In my article of a week ago, I said some unkind things about the Civil Servants of St. Kitts-Nevis. As a former Civil Servant, I find no pleasure in characterizing these good people as minions, mindless robots and spineless worms, and I plead that my sentiments were motivated more By pity than scorn. The fact of the matter however, is that the St. Kitts-Nevis Civil Servants are more harmful than helpful to the St. Kitts-Nevis community. In fact, the Civil Service is the simple most deadly impediment to the growth and development of Democracy in our community. This institution was not always like this. Once upon a time citizens were proud to be the Civil Servants, whether as office workers, teachers, nurses or police officers. They did not earn a lot of money and many of them could not afford to build even a modest house. They walked to and from work. They coed on the periphery of the ghetto and they tried to hold on to their jobs as they waited patiently for their small pensions They were proud to be working for the government. Their boss was the Administrator and all he expected of and exacted from them was service to the public. The administrator was a white man, appointed to his job By the British Colonial office. He was an expatriate; his only acquaintances here were those he met for the first time when he took up his Colonial appointment. His senior staff was recruited By the Colonial office and they included the Treasurer, the Superintendent of Public Works, the Superintendent of Police, the Surgeon and the District Medical Officers. He found friendship with the plantocracy, most of whom were white like him and originated from Britain, like him. He naturally gravitated to them since they were wealthy and could entertain him at their Great Houses, their tennis and billiard clubs and their annual horse races. Neither he nor his Colonial staff had any personal axes to grind with Kittitians or Nevisians and therefore had no reason to expect their lower echelon staff of Civil Servants to do anything but serve the public with dignity and impartiality. Eventually, this crown colonialism ended and a new and local regime replaced it. The old Colonial masters knew that the end of colonialism could be the harbinger of woe for the citizens and they tried to pre-empt the inevitable By training the local Civil Servants to run an impartial professional system. The training in preparation for self government was effective. Mr. Ira Walwyn was the proponent of the anonymity and non-partisanship of his office as head of the Civil Service. So was Pro Byn Inniss who headed the Human Resource arm of the Civil Service. Both of these men were known to be in sympathy with the party which was in power. Sir Pro Byn ,in particular, could easily be identified as a Labour Supporter, since he actually grew up at Masses House. Nevertheless, these officers carried out their duties to the public, without any bias towards the Labour Government. Robert Bradshaw, their Premier, respected their positions and supported what they stood for. The British masters were cynical. They knew that while Pro Byn Inniss and Ira Walwyn would operate as good Whitehall Civil Servants, their successors would most likely degenerate into unashamed party activists. The trend began in 1971, when some very senior office holders publicly supported the People’s Action Movement in the campaign for the General Elections. They had of course, breached the Civil Service Code of anonymity as outlined in the General Orders. The response By the Labour Government, which won the elections, was instant and decisive. The officers lost their jobs with immediate effect. The rumor then was that heavy-handed retribution was not Robert Bradshaw’s idea, but originated with his younger educated lieutenants. The buck, however, stopped with Bradshaw, whose statesmanship was blemished By the uncivilized deed. This was the signal to all who worked for the Government, that Civil Servants were expected to be active party supporters. This was stiff medicine to some but to many it was an opportunity to use party membership as the ladder to promotion. It was not long before the Civil Service became one of the arms of the political party and the Civil Service Commissioners became the rubber stamp of their political bosses. The Simmonds Administration perpetrated the practice. It need not have gone that way. There used to be a Civil Service Association with bargaining powers that the government recognized. When the late Dr Ersdaile Jacobs headed it, this movement was on the verge of becoming an autonomous organization, which would not only bargain on behalf of its members in matters of wages and working conditions, but would become a disciplinary institution with the powers to regulate the conduct of its members. If they had continued on this track, the Civil Service would be a professional body, embracing a professional membership whose only loyalty and service would be to their profession and the public. As professionals, the Civil Servants would develop solidarity with their fellows, ever alert against encroachments and manipulations By power hungry politicians. Their public duty would be to protect the public from the Politicians By ensuring that the Politicians honor the trust placed in them By the voters and to guard the rights of voters who did not support the party that won the Elections. The public could only realize these noble goals if the Civil Servants help them, but if the Civil Servants decided to be the pawns in the political game, they would actually aid and abet the politicians who have evil designs to execute against targeted citizens. Unfortunately, however, the noble principles, which guided the movement in Jacobs’ time, have mutated into degeneracy, and Civil Servants have become the inglorious shadows of a glorious past. They display total lack of the dignity of office as they eye each other and canvass against each other for the patronage of promotion By the politicians. Some even resort to sexual activities to achieve their ends. The seniors get no respect from their juniors, because all of them, Tut, Mum and Sam ride in the same boat. This is of course a generalization, but those who are not enmeshed in the snare are just a noble few, too few to make a difference, but few enough to make them special. The woeful state of the Civil Service is the biggest challenge to our democratic system. The ineptitude and corruption in which this institution grovels, clogs the democratic process and impedes the flow of justice in our land. What is the most frightening about these officers is that most of them seem to have crossed the Rubicon and, having burnt their bridges behind them, have given themselves up to reprobation and callousness. The conduct of some of them in the elections of six months ago was graphic. They canvassed house-to-house bestowing favours on those who promised support for the Labour Party and scorn on those who did not. They left their offices during working hours to attend party rallies bedecked in their red outfits. One, Jeffrey Hanley a senior officer, who aspires to still higher seniority, was outstanding. Dressed in all red from head to toe, he left no doubt about his unmistakable bias and unashamedly rallied during the time when he ought to have been doing the people’s business. It was obvious that Mr. Hanley and his fellow political Civil Service activists were running for their own office. Though we are often inclined to blame on the elected politicians for the travails, which beset us, the Civil Servants are the biggest traitors. They are the real henchmen who gleefully perform the dirty chores of the political masters.