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Victimization retards the progress of any country


Fri, Oct 1, 2010
When New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate Burton Williams made his now infamous “pastor pickney” statement on Saturday, September 25, it was immediately condemned by the leadership of his party, who said that this view goes against what they stand for.{{more}}

Williams said that should the NDP form government, he intends to look after NDP supporters before he looks after Unity Labour Party (ULP) supporters.

ULP supporters, including Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, also immediately pounced on the statement and have been getting much political mileage from it.

Burton Williams is too experienced a politician to be so stricken with foot-in-mouth disease. He should know that even though what he said is what happens in many cases, and what many party supporters expect, victimization is wrong, and should not be articulated as a policy of any mass political party which wants to be taken seriously.

We can safely say that political victimization, which is when a person is singled out for punishment or unfair treatment, because of his or her political affiliation, is frowned upon by the majority of Vincentians. Whether they be NDP or ULP supporters, most Vincentians, in principle, do not support it and are fed up of the vicious cycle.

However, on the individual level, many who speak out against victimization, themselves expect to be helped because of the support they give their party, even if it means that by giving them what they want, someone else will be treated unfairly.

We challenge any government administration, past or present, to deny that whenever an administration changes, party supporters who feel that they had been “victimized” or disadvantaged during the previous administration, are among the first to be “taken care of”. How are they taken care of? Not by creating new jobs for them, but by displacing persons who openly supported the previous administration.

So no matter how much noise is made on either side about Mr. Williams’ unfortunate statement, some level of political victimization takes place in all administrations, not only in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but around the Caribbean.

Of course, it is within the right of any government, and it is expected, for them to put people they have confidence in, in key high-level positions, to carry out their policies and further the work of the administration. This should not be considered victimization. It is what is expected, and what is done in administrations all over the world.

In fact, persons appointed to Government boards etc. should not wait to be removed when a government changes, but should graciously make way as soon as the results of the elections are known. We have examples here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines of persons who, after a change of government, have held on to their Board appointments for dear life.

Political victimization reduces the pool of our already limited human resource to just one-half of those available, and retards the progress of our country. However, our financial resources are also limited, and coveted government jobs, appointments and “assistance” are also in scarce supply. That is why victimization is as prevalent as it is in our small Caribbean societies.

We will not rid ourselves of this vice among us until our economy has grown to the stage where the vast majority of people are either self-employed or employed in the private sector, which will result in less dependency on government and more autonomy in the hands of the people.