Democracy – Mad Man’s Rant!

“Vote for we and we will set you free! Anywhere you turn somebody chanting to we! Somebody promising jobs for all! Some renting gun to make other people bawl! But somebody promising more police car! Somebody going to take de country far! Somebody putting all de bandits away! He say, “If dey do the crime, dey going to damn well pay!” But somebody promising human rights! While somebody threatening to put out yuh lights!

The mortuary full with little Kittitian and Nevisian boys! A bullet start to whine and put an end to their joy! Now dey lying tall fuh dey Mama to mourn! Dey Nike gone, dey gold teeth gone You see dey, dey want dey pocket full with blue, blue silk Dey want dey statue drinking full cream milk The little red silk is not dey true friend De blue one had two extra nought… We bright little youths going to waste! …But look where we reach, well, well, well, well, well, well. Ah hear a madman bawl as he spread out on a wall! He say, “Dis is it, dis is it, dis is it, I’ve been hit! No time to give up brother, no time to quit!” Was the chant of a madman, in this tale from a strange land! Give me the chant of de madman! It’s the only salvation! Ah say de chant of a madman, in this tale from a strange land! Give me the chant of the madman, (Rudder, 1996).”

Crazed eyes, severely wounded, and writhing in excruciating agony, the Mother Colony of the West Indies who now seems to be flailing in the Caribbean Sea, the nation of St. Kitts and Nevis, chants the words of the great West Indian philosopher David Michael Rudder. Over and over St. Kitts and Nevis screams, “This is it! This is it! I have been hit! I have been hit!” St. Kitts and Nevis isn’t in agony because of what we are describing as the escalation of criminal activity or because of frustration in addressing this situation but rather out of the confusion that this situation has caused.

Now you may ask why I am not tackling the issue of crime, as we think that that is the crux of the matter. As Rudder (1996) states “Somebody promising to put the bandits away!” This is all well and good but should this be our only resolve, when whatever has created those bandits is still out there festering in our young men causing them to wreak havoc on our society and needs to be addressed, and I can tell you that countless research has been done which states that tougher laws, the death penalty and a stronger law enforcement may be key to curbing criminal activity, but it doesn’t solve the problem.

There is stronger evidence which proves that prevention is the best way in which to address the issue of crime, and in all of the mad rants that St. Kitts and Nevis has been hearing; those seem to be drowned out by the din of criticizing the government and looking for scapegoats in the process. It is indeed understandable that as a nation there would be in fear, and as human beings instead of looking for ways in which to mitigate the situation we not only want quick fixes but we are bent on looking for someone to blame, and so we beat this issue like a dead horse. In an effort to register our displeasure we exercise our democratic rights and take to the media and have our displeasure registered, but again is this really the answer?

Let me note, I support democratic rights. I support free speech and freedom of the press, but let me also add, that I support responsible free speech and responsible freedom of the press. I am more in support of one’s responsibility not to a government, a political party or himself but to his country, and based on what I have been observing I am not seeing that. The actions of some citizens who claim to be proponents of democracy in my opinion are doing more harm to our nation than good.

I must note that I have read some rather incendiary literature, relating to perceived governance in the state of St. Kitts and Nevis, accusations or posts lodged against the government which according to the political philosopher Machiavelli could cause calumny or great confusion within the polis/state of St. Kitts and Nevis. What I find most perturbing is that a true picture is not given. If you want people to make informed judgments you provide them with the necessary information to do so, not to achieve some diabolical purpose. This is an abuse of one’s democratic rights.  I must note that politicians, aspiring politicians, learned political practitioners and citizens ought to be careful in this exercise. It is quite irresponsible.

Why must we assume that the public in the year 2011 is so uneducated that they can’t discern matters of national importance for themselves? Why do we think it necessary to air all and sundry not only nationally, regionally but also internationally? What good do we foresee? I would tell you as a born citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis, I am terrified, and I wonder what would become of our dear nation.

I can tell you that these irresponsible acts are destabilizing our country. When a nation’s government and leader is compared to the likes of Papa Doc and Mugabe do you think the international community is going to say, “Oh wow, the nation of St. Kitts and Nevis must be so democratic that its citizens have the right to practice freedom of speech without being persecuted?” No! This will not be at the forefront of their minds. St. Kitts and Nevis would lose respect in the regional and international community.

Organizations such as the UN and OAS would keep a closer eye on the nation, and we could very well lose our memberships. And while I am at this I must say that it chagrins me at times when we have to beg these organizations to come and observe our political processes, I think that this defeats the purpose of being a sovereign democratic state. It means that as a people we are not capable of governing ourselves.

We claim that the political faction that exists within our dear nation is healthy for democracy. Really? I think that it has caused more harm than good, because in an effort to gain power we resort to less than savoury means of garnering political support. A country where political tribalism and divisiveness prevails is viewed as politically unstable. Investors would not invest in our country; our economy would suffer even more. If we continue behaving like this, we are going to end up in a worst state than our counterparts such as Haiti. This is my fear and this is where it looks like we are heading.

I say don’t convolute what democracy is or ought to be. Winston Churchill noted, as did the father of Politics Aristotle that democracy is not perfect. The electorate needs to be told this, and again I am chagrined when those who are scholars on the tenants of democracy spout or give only a one coined view, when there are actually two sides to a coin. Citizens have a role to play in the democratic process. It isn’t only government’s responsibility to address the situation of crime. Let me remind you, in a democracy unlike some socialists’ regimes, citizens have the right to assemble. Citizens need not wait on government to take action. Citizens can form organizations, and again let me clarify, in a democracy; it’s not only the citizens’ right to safeguard the tenants of democracy, but also to assist in alleviating societal problems.

You just don’t sit on a board or committee and challenge, blame or try to strong arm the government. You go about your business being a part of the change you wish to see in society. Stop the Mad Man’s Rant and put your hand to plough. This is what St. Kitts and Nevis needs. Yes, we do need to address the dire situation of crime. We do! It is pertinent, but we also have to look at the impact it is having on the younger generation and enact efforts that would prevent them from engaging in such activities. As someone who has always been interested in good governance, democracy, and wanting only the utmost best for St. Kitts and Nevis, I think sincerely think that we all ought to put country above self.

Where is the love of country? Where is the national pride? Why aren’t we holding dear to our nation’s motto of “Country Above Self?” Check the ego’s at the doors. Stop all the leaking of “sensitive” government data. These are grave issues of national security. Think of the impact that these improprieties are having on our nation.

My favourite Bible story is the one where two women were brought before the great King Solomon. He had to discern which of the women was the mother of the living child, as one woman’s child had died and she switched it with the other woman’s and when they were brought to King Solomon, he asked his aide to fetch his sword, and was about to divide the child in half. The real mother cried out save the child, and give it her whose child had died, whilst the imposter agreed to having the baby split in half.

The same can be applied to our nation. Is it a case of if I can’t have my way, then “everything going mash up?” You may not agree with the government of the day, but why in an effort to discredit this government, would you destroy the nation in the process? I say if you so love your nation think of the general impact or repercussions of your actions. Is it really worth it to cut your nose to spoil your face?

Citizens as a nation, let us adapt the notion that the only way we can go is up. I understand the frustration, and I understand the anger, and lest not forget that even though the issue of crime is at the forefront of our minds, please let it not drive out the fact that there are other social problems that plague our nation, and if we fail to adequately address these problems, it would only assist in the escalation of crime.

“Vote for we and we will set you free! Anywhere you turn somebody chanting to we! Somebody promising jobs for all! Some renting gun to make other people bawl! But somebody promising more police car! Somebody going to take de country far! Somebody putting all de bandits away! He say, “If dey do the crime, dey going to damn well pay!” But somebody promising human rights! While somebody threatening to put out yuh lights!

The mortuary full with little Kittitian boys! A bullet start to whine and put an end to their joy! Now dey lying tall fuh dey Mama to mourn! Dey Nike gone, dey gold teeth gone You see dey, dey want dey pocket full with blue, blue silk Dey want dey statue drinking full cream milk The little red silk is not dey true friend De blue one had two extra nought… We bright little youths going to waste! …But look where we reach, well, well, well, well, well, well. Ah hear a madman bawl as he spread out on a wall! He say, “Dis is it, dis is it, dis is it, I’ve been hit! No time to give up brother, no time to quit!” Was the chant of a madman, in this tale from a strange land! Give me the chant of de madman! It’s the only salvation! Ah say de chant of a madman, in this tale from a strange land! Give me the chant of the madman, (Rudder, 1996).”

Although St. Kitts and Nevis has been hit, our nations still chants, “No time to give up brother, no time to quit! No time to give up brother, no time to quit! No time to give up brother, no time to quit!”


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