Approximately eight years ago on April 10, 2008, I posed this question in a letter entitled, “Where is the social and moral consciousness of CARICOM?” Today, I am still asking that question, as it pertains to the situation in St Kitts. For those of you who are in the dark, let me shed some light on the St Kitts’ issue.
St Kitts, like St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and many former British colonies, has what is called the first-past-the-post electoral system. That is, the political party that wins the most constituencies (elected members) forms the government. A winner takes all, where “all” is the formation of the government.
Therefore, the government is made up of the party or coalition with the majority of elected members of parliament (MP). The opposition is made up of the party or parties with the minority number of MPs. However, there are catches to this system. If the opposition parties have the majority number of MPs, they can come together and form a coalition thereby forming the government.
Similarly, if MPs of the governing party cross the floor (switch parties), they would make the governing party the minority party. Thus, the current governing party is to demit office and let the then opposition now with the majority form the government. Well, such has been the case in St Kitts for about a year. So, I ask the question some eight years later, where is the social and moral consciousness of CARICOM?
CARICOM mission statement is: “To provide dynamic leadership and service, in partnership with Community institutions and groups, toward the attainment of a viable, internationally competitive and sustainable Community, with improved quality of life for all.”
How and why has CARICOM been sitting by and allowing this situation to continue in St Kitts for about a year without a peep?
Do I expect anything to come from CARICOM on this issue in St Kitts? Hell, no! Because it was issues with the current chairman of CARICOM heads of government why I wrote my first letter to the editor in 2008 entitled, “Where is the social and moral consciousness of CARICOM?
CARICOM and its member states have heard of the accusation of rape and sexual assault in SVG by the current chairman of the heads of government. CARICOM and its member states have also heard of the subsequent nolle prosequi of these cases by the director of public prosecutions (DPP) in SVG. The DPP was appointed by the current chairman of the heads of government and was a former senator in his party and law colleague in his office.
CARICOM, the cases were nolle prosequi after the chairman said he will defend himself resolutely. “Nolle prosequi”, people, “nolle prosequi”! This led the Los Angeles Times writer Carol Williams to write, “Spurring critics to say 'old boy' networks trump the rule of law.” With CARICOM silent on these issues and more, could it be asked if the ‘old boy’ networks trump the rule of law?
Moreover, they have all heard and read of the litany of names (worthless dirty dog, voting cattle, lowest common denominator, of a learned deficit, malignant, chatting nabobs, untutored, unlearned, uncultured, eternal failures, vagabond, lazy, dotish, lack business acumen, and more) Vincentians are called by the current chairman of CARICOM heads of government. Still, CARICOM has been silent. So, why has CARICOM been silent on these issues?
The problem with organizations such as CARICOM is they are like toothless lions, all roar but no bite. They love to hide behind the notion of a country’s internal affairs matter, when it suits them.
Furthermore, there are many political hypocrites in the member states who sit by and allow these types of nonsense to occur because they fear they may be next. Or, well, I can’t say anything because after all that’s my old university chum. Still, there are others who sit quietly because they all believe in the same “ism”! CARICOM, your mission is to provide dynamic leadership and service, and improved quality of life for all.
I will conclude this letter as I did some eight years ago. This letter could have been addressed to any of the other organizations in the region, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Organization of American States (OAS), or the Association of Caribbean States (ACS). The content is still valid, so too are the questions. Everyone needs to do the right thing! Justice must not only be done but it must be seen to be done. Therefore, I cannot see how the public being reasonable persons can agree that justice has indeed been seen to be done. Any delay in justice will deny fairness and happiness to the average citizen.
Peace and justice and get real.