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Mr. Wilson, you must come better than this

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Editor: Even if David Wilson is not trying to throw sprat to catch whale with his recent Searchlight article of November 28, 2008: “Ralph does not victimise, he’s a ‘Together Now’ man,” such claims must never go unchallenged. Moreover, some of the reasons offered to convince your readers that Prime Minister Dr. The Hon. Ralph Gonsalves does not victimize or hold malice are in poor taste. To make a public ‘song and dance’ about personal favours done for others is rarely an act of decency.{{more}} In fact, many sympathetic to the values of social democracy do not expect a competition or comparison between the Unity Labour Party (ULP) and the New Democratic Party (NDP) when dealing with the issue of political victimization. So to suggest that the NDP would never do as good as Dr. Gonsalves when it comes to granting favours to his opponents is not a compelling argument in the scheme of things. For the record, therefore, it is important that we relate different sides of the victimization story so as to portray a more accurate picture for the next generation and beyond.

It would make sense to examine a few synonyms of the words victimize and malice. According to various dictionaries of the English Language, to victimize includes to discriminate against, single out for punishment, tyrannize, maltreat, harass and keep under control. In fact, the word malice describes the state of mind with which the act of victimization is carried out and when applied there is little doubt the intention of the perpetrator of such an act: to demonstrate hatred, spite, meanness, mercilessness, cruelty and Ill feeling. The act of victimization cannot, in any sense of the phrase, represent the mind and character with which David Wilson tries to describe Dr. Gonsalves: kind, compassionate and humane towards those who dare oppose.

As my beloved Tantie Marie who had a tied-tongue used to say: “ah fooi’ ah talk, nah fooi ah yissen.” Did Mr. Wilson listen to the Prime Minister’s two-hour speech that was carried live from the ULP Convention on Sunday, November 23, 2008, via radio, television and wide world web? Is this what he means when he claims Ralph Gonsalves only “… give a tongue lashing … if you cross him in the political arena?” Does Mr. Wilson consider the matter slight when Dr. Gonsalves’ refers to the Hon. Arnhim Eustace – the legitimate parliamentary Opposition Party Leader – as the “han’ me down Prime Minister … .” ? (Noteworthy at this point is the question as to who was responsible for bringing about the “han’ me down” situation?) With little regard for his international audience, Dr. Gonsalves also spent about an hour singling out for ridicule (victimization) individuals and groups who dare to challenge or make demands of his government. He branded as unholy and unpatriotic the “opposition party” and “pressure groups … that have all kinds of visions in their head.” Additionally, Dr. Gonsalves is known for the constant disparaging terms with which he labels his opponents, many of whom are of African descent: mice, untutored and lazy. Does Mr. Wilson not find it revealing that while chastising his opponents in this way, Dr. Gonsalves borrows the words of Bob Marley to talk about emancipation from mental slavery?

While Dr. Gonsalves must be held in high esteem for his experience of being tear-gassed and beaten as a young man protesting the banning of his professor Walter Rodney from UWI, Jamaica, and his political and scholarly advantage over most politicians in the region, he does not and cannot have the monopoly on dissent, political and scholarly thinking and expression. To claim such dominance in the way that he does makes a mockery of his belief that “Socialism is Christianity in action.” If his conviction in this regard were sound, then it cannot be just for Dr. Gonsalves to deny his opponents, imaginary or otherwise, the means of earning a living on the basis that they challenge his political maneuvers and scholarly thoughts. How anti-imperialist is this? People like St. Clair Leacock, Randy D, those civil servants who have been fired or made redundant when transferred to positions beneath their capabilities, the families of those who have had to make sacrifices as victims of these uncalled for atrocities, and of course your very humble servant can help Mr. Wilson decide whether it is Dr. Gonsalves or his foot-soldiers who are responsible for some high-level political brutality. Talk to some of the NDP Justices of the Peace about their unceremonious stripping of their titles.

I would also urge Mr. Wilson to not attempt the justification of square pegs in round holes as these are far more common in this administration than most of us would like: just look at our missions abroad, with few exceptions. Further, victimization is not the only form of administrative and institutional corruption about which we should commit ourselves to eliminate. Other forms include nepotism, cronyism, sexual harassment and assault. Sadly, the ULP under the leadership of Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has squandered the opportunity to undertake the noble task of ridding us of these atrocities. SO, MR. WILSON, YOU MUST COME BETTER THAN THIS!!

Luzette King