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Political mudslinging in SVG must stop now

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EDITOR: My concerns about partisanship in this country is not so much about the level of tribalism that it is said to generate, but the lack of profound reasoning and the lack of meaningful analysis that goes along with it.

Issues of national development are opposed because they will enhance the position of the incumbent party. The party is placed before the country, contrary to the call by calypsonian Ipa to “put country before party”.{{more}}

I was amazed by something that I heard last Sunday on a call-in programme. The ambassador of a friendly country, which is funding a major project in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, was accused of being political because she indicated that she supports the project and hopes that it succeeds. If supporting the project is political, then by the same token opposing the project is also political. The accuser opposes the project yet he purports to be apolitical.

We have been having a lot of chattering, most of it disjointed, illogical and incoherent. Cause and effect relations are proclaimed on the basis of the chronologic proximity of certain occurrences. A lot of this is encouraged and promoted by some who know better. In the name of partisan political expediency, anything goes.

Concerns related to certain projects are seen as reasons not to proceed. Instead they must serve as indications of the need to proceed with caution and care. Concerns are what they are, issues to take note of and eliminate or abate as we go forward. They are not to serve as a prescription for inaction. Foreseen obstacles create instant paralysis of some of our better minds. Intellect has become a tool of submission, in place of a tool for problem solving and advancement.

Indiscriminate human behaviour is seen as an inevitable and unmodifiable phenomenon. Squatting, indiscriminate clearing of the forest and unsafe agricultural practices are avoidable evils. There is nothing that prevents the powers that be from enacting and enforcing legislations to abate these evils.

Those who assisted in creating the problem and engendering the mind set that goes with it are now suggesting that it is uncontrollable.

Development has to be promoted in an organized way. We cannot permit disorder and chaos under the guise of “people trying to make a living”.

Today the effects of political partisanship are very evident in the way some who have access to the electronic media have been dealing with the issue of crime in our society and its causes. Causation with respect to crime is proclaimed without an iota of serious analysis, empirical or scientific evidence. Issues of crime and its worsening did not spring up on us like a thief in the night. They are the result of the combination and interaction of a number of factors which develop over a long period. Just as the effects of crime transcend partisan lines so do the causes of crime.

The constant and persistent combative and malignant nature of certain media personalities do not help in the present circumstances. The proclamation of God’s name and the spewing of vicious political venom by some will not do. We can not promote and encourage combat and then pretend not to be responsible for the casualties.

There is need for more meaningful use of the electronic media. The mud-slinging and dabbling in the political gutters must cease. Those involve must do more than adopt CNN, Times and Newsweek as their sources of intellectual and ideological fortitude. They have an obligation to have a sufficient command of the issues. This can only be achieved by reading, reading and reading!

Dr. Franklyn James

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