Political Commentary By: Dr. Terrance Drew.
Basseterre St. Kitts, Friday 29th May 2015 – Immediately following the 2015 General Elections, I wrote a number of articles criticizing the new administration. Without delay, the Government’s sympathizers leveled their attacks against me and my writings. They asked me to give the new Government a chance and, in a very prudent way, I did.
Since then, let’s examine what has happened:
1. The policy of firing ‘political appointees’, as described by Hon. Harris, has it led to more political appointees? For example, is the new head of the NHC board a political appointee? He was the manager of the Minister’s campaign. Is the lady who organized the breakfasts during the campaign a political appointee at NHC? Is the brother at Social Security a political appointee? It is up to the reader to answer these questions.
2. The sugar workers compensation package is a great idea. These people worked very hard and deserve all the benefits in the world. Let me add, however, that Hon. Harris should not be the messenger. In an article written in 2008, he pointed out that no monies were owed to ex- SSMC workers. In that same article he took PAM to task over the issue. My grandmother, who questioned her compensation package, was told indirectly by Harris that she got her fair share. Now, in 2015 he presents a very convoluted compensation package to the nation. Was this purely for political mileage? Should my grandmother, who worked in the industry for over 50 years, get her compensation from the grave as Joe Hercules would? Again, the reader has the choice to reply. With the criteria being so vague, I have no answers.
3. The firing of workers at every level has left the relationship between the government and the people acrimonious. During the Elections, we heard about the ‘fresh start ‘and the ‘fair share for all’, are these people not part of the all? Or does the ‘all’ only include some of their supporters?
Our people are not credulous and would not be deceived by the silly excuses used to justify taking bread from their children’s tiny mouths. For example, the civil servant from old road with six kids, who was dismissed has been asked to return but must pay back her month salary. Let us remember that she was humiliated on that Friday afternoon when the police escorted her from the office like a common criminal, leaving her without work.
The PAM fraction of the coalition seems to be against this policy, but this is a political strategy. More on this in a later article.
4. The health care issue is dear to me as this is my area of expertise. In the Throne Speech, the acting Governor General mentioned a number of policies .He spoke about upgrading health records, insuring all, upgrading the infrastructure and more training for professionals in the sector. Not one new policy was mentioned. All of these are the continuation from the previous administration. The Junior Minister said in Sandy Point that she was pleased and awed with the local hospital; thus, is Hamilton so pleased with the health sector that he could not come up with a new idea.
5. In regards to the Basseterre High School, what is the way forward? I went to BHS and taught there for 2 years (Mathematics and Physics). There seems to be silence from those who were bombastic on the issue in the past. I heard there were experts on the island, and the Government has the results of their findings. It is very clear that under Labour these experts gave dogmatic information and recommendations, but now under this Government they are estimable. I am really hoping that the students were not part of a political ploy. Back then I heard that the very soil at BHS was contaminated and as a result the students were moved. I said very little on the issue as I thought that this should have never been political, hence I await the results of the report and the Government’s response.
6. Crime continues to be a serious issue in this country. I have said before that we need a multifaceted approach and all must get involve. The police cannot do it alone. However, crime was used as a political football by the coalition of PAM, CCM and PLP. They had all the answers. They attacked the Police Commissioner with all their guts and soul as they tried to destroyed him, but in the process they destroyed the Police Force. Criminals have no respect for the police. CCM has invited the army to Nevis to help but remember under Labour they refused entry of the army. It seems that this coalition has no idea how to approach the issue of crime. They made it a political issue so now they must lie in the bed that they made.
I call on all citizens to do their part to solve crime as it affects all of us. Get involve in your community. If you see something, say something.
7. To our young men in particular, I know that this Government is failing you. They promised 500 dollars per week as a ‘livable wage’ but after the Elections the new PM said that it is only a notion. Each house hold was promised 3000 dollars per month but that too has gone with the wind. Very deceptive indeed! ‘You can fool some of the people sometimes but you cannot fool all of the people all the time’.
In conclusion, among the many problems facing this Government, these seem to be the most talked about. However, there are many questions to be answered. If our country is to remain number one in so many different areas, then the diatribe leveled against Labour and its leader would not help. The new Administration must transition from Opposition to Government so that policies could flow; it must be noted that know how and hard work are the measures of success instead of propaganda. From the Throne Speech hardly anything was new.
Is this the fresh start and fair share for all?