching our personal and community crossroad.