“Drill, baby, drill”: The case of Political Prisoners and Laughing-stocks

Oil! Oil! ‘Money go flow’! On the eve of General Elections we have hit the low-water mark in disbelief, with a flashing green and white banner reading, “Drill, baby, drill”! There is a homepage for chatter of the mischievous mind that the Scriptures entitle, ‘tricks and traps’! It is the habitat of political prisoners and laughing-stocks.

Both of these conditions are due to operations of the mind, not the security forces. One disturbs us with painful laughter while the other displeases the spirit. Working together, they harm the progress of the Grenadian civilisation because some individuals recklessly abuse power and privilege. Ordinary citizens cannot do these things to their countrymen.

Political imprisonment includes that condition of the mind where people make decisions to promote themselves or to demote others, in unconscionable ways. This aspect tends to be less recognisable than the case of the physical imprisonment of opponents. Grenada’s most celebrated political prisoner, in the ‘physical’, Maurice Bishop, was placed in those circumstances by some who resolved to take away his access to and enjoyment of freedom in the name of ideological purity. In the process, they criminalised power and bastardised the Grenadian culture.

Evidently, political imprisonment disrupts the lives of the innocent as much as it denies the rights of the victim.

Here are three cases of self-imprisonment. The most dangerous is where a leader says, for example, “I have four University degrees and given what I have gone through … I am now engaging in the politics on my own terms”! Victor won’t and can’t deny that his words fairly represent one who is trapped in himself or