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From my corner of the woods – A response to Hans King

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Hans, I hadn’t heard from you for a long time and was beginning to wonder if we had drifted apart. Anyhow, greetings for 2016! Am I so honoured to have you address me as a celebrated NDP partisan! I am not sure if my appreciation is for the use of the word ‘celebrated’ or ‘NDP partisan’! How should I greet you? {{more}}

Celebrated Press Secretary, or celebrated ULP partisan! It really doesn’t matter. Actually, I was expecting you to respond, although I would prefer if you write your own pieces! By the way, I liked this part of your opening sentence, “Adrian Fraser delivered himself limply of this purported insight” and fasci-nated by your “cocooned by its own echo chamber”. Classic Hans, of course!

You seem to have been peeved with me for two things this time around. I am sure you are always peeved with me, but let us deal with your last ‘peevment’. You took exception to me drawing conclusions on what I considered to be the mood of the country. I have no apologies to make for what I said. I maintain that, in my view, the results did not reflect the mood of the country. I stated further “Of the seats won by the ULP, six of them were by increased margins of victory. Interestingly those with decreased margins were North Central and South Windward”. I asked, does that tell a story? I said, “I really don’t know”. I went on to say later, “I must admit that there is nothing scientific about my conclusions, but it is not only intuition, but an understanding of the state of play”. You said that I threw “all of this fact-based and scientific enquiry out of the window.”

Hans, I am sure you are not in a position to assess my understanding of history and the approach I take to the writing of history. Unfortunately, my article was not meant to be an historical piece and certainly not an analysis of the last elections. The evidence to inform this was not in and is still not in as yet and there will be time for such an analysis. You are more than aware that the NDP has challenged the results of the elections. I am not familiar with the grounds for their challenge and the evidence they have, but my position has nothing to do with this. On the very night of the elections, I came to the conclusion that there was something strange about the results, particularly the numbers polled. One does not come to an analysis of situations and events with a blank slate. One’s experience and understanding of what existed informs one’s interpretation of fact. You must know that facts are not facts as we used to call them. “St Vincent was discovered in 1492.” We were once advised against using coconut oil because of its high cholesterol content. So much for facts! Need I say, my friend, that with the facts being questioned, that kind of analysis has to wait. In the meantime, my understanding of the situation on the ground and perception of the dynamics at play allowed me to draw some conclusions which I admitted were not scientific. As I indicated, the piece was neither historical nor meant to be an analysis of the elections. So, what is your beef, Hans? If you ask me for an opinion of something that happened in let us say SVG in 1700, I am able, without knowing the specific issue, to offer an informed opinion, based on my understanding of the period. Obviously, any firm opinion will have to be based on the details and dynamics of the particular issue.

Now the ‘four in-a-row matter’ and your talk of distortion! I am sure you are a regular on Facebook and must have seen my point about the ‘four in-a-row’ issue where I stated clearly that Dr Gonsalves had clarified that ‘four in-a-row’ had to do not only with the four victories, but also with the majority of votes received. But even before the elections, the ULP was attaching some significance to winning ‘four in-a-row’. That was its theme ‘song’, so no wonder those who gobble down the ‘truth’ without thinking assumed that the 4th victory was historic. Many persons, including some in the regional media, were almost immediately describing the victory as historic, even without knowing the actual number of votes cast and received.

You made the point that I was questioning the results, or rather voicing my unscientific opinion at the same time that the “security of the editor of the Searchlight and the physical premises of this very newspaper were under threat by the political crazies… and were seeking to create fear, alarm and civil commotion”. I hope that you were not inferring that I was giving ammunition to those whom you call the ‘political crazies’. I dare you to find anyone who has done more than me to bring to the public’s attention the divisions in the country, the fear and anger existing. So to have made that point I find very distasteful.

I owe no apology to those of you who are constantly throwing verbal missiles. What I write is solely my opinion and is based on love of country and on the assumptions and experiences that I bring to bear on my interpretation of reality, so called. My opinions are just that, my opinions. I do not profess to have a monopoly on the truth. My writings are usually my reaction to events as they occur and are not written as historical pieces, unless they demand that treatment.

Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator and historian.

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