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Dominica weekly is a personal weblog about the nature island of Dominica.


There are two things that usually happen when information is not forthcoming to people who need to have questions answered.

One of the first things they do is to makeup images of what they think might be representative of the situation. The other thing they might well do is to seek the information from whatever source it might be found.

This they might do in a calm and organised way, or in more aggressive path, especially if it appears to them that the information is not readily forthcoming.

So on whose shoulders does the responsibility lie to keep the public properly fed with the pertinent information?

Whereas a government needs to have itself seen as transparent and accountable, there are times when certain information is not offered and this will be done in “the interest of national security”.

But it seems as though it is a standard that once people are placed in positions where they are to serve the public, many things become their personal domain. This type of behaviour is what occurs in most government offices and here in our “Nature Isle” is no different.

I hope that our leaders will learn soon that it is better to be upfront with whatever it is that is going on. If the people have to dig out the truth, all trust is gone and aggression will step to the fore. Then who knows what can very well happen.

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3 Comments »

Comment by Joel Halfwassen Subscribed to comments via email
2009-12-16 23:23:44

Amen, Chris. Although, to be honest, I still try to wrap my head around corruption on an island the size of Dominica. In my mind the population is about the size of the farming community I grew up in. And it is hard to have secrets in a place that small.

 
Comment by pete
2009-12-17 11:05:06

As I was trying to explain to Dan earlier, that, whereas politics have common themes everywhere, there are some peculiarities about politics and corruption in the region which should be noted. For example, it’s been well known that prominent members of every administration get kickbacks from major projects being undertaken. This could take any form, from a major investor trying to influence the government to pass an act in the legislature or to influence in securing a no-bid contract on a road project…to hiring party cronies to job without the necessary pre-requisites or open application process. One may argue that some of that occurs in other societies, but there is a bit of a small island mentality to it too…the kind that allows those investors or other opportunists to prey on politicians who may not see the big picture.

In the past many deals happened with a handshake…now, politicians have not only gotten smarter, whilst gifts and the instruments have gotten sophisticated and larger, and more enticing. Now, more than ever, the number of people to be satisfied (constituents, party supporters, campaign financiers) are larger and larger; whilst some of the players do not adequately cover their tracks, resulting in corruption allegations rising to a higher level.

Size of the population does not matter; nor is land size. Indeed, the only reason why there is such alarm is because of the politicians flagrant display of possibly corrupted wealth; and mileage is made by the opposition when communication falls into the wrong hands (the famous Hacked emails). Now couple that with limited laws on accountability or disclosure (eg no freedom of information act), low salaries paid to top officials, no caps on political funding etc and a population, who for the most part do not spend time disecting and analyzing issues, then conditions are ripe for perpetuating corrupt tendencies. I will acknowledge however, that the participation in the radio talk shows have fueled much of these allegations more so than other media.

Indeed, West Indian politics is an interesting phenomena, particularly given the fact that many of the nations, though independent, still bare the scars from a neglected British occupation; a fact that is not insignificant. An interesting insight into the social dynamics can be sighted from this piece penned by the island’s noted historian. In considering what’s going on today in Caribbean and specifically Dominican politics and what feeds it, it is instructive to consider the historical perspective. Take a read here:

http://www.dominicacentral.com/politics/crab-antics-and-the-hero-in-the-crowda-look-at-the-2009-general-elections.html

 
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