When I went to school the late Ismay Burt taught me the lines, Oh what a tangled web we weave. When first we practice to deceive. I recommend these lines for Dt. Douglas to memorize because it is clear from the way he proudly carries himself like he has never learnt the lesson in school that honesty is the best policy. Dr. Douglas seems to take special pride in having people call him a smart publican. So when he pulls his dirty tricks he puffs up his chest and waits expectantly for applause, which he gets from his cronies. The cronies, like Dr. Douglas, were never taught the basic lessons of ethics and integrity, so they grew into man- and womanhood believing that success in life is determined By how smart one is, how many corners one cuts, how fast can one be on sleight of hand; how adept one can be at covering one’s tracks. This absence of integrity training in the upbringing of the nation’s citzens, has had an obvious effect on the health of our small nation. It affects a whole generation of citizens across the various sections of our society. It affects many of those who are well taught in the various academic disciplines of high school and college. They sport their qualifications and boast about how many years they’ve spent in the college classroom. They decorate their names with all of the degrees of college and professional education. They hold important positions By virtue of these qualifications. Yet they lack integrity and their heavy sounding titles fall on the listening ear like the dull sound of brass. The reason is understandable. Their learning was not based on the principles of honesty and integrity. Their learning has made them smart; it has also made them crooked. Take for instance, the young college graduate who, having acquired computer skills, could find nothing better to do than apply these skills to the manufacture of counterfeits for sale. This young qualified but crooked civil servant should have been jailed for fraud. I remember the time when men from high stations in life, having strayed from the path of honesty had to pay with their reputation for the fraud they committed. When the late Robert Bradshaw ran St. Kitts, and when some of his good friends went astray and landed in trouble, and appealed to him to intervene he declined and left them to the mercy of the courts. Over the past years many such cases have surfaced and even when some of them reached the point of arrest, the trial at court has never been the logical outcome. Somebody big has been intervening to frustrate the course of justice. I cannot altogether blame the crooks who fall into temptation for they are the victims of a system which applauds those who get away with being smart, and after all they see examples in their own Prime Minister of Smartness in Action. The recent general elections was a classic in fraudulence. All the steps were made to make the process look legitimate. One after another, the various committees were formed to confuse and mesmerize the hapless public; and the lawyers who defraud their trusting clients. The crooks who learned in college the tricks of the trade but who did not hear the great platitude that honesty is the best policy. The builders who rip off their clients who, desperate for shelter can only groan as they see their life’s savings gerrymandered By crooked contractors. So it is not Dr. Douglas alone. The disease which afflicts him permeates the entre fabric of our society and stains the national garment which we once wore with pride. Dr Douglas is up to now the most graphic proponent of the crooked way of doing things. He cheats at elections, no sneak thief, but boldly, in your face cheating. And lo and behold, after he has cheated his way into winning an election, the next day he tries to believe as if an angel had placed a halo on his head. This man who practiced fraud to come to powe, brazenly stands before his disgusted people and accuses them of being sore losers and urges them to ride with him and move on. There was so much nervous activity that it was difficult for the public to keep in step. They were fed all kinds of lying declarations like “Vote where you register” when the law clearly states that one “must register where one lives”. Many innocent and vulnerable citizens were even assured By their leaders that if they were prosecuted, the leader would pay the $30,000 fine for them. Pure deception! Even the supervisor of elections took a full part in the strategy of deception, waiting until the elections were over to concede that people should vote where they live. The tangled web of deception still continues days after the election. This time Dr. Douglas is trying to fool both the opposition and the public. Having rigged the election and stolen seats from the opposition he has the brass face to offer them a nomination to the vacant seat of Deputy Speaker. The Constitution provides that while the post of Speaker can be filled By someone outside of Parliament that of Deputy Speaker is reserved for a Member of Parliament who is not a cabinet minister. Dr. Douglas is running. We accept that as a fact. Thus we expect him to know full well after 15 years, what the Constitution says on that important matter. So when he appoints all eight of his party men as Cabinet Ministers, he knew full well that the post of Deputy Speaker was being overlooked. His oversight was willful, for he is smart. So he goes further, he grabs the one NRP elected member from Nevis and while hiding the fact that he was forming a coalition, made him a Cabinet Minister and effectively closed nominations for the post of Deputy Speaker. Now he wants the opposition, already weakened By his contrived election results, to weaken their debating strength still further By taking up the position of Deputy Speaker. I am sure Dr. Douglas knows that none of the opposition members is stupid. But he willfully prepares this crisis anyway, and then tells the public that the opposition is displaying childish behavour in not falling for his juvenile prank.
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