|Letter: Kleptocracy: The favoured form of governance in St Vincent and the Grenadines|
|Published on May 26, 2014||
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There are still many things to love about St Vincent and the Grenadines. There are, for example, the botanic gardens, the Valley of Marriaqua, Montreal Gardens, La Souffriere, Richmond, Indian Bay, Black point, Falls of Baleine, Ericas’s Hot Pepper Sauce, Basil’s Bar and Restaurant, the Grenadines and many more attractions too numerous to mention. But the country is a wreck; brought about as a direct result of successively poor decision making by an economically illiterate government.
We have for many years examined and reexamined the worst that can possibly happen to our country. We thought the types of governance models that may emerge would include totalitarianism, despotism and extremism nepotism, since in the eyes of most thinking people, communism was already condemned to the historical landfill and there was no dialectical argument for its continued support. We know for instance, if there were a national uprising in Indonesia, the people would not turn to North Korea for modeling any new government. We know that neither Spain, Greece nor Cyprus has cited “The State and Revolution” (V.I. Lenin, 1918) as providing answers for their economic woes.
The real danger for St Vincent and the Grenadines is the 21st century! Why is this our danger? Well first, there is a political leader well versed in 19th and 20th century political philosophy but who possesses little or no understanding of the 21st century. Then there are the powerless or impotent institutions, nativist politicians (non-politicians really, maybe political eunuchs), lazy dependence on a few assets and a persistent refusal to confront reality.
I am confident that our country has its best days ahead. We have suffered through some major disasters over the last four years but the existing government has used these disasters for political gain and divisiveness rather than for an opportunity to bring people together. Through political contrivance and reluctance to decentralize, this government in this information age has added severe burdens to people who are barely subsisting; burdens that are government inflicted.
Because of its lack of understanding of the agricultural sector, government seemingly believed that agriculture is all about providing commodities. So the concept of adding value to agricultural production never entered their consciousness. Over the last fourteen years this sector has languished as multiple ministers of agriculture couldn’t see the need to engage competent individuals as advisors. Their arrogance has been mind boggling.
No doubt crony capitalism is still popular and prospers in many parts of the world. However, this government must be cognizant of the fact that the same inequalities and human sentiments that brought them to power 14 years ago are quite alive and well. The government of St Vincent and the Grenadines may have learned by now that good governance matters. After almost 35 years of independence, some lessons must have been learned!
It will take an unusual politician to change and rebuild St Vincent’s institutions. To rebuild trust in the justice system. To whom justice is given or to whom it is denied. There must be the appearance of legitimacy in government behaviour in the eyes of bona fide investors to attract back to St Vincent and the Grenadines. Many Vincentians are aware that redistribution policies have helped the poor and hopeless. At the same time a lot have been to people who had no need. Vincentians have passed the point of embracing the argument for necessary pain in return for the common good.
Unlike other countries in the region, the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines, despite claiming to be a “social democratic” government, doesn’t understand the efficacy of building and sharing wealth. The politics of this government has focused on building a cult of personality and influence.
We have created a state in which they have stretched the constitution, routinely tampered with the courts, and national statistics have become a sham. Value added taxes are imposed on home grown “commodities, “and tariffs imposed purely for raising revenues; now a popular pathway for it. In a world economy in which uninterrupted progress to prosperity is beginning to be seen as inevitable, we are ruled by a Klan of Kleptocrats equipped with a dangerously high regard of themselves.
Dane A. Bowman
Mesopotamia Valley, St Vincent and the Grenadines
Current Residence: Central Florida, USA
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Dane Bowman: Yours is an excellent description of social, political and economic realities in our blessed Hairouna. Unfortunately, like Peter, Lenford, Allan, Mr. Huggins, et al you are voices in the wilderness of a society teethering on the brink of collapse. Is anyone listening? The next election will tell.
Dane, this is an excellent analysis of the economic, social and political situation in our beloved country. I pray to God that Vincentians will wake up and do the right thing before it's too late. We need to let the present Administration in SVG know that our people cannot be bought every five years with a few sheets of galvanize, lumber and cement - enough is enough!
To the author,
Rest assured, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is not alone in such infamy. Much of what you described is virtually a mirror reflection of "goings-on" in Belize.
For certain, it is an unfortunate, deliberate and untenable state of affairs...all by design by 'the powers that be'. In the case of Belize, I refer to the culpable ones as those who comprise both, major political parties aka the PUDP non-divide.
Paco Smith, if you know the character of the man, Gonsalves, you will see how his actions are catching. Remember all of them in CARICOM, where they get together and this man would not hesitate to influence all the others that his ideas are the best. All the world hear him lead the call for Reparations and the citizens of CARICOM feel the Gonzenomics.
Solid writing. Well put together facts.