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Commentary: The new extremism and politics of distraction, deception and democracy
Published on May 15, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

By D Markie Spring

The St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) political arena is in its worst state!

The debate in both Parliament and the mainstream media over reparations, the legalizing of marijuana, unattainable development and national investments, scornful expression of the Vincentian political character, the judicial system, dystopia, dynasty, the victimized and partisanship politics not only function to render anti-democratic pressures invisible, but also contribute to deception and distractions – an environment that the late sociologist C. Wright Mills referred to as “politics of organized irresponsibility.”

The author of a number of published works, D. Markie Spring was born in St Vincent and the Grenadines and now resides in Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands. He has an MBA from the University of Leicester, England, and a BA from Saint Mary's University, Canada
In the meantime, more important issues: healthcare, crimes, the economy, tourism, infrastructure and social and environmental crisis are disposed and left unattended – meanwhile, creating a pyramid of problems, challenges and setbacks for the period leading up to the next general elections.

In fact, the piling up of these issues suggests that the government is not developing adequate and effective strategies to correct the manner in which the country’s economy is being impacted by these inactions.

Hence, it is safe to say that politicians in this corner of the world are spending an enormous amount of time making the operations of power invisible and, in so doing, weaving a network of deception, distractions and absolutism; an environment I’d rather describe as a ‘political disconnect!’

Furthermore, these phenomena often surface either to cover up wrong doings or as a distraction from the poor economic environment – burying important issues, which serve as a diversion of pressing issues, ranging from high unemployment to widespread poverty. To be precise, the distractors often succumbed to name calling, decontextualized ideas, and lately legalizing marijuana and the reparations arguments.

In my view, this discourse undermines the broader understanding of the confluence of interrelated issues and challenges, and the socio-economic cultural interests, which characterized this era.

Similarly, the undoing of democracy posed another concern for Vincentians and the dystopian society it is creating can be grasped in the unethical actions of the leader’s decision to sue and victimize citizens, the practice of machine politics, scrutiny of opposing media outlets, ‘stand-alone’ decision making and the closing of private businesses, because of political opposition.

Notably, from the ailing health of democracy there is an emerging, not merely an aggressive political assault toward democracy modes of governance, but a resemblance of cultural and rhetorical authoritarianism that had legitimated itself into an idea, having affixed its principal beliefs in the name of normalcy.

Additionally, the SVG political system has become suffocated by dishonesty, partisanship, misconceptions, ‘fishing expeditions’ and unfounded beliefs clenched and espoused by politicians – a deceptive political environment, which creates the idea of a monoculture in which individuals and groups fail the co-exist. The truth is mostly far from being told and even in SVG’s current political environment the truth is even harder to recognize.

Here, both the ruling party and the opposition manifest their individual concepts and definitions as monocultures, characterized by minimal values, aptitude and untruth. Each party firmly credits the legitimacy of its own camp; henceforth, illegitimating the other party and in so doing enticing citizens to align themselves with that party rooted in supposition, and forming imaginary communities and invisible political borders – the division!

Meanwhile, deceptive political stratagems are escalating to new heights, thoroughly disenchanting Vincentians with political campaigns and speeches through empty promises designed solely as prerequisites for votes. These stratagems are not only regressive, but tend to be socially inept, environmentally irresponsible, politically unacceptable, yet economically unattainable.

In this capacity, let’s ask a few questions!

Is SVG economically viable in constructing a new city at Arnos Vale? Is the tunnel under Cane Garden economically feasible considering the country’s economic status? Why was work on the cross country road ceased? The latest deceptive move is the promise to construct a sea defence in Georgetown! Is this project attainable? If we were promised a vegetable and meat market, government offices, a library and playing fields Georgetown, which are yet to be built, do you really believe that those investments that required a greater capital structure will be delivered?

Personally, these are just empty promises that geared toward deceiving the voting public!

However, in the past I’ve constructively criticized both parties as warranted. Honestly, under this topic, I have to admit that the core of the problem lies with the ruling party. The governing party has grown into an insurgent outlier in Vincentian politics. They have become disdainful to compromise, unaffected by conventional comprehension of facts, ethics and evidence, contemptuous of the legitimacy of the opposition and its contribution and extreme in their ideology.

Today, SVG needs reliable, ethical and fair-minded citizens, not bigoted politicians, to run the affairs of the country – a people that would place the nation at the core of their agenda!

There is need for a change in SVG!
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