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Wake up and smell the roast breadfruit


Editor: Critics of the opposition parties say that the respective agendas, platforms, and proposed policies of all three parties—Green, DRP and NDP—have not appealed to, nor garnered, popular support. Well, that’s true. For the most part, the opposition parties have made the mistake of putting forward their positions in the form of coherent, rational argument.{{more}} That might prove appealing or at least attract consideration, if addressed to a more learned and reflective electorate than what we are dealing with here.

Edmund Burke and Thomas Jefferson, themselves of dissimilar convictions on many issues, both believed that an informed and educated electorate would be the backbone of any democracy. It would be capable of hearing and reading about the issues, applying thought and discernment to civil discourse, and then, after due consideration, voting for what best seems to benefit, not just themselves personally, but their community and their nation as a whole. The idea of a tribal electorate, based on the fixed notion of “we against them,” never entered into their minds.

What we have now in St Vincent and the Grenadines is not only political polarization, but a polarization of, on the one hand, a marginally literate mass, easily swayed by a charismatic populist leader using demagogic rhetoric, delivered (when called for) in dialect, with the sub rosa enticement of free building materials for the party faithful, as against an astute, and politically aware minority who want and need a better life for themselves, their children, and their country, but are in despair of what they see as their options. Or, if you will, the “Internet Crazies” versus the slack-jawed crayon-on-cardboard “Red Ants.” Ooohhh, did I offend someone—or everyone? I hope so.

The potential losers are not the opposing political parties, but the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines. Wake up and smell the roast breadfruit.