|Volume No. 1 Issue No. 67 - Tuesday April 05, 2005
|About Political Campaigning and the Diaspora |
by Gabriel Christian Esq.
I appreciate the well thought out analysis on the distraction from real indigenous development which this election has become. We must let all know that essential to the economic recovery was the inflow of funds and support from the Diaspora which we have encouraged and continue to do.
While helpful, the IMF medicine was never, and will never be, our saving grace. Proper financial management and prudence was not the United Workers Party (UWPs) strong suit and much ink has been expended in describing same.
But we must never forget that UWP aside, we have anemic agricultural productivity, domination of our main crop by a multi-national, which has never re-invested its profits in Dominica, and little of a residential industrial sector since Colgate took over DCP to pursue its own ends.
Our rise will be come about when we can enhance capital formation by the broad masses and so spur indigenous science, arts and management of our resources. In that vein discipline amongst our youth is key.
Indeed, one day, the history will be written of the forceful response by some in the Diaspora and parts of the disciplined Labour base when efforts were being to destabilize the government in 2001-2002 in the midst of the IMF uproar.
Our intervention worked. Social order was preserved and we did not make CNN news for all the wrong reasons. Despite this, there is little mention made in this campaign - by either side - about the following:
1. Giving the Diaspora the vote;
2. Building on our representation overseas to maximize technology and capital inflow;
3. Adopting The Diaspora Policy Paper in whole or in part;
4. Ensuring as much local control as possible in telecom;
5. Development of locally controlled sustainable energy ;
6. Participation of local business in major government contracting;
7. Creation of a Diaspora Unit in the Ministry of Finance to streamline our role in the country's development;
8. Implementation of the 2001 Brooklyn Declaration from the RDF/DAAS Symposium;
9. Ensuring that our Chinese link leads Government's response to the DAAS Diaspora Policy Paper; and
10. Lack of patriotic spirit in government and society
...and much more.
Proper attention to a vital national constituency (overseas Dominicans) would have avoided the loss of an application to form a Diaspora Bank sent by attendees to the 2001 Symposium. Consider the role of overseas Jewry and overseas Chinese to their respective nation's rise. Dominicans building Dominica is the key. Yet the Diaspora Bank application was never found! Re-application was not encouraged. How can such be excused?
Just of late, many of us in the leadership have spent much time in long distance calls and other cajoling trying to get a container of medical supplies into the country. Then we have had to literally call people on island to get it unloaded, because of the claimed lack of personnel on island to do so. Are we serious?
We responded promptly to the CMS fire, published the pictures all over the web, and folk responded to the call. Now we have to struggle to get the medicines to the PMH. This should not be and is disheartening, where it is has not already discouraged some. We are working in a civic and patriotic manner and, all of that, with a dearth of assistance from the home base or government.
While we respect and welcome the words and efforts of the Prime Minister, there needs to be serious patriotic synergy in the entire state apparatus. My history and sympathies are well known, but we must press our government and people to show more responsibility toward our national independence principles, ethics and being responsive to team effort as we engage.
But for our efforts, in alliance with the patriots in and out of government, we would have already descended to failed state status. Dominica still has a fighting chance, but we must be serious.
Being serious demands that Labour show its majesty by reaching out to the opposition wherever and whenever possible to avoid permanent social fissures. Let us not fool ourselves: If the UWP disappears tomorrow, our under-developed status would still remain.
Therefore, it must be the stated policy of government, whoever wins, to ensure the other side of the aisle is engaged in bipartisan National Development Commissions in the areas of: agriculture, foreign affairs, technology, education and fisheries, to name a few.
By so engaging the opposing side, we enhance inclusion while defanging the worst features of the political tribalism which has scarred our beloved homeland. We must work to ensure this high road is pursued.
Being frank, contributive, consistent and constructive in our nation-building quest is the best antidote to any perceived marginalization. From the feasance and malfeasance we have experienced in so many engagements, some already consider us marginal. And such a squalid belief exists, to the disservice of our homeland and its wholesome and equitable development.
Through this all, may we remain optimistic and ensure those who fell in the struggle did not die in vain.