Labour’s unfulfilled promises.
It is with a sense of satisfaction and at times bemusement that I have read comments in the media over the past weeks and months emanating from the sleeping giant that is Portsmouth.
Former Magistrate Behanzin calling out the corrupt elements of our government and those whom he perceives to be providing comfort to criminal elements in our wider society.
Sean Douglas, former press secretary to the Roosevelt Skerritt administration has finally broken his silence, alleging widespread corruption and nepotism in government, whilst admittedly not providing any real evidence or instance of said practices.
Kim Douglas writes from the far east lamenting the marginalization of the Douglas legacy in the politics of Dominica and his yearning for an elevation in the level of political discourse in our country.
A scathing attack on Sean Douglas from no less than Eisenhower Douglas, uncle to Sean, Kim, Ian, and Behanzin insinuating that Sean’s reluctance to assume the throne of RBD vacates his right to comment on what he sees as his country’s “slide into dictatorship” and a diversion from the ideals espoused by the venerated Roosie Douglas (r.i.p).
I have not referred to comments made in the not too distant past by Adeneur Douglas, McIntyre Douglas and even Ian Douglas, in reference to the political landscape of our country. The common thread is that in some way or the other all the Douglases who have seen fit to comment, in some way or the other have expressed deep disappointment with the Roosevelt Skerrit administration; that is, with the exception of Eisenhower who has proved a staunch defender.
The undertones to these comments are always that the Douglas legacy in our politics must be maintained. I am disappointed that none of these esteemed gentlemen have seen fit to point out the glaring lack of representation that the people of Portsmouth receive from the current custodian of the Douglas political legacy Ian Douglas. I am disappointed that they overlook the fact that the greatest threat to the Douglas legacy and to the legendary images of Mike & Roosie, is the inept performance of the man who has followed in their footsteps.
Ian Douglas should be given the Sisserou award for putting on his greatest performance as the ‘disrespected, disliked, outcast, parliamentary representative in the Skerrit cabinet. A sterling performance geared towards garnering sympathy from a public fed up with his inept representation at parliamentary level. His ranting on alleged corruption by the PM and the PM’s dislike of him have been from time to time a public spectacle. “I mean what else could explain the fact that no real development takes place in Portsmouth? Skerrit must not like Ian so he has sought to destroy him and the Douglas legacy!” This is all an act on the part of our Parliamentary representative to excuse his underachievement as Minister and Representative. Even if it were the truth, it would beg the questions; What is the parliamentary representative’s primary role? To whom is he accountable?
In my mind it is quite simple really. The Parliamentary representative should be accountable to his constituents first! If the parliamentary representative feels that he is disrespected to the point that his representation is ineffective then he should resign.
If he feels that he is so disliked within his own government that he cannot properly represent his constituents then he should either have the testicular fortitude and the nous to change that government to suit his purpose, or to resign that his people may find themselves a representative who is more ‘liked’, who would have a better chance of communicating effectively their aspirations to the powers that be.
If the parliamentary representative knows that the government, more so the prime minister is corrupt then he should as a matter of principal tender his resignation.
The retort might be that I say these things because I am a Freedomite or Workers, even a disgruntled Labourite or supporter! I am never a concerned citizen crying out for the betterment of our people.
In the meantime, for those who are not aware, we have in Portsmouth, rampant poverty and underemployment. Few opportunities within the economy exist for those who are not qualified, or lucky enough to get a job in Picard.
There have been reductions in the number of cruise arrivals at the Cabrits. Cruise ships have pulled out citing the alarming litter situation. Emergency meetings were held by the minister. More of the same really as no real action has been taken to address the problem. There is now a reduction in the number of stay over visitors and a truncated yacht season with fewer yachts calling. The internet is littered with stories from yachters highlighting abhorrence of the host of derelict ships along the waterfront.
At the same time the litter situation in Portsmouth in general escalates as the Portsmouth town council struggles to deal with the upkeep and sanitation of the community even whilst the Minister of Tourism and Parliamentary representative provides no representation in that regard and pronounces, in his most profound contribution to the achievement of the goals of his ministry “I am Dominica are you?” “How can you be Dominica if not Portsmouth first?”
