The dreaded day is here. Papa must take his last lap around Kingstown. He is 74 years old, obese and grossly unprepared. He had planned to take this run ten years ago at the end of the second term as promised. But he is not one known to keep his promises. Then he should have passed the baton unto the next qualified runner but he had orchestrated the demise of all who showed potential and were well able.
One by one they fell by the wayside: Rene Baptiste, Ken Boyea, Louis Straker, Glen Jackson, Saboto Caesar, Stanley Starky John. Apparently, the way was being cleared for his American-born son to take over. However, the people have no appetite for another leader who can be easily side-tracked by women. He will continue to keep his undignified silence. Jomo Thomas could have taken the baton but lost his integrity when he made our country a pariah among democracies by disallowing a vote of no confidence in the country’s parliament.
Papa could have prepared himself better by hiring a personal trainer and a nutritionist but he lacked the discipline to follow directions from anyone else. Presently he has no alternative but to lean on his walking stick. Lose or win he knows that he has to go. When he loses he will not stick around and if per chance he wins his seat, he will, like Cato resign so that an able-bodied individual can do something about the rampant poverty in his constituency.
Thinking about it, this last lap is the most formidable challenge he has to take in his entire career. The dilemma is that he is not fit to carry on yet there is no one fit to carry on either.
As a political scientist with a communist leaning, he would have left no stone unturned to seize and keep power. Relinquishing power will not be an easy one for him but most worrisome will be his legacy:
Damage to Democracy by encouraging the speaker of the house to disallow a motion of confidence.
Muzzling the voice of the Opposition by not allowing private members bill.
Closing down businesses: Bigger Bigs, Marcus DeFreitas. Attempting to close local supermarkets, jeopardizing the local national bank.
Confiscating lands from local people: Toussaint, DeFreitas, Murrays, Rasta man at Buccament.
Inability to account for the financing of the AIA. Failure to pay all homeowners whose property was acquired.
Inability to provide audited financial account for the previous year.
Damaging almost irreparably the Justice system: “You can go to whatever court you want but you must come back to Papa.”
Abuse of women and a culture of rape.
Increase of poverty and a culture of learned helplessness.
Willi-nilly promotion and appointment of civil servants. Disregard for the civil service orders. Destroying the morale of the country’s workforce through lack of meritocracy in favour of nepotism and political appointments.
Creating fear across the land. Many now are keeping an undignified silence and denying the nation benefit of their wisdom.
Poorly underfunded Health System frustrating health care workers who are being asked to make bricks without straw resulting in the spread of diseases.
An Education Revolution that resulted in more illiteracy, fewer skilled people, and a nation behind our peers in Agriculture, tourism, fishing and technology.
The full extent of the damage done to the nation by Papa, historians will record.
At the end of one’s earthly tenure it is said that the body empties its bowels. What is the meaning of the emptying of sewage unto the Canouan school grounds? Is it one of Papa’s last acts?
As Papa makes his last lap around town, it is a time for reflection, confession, and repentance. Those who have been wronged all these 20 years need to gain peace by adopting a forgiving spirit.
Let Papa go in peace.