The advance of dictatorship
As we, as a country, enter a week of festivities for our Emancipation from slavery and for our Independence, both celebrations are camouflaged by the crisis of governance which is at the heart of the myriad social, political, and economic problems we are facing.
After centuries of being emancipated and decades of independence we have fallen way behind our Commonwealth and Caricom friends in economics, productivity, and governance.
We are plagued by corruption, bad policies, political spending of our tax dollars, and a political system that caters only for the rich, the powerful, and the connected.
Only recently this Government that has been in power for 12 of the last 16 years used its majority in Parliament to amend our constitution without any consultation. The only protection that most of us, as citizens, have left is our constitution. And, for a Government to amend such a layer of protection without consultation is nothing short of dictatorship.
I have always said that dictatorship does not descend in a democracy overnight; it incrementally grinds away at our basic human rights, political accountability and transparency, and by the time we realise it we are in middle of a police and “iron hand” State.
You look at the building blocks that are being laid for the development of such State with the frequent breaches of our constitution, the corrupt use of our tax dollars, the rapid increase in voter apathy, the unaccountable actions by the business executives and Parliament, and the politicisation of the security forces, State boards and the agencies/agents of the state. If those do not frighten anyone else they certainly frighten the wits out of me.
Our prime minister is doing nothing to allay my fears, but by his own actions amplifies my fright.
The only solace that hangs over my head as I go to sleep with my head on my pillow is the hope that the electorate will see that the only hope it has to cauterise our crisis of governance and the tiptoeing advance of dictatorship is to flock the polls and use the ballot box.
Former municipal councillor