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We must pledge to break away from backward ideology

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Tue, Nov 8. 2011

Editor: At a time when all Vincentians ought to be happily celebrating our 32nd year of Independence – freedom from British colonial rule, there are certain politicians who are still very colonial in their thinking and would like the citizens to be slaves to their ideas. To them, the natural result of criticism of their government is oppression/victimisation.{{more}}

In a news piece titled ‘No rehiring of teachers, says Burgin’ in the SEARCHLIGHT newspaper dated Friday, October 21, 2011, Housing Minister Clayton Burgin made it abundantly clear AGAIN that the three teachers who ran on an NDP ticket for elections 2010 should not be rehired. In making reference to Elvis Daniel’s attempts to seek re-employment into the teaching service after unsuccessfully contesting the general elections, Minister Burgin says: “He think this thing is a pappy-show business? If he is so loving and caring about those children that on the 13th he gave them up, leave them there and run for politics, had he won his seat…you think he would have given up a ministerial position to go back in the classroom to teach Mathematics?”

If one is to follow Burgin, we would conclude that Elvis Charles, Education Minister Girlyn Miguel, Clayton Burgin and all other Ministers who were teachers had no love for their students when they decided to leave the classroom and enter politics. How absurd! So, seeking to serve your country as a politician is a pappy- show business? Some people say Burgin’s statement is shameful, but I say it is unacceptable, colonial and ‘out ah place’. Imagine, a man decides to run for a high office and he is unsuccessful. Does that mean he is undeserving of a job that suits his qualification? Have you ever heard about self-determination, Mr. Burgin? Independence entails self-determination/the freedom to charter our destiny under God. Any citizen is free to seek out any profession, including political office, without being victimised. If a citizen is seeking employment in your backyard garden, then you are ‘free’ to discriminate – determine whether he should be hired or not based on your personal desires and feelings.

The minister’s statement was so immature that I wondered AGAIN if we have a group of selfish, vindictive children running this country! The natural tendencies of a child when he doesn’t gets things the way he wants is to get vexed and withhold his sweets from his playmates.

Elvis Daniel, with his God-given freedom of choice and his constitutionally protected freedom of assembly, chose the NDP instead of the ULP. He criticised the improperly planned Education Revolution. Burgin gets annoyed and declares that he is not in support of the rehiring of Daniel. The minister mouths his statements without a public rebuke from any of his political colleagues, including the Prime Minister. But then, what’s new?!

As we celebrate thirty-two years of Independence, we must pledge to break away from such backward ideology – the same that caused enslavement and oppression of our forefathers who challenged the colonial ‘masters’. We must free ourselves from the rule of like-minded men who think our votes mean that they have authority over our consciences. When we criticise their policies, they insult and victimise. Away with such backwardness!

I listened carefully to the PM’s 2011 Independence message to the massive crowd at the parade at the Victoria Park. Among other things, he spoke about celebrating “independent thought and action…”. Sadly, though, this is something that seems foreign to members of his government re: treatment of people who disagree with them. The Prime Minister also reminded us “that the Lord will bless those of us who considereth the poor”. A true biblical fact indeed! It would do well for him and his ministers to fully embrace and internalise this message first, though.

Consider the qualified teachers who are out of a job for almost one year now. They are not rich. Consider the victims of heavy-handedness of your government. We are tired of your smooth words, speeches and pure ‘flam’.

It is time this government start treating the citizens of this country with genuine respect and due consideration for their contribution.

Ann-Marie Ballantyne

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