The Portsmouth town council on advice from the Prime Minister himself has made submissions to the government of Dominica for equipment including a tipper truck to be used in the sanitation of the community. This promise of assistance has not been forthcoming. The council has proposed an overhaul of the property tax system in the community, that has been declined. The council has requested an increase in subvention to meet the expansion of its workforce in an effort to cater to the needs of an expanding community, that also has been declined. Meanwhile Portsmouth central has entered into a state of squalor and returning visitors and residents alike have been heard to comment that this is the worst it has ever been.
Appeals to residents to pay land and house rates have fallen on deaf ears mostly, or to the retort, what do we get for paying taxes? Frankly, it’s a chicken and egg situation. No one works for free these days and the council cannot do the work first then collect taxes to pay it. Only through the collection of rates can we increase the level and quality of service provided to the community.
The litter situation along with the overflowing of drains within the community worsens, with the alarming prospect of a Leptospirosis outbreak within the community a possibility. Still our citizens are complacent, some still expect the long awaited ingenuity and generosity of this ungrateful Labour Party government to aid us in realizing the development we know that we deserve. “I mean, 55 years is a long time to wait!” Some have given up and now wallow in the comfort of their despair and pity claiming that there is no better option available than the mediocrity of our representation.
The list of unfulfilled promises to the people of Portsmouth grows longer. In Chance, one failed housing scheme program is followed by the stagnating Petrocasa project. Roads hastily commissioned before elections now remain incomplete whilst the ones which were once paved are now impassable for all but the huge SUVs that our ministers parade around in.
At sunshine village a plywood hotel with a group of long stay guests of Moroccan descent, has risen from the mosquito infested swamp. After the Haiti earthquake of 2010 the UN rushed Nepali peacekeepers into the country without proper screening. By March 2011 4672 persons had died as a result of a cholera outbreak associated with the Nepali peacekeepers. Reports of unexplained illness amongst resident our resident Moroccans are worrying to the local community. We still await the start of the hastily commissioned Cabrits – Moroccan Hotel.
More than Two months ago statements made by Benoit Bardouille, Chief Executive Officer of DASPA indicated that within two weeks we would see movement of derelict ships which litter the coastline, and beaches in Portsmouth. To date not one rivet off one ship has been lifted and the promise is yet to materialize.
The residents of Lagoon who were promised development of the prime beach in the area along with the opportunity for better housing in the Cotton Hill land development scheme now have to accept that the “land is too good for them” and that it may be more suited to an enclave of Chinese immigrants.
The I.T park at long house promised but not delivered. The Ross University and ancillary services remains the sole important source for anyone seeking employment within the community. No diversity has been introduced to the economy of the community within the tenure of this government which we are part of leaving the economy of Portsmouth and Dominica at tremendous risk were (God forbid) there to be a withdrawal of Ross University from the island, or even a significant reduction in their intake.
A proposed (start date January 2010) water and sewerage project has not materialized.
The Portsmouth Development Plan commissioned by this Government, then sidelined are just some of the rewards that we have received for unfailing support to Ian and Labour.
Allegations are surfacing that through the action of two Ministers, a section of Halifax Street in Portsmouth has been sold to an individual through a cabinet decision with no consultations with the people of Portsmouth.
Rumors are that even after objections to the dumping of sewage into Prince Rupert’s bay was voiced by stakeholders that the plan “the cheaper option” is to pump waste from the proposed sewerage project into the bay.
The focus of my attention is squarely on the development of our community. Not that national happenings do not engage me, but I must be Portsmouth first to be Dominica. I will along with others who feel that passion, continue to express my opinions and to encourage the open discourse on the current and future state of affairs in our community. I welcome my detractors as they are but part of this conversation which we must have.
Unfortunately for us, few in Portsmouth have stepped up to the plate to effectively voice the aspirations of its people. Portsmouth is a community of tremendous natural resource, a community with an equally abundant human and intellectual resource! Unfortunately it has been reduced to a choir led by our Dr. Alba, who himself has become no more than a glorified cheerleader to a Labour party which still exists only as a figment of his imagination. The chorus they sing has gone from “All shall eat” to “Thank God for Skerrit”. Pitiful!
The people of Portsmouth must rise to shape community and destiny. We cannot continue to be laid back and complacent. We must act to reverse the years of decline associated with inept parliamentary representation. We must act to reverse the years of apathy and indifference. We must seek to create positive impacts within our community for our sake and the sake of the generations to come.
The upcoming Portsmouth Town Council elections is an opportune time for civic minded individuals to step forward to make a contribution towards the development of our community. We will Rise Again!