I am not sure that the citizens of the Federation value the parliamentary democratic structure that forms their government. Perhaps this is so as they didn’t have to shed blood in its pursuit, like so many other nations, and are now taking it all for granted. If they did value the system of democracy, they would not tolerate for one moment the foolish sophistry espoused by some, as an argument in support of the flagrant breeches to our parliamentary democracy, perpetrated by the Government, masquerading as political tribalism, clothed in the garbs of political confusion. As citizens of this great Federation, we must be vigilant. We must remember that DICTATORS do not create themselves they are created by our acquiescence.
As a dignified people, we should find it contemptuous, that the Labour Government is using the same old khaki pant type of politics to fool us into voting for them once more. The politics of wanton waste, where unsustainable programs like the PEP are rolled out, notwithstanding that they will reverse the gains achieved under the IMF austerity program.
The politics of confusion being practiced by the Labour Government has rendered the collective mandate given to the parliamentarians by the people of the Federation to make laws and decisions in their best interest, regardless of their political affiliations, meaningless. This form of politics has made a mockery of our parliamentary democracy. It has resulted in high levels of uncertainty about the state of affairs in the country while fostering tension and derision among its citizens, at a time when they should be uniting, given the challenges facing the country. The Vote of No Confidence was tabled in December 2012 and has not been debated in the house of assembly, up to now, solely on the basis that the Labour Government knows that it will be defeated when the vote is taken. Therefore, a concerted attempt has been launched to confuse the electorate, by using spurious arguments to say that there is no time limit stipulated as to when the Speaker of the House is obligated to place it on the order paper, notwithstanding, that there are well entrenched conventions, that this must be done as a matter of urgency. It is a clear game of stalling, and the only persons to be fooled lnto believing this argument, are those who wish to do so out of political convenience.
The sad thing is, this is not a game, and the vast majority of the citizens of this country are facing great economic hardship. The economy of the Federation has been in recession since 2007 at which time the level of poverty was estimated to be 23.4 percent (CDB Poverty Assessment Report). This means that an adult can afford one plate of food per day (2400 calories). The most vulnerable required EC$763.42 per month or EC$190.85 per week in 2008. Since then the cost of living has escalated, electricity rates have increased by 85 percent, VAT has been introduced at 17 percent on a wide range of goods and services, even medication. Evidently, the EC$304.00 per week paid to the PEP workers cannot be a livable wage, particularly if they are parents. What is even sadder, is that the political confusion shrouded in political rhetoric seeking to create the illusion of young people being empowered to create their own businesses or in the process acquiring skills is pure unadulterated deception. The Honorable Prime Minister has promised that the PEP program is to be made permanent. Let us do the math. Presently 2500 persons (20 percent of the working population) are being retained on the scheme at EC$850,000.00 per week ($44.2 million per year). The economic realities are that the scheme, apart from being a political gimmick, mirrors the failure of the Government’s economic and financial policies for the past 18 years and why we are now in the insidious hands of the IMF.
It ought to be pellucidly clear to all, that the Labour Government is not interested in formulating serious and sustainable economic policies, social and cultural strategies for the advancement of its citizens, but rather is uni-focused in staying in power by what ever means necessary. If this was not the case, the money invested in the PEP and the other dubious schemes, could have been vested in the Development Bank and used to create sustainable and meaningful entrepreneurial opportunities and hence providing long term jobs for the citizens of the Federation. Additionally, this would have broken the circle of dependency and political tribalism that has been the sine qua non for the Labour Government victories at the polls. No longer would the foolish lies and political rhetoric suffice. The reality is, the economy is depressed, despite the Honorable Prime Minister’s pronouncement that the economy will grow by 1.9 percent by year-end. However unemployment is unacceptably high, aggregate demand is falling and local investment in the economy is almost non-existent.
In the midst of the unbearable economic suffering that is foisted upon the citizens of this Federation by the reckless spending of the Government over these past 18 years, yet in an act of cruel indifference, the Government finds it acceptable to create an atmosphere of political confusion fueled by lies, half-truth and innuendos. Having brought the country to its knees by ratcheting up a National Debt of $3 billion; instituting a hair-cut on persons and Corporations who have invested in Government bonds (a loss of EC$117.9 million ECCB Report 2012) and causing National Bank to accept a loss of $57 million on its investments, the Prime Minister is thumping his chest and shouting to the heavens that he is now the international authority on debt restructuring, notwithstanding that this audacious act has cut off the country from the international financial market, no financial institution, in its right mind will lend this Nation any more money.
The Honorable Prime Minister in his sinister maneuverings, is hoping that The Unity Construct would fizzle out and die and the citizens would soon forget that it was the Labour Government through its inept and reckless fiscal policies which is directly responsible for the suffering that the people of this country is enduring. The projects and ground breaking ceremonies that the Government is trotting out, will no longer fool the people into keeping an unpopular government in power. It is not too late to save this Nation by being focused and remaining steadfast in the perceived resolution to create a new and fair political environment in which each citizen has an equal right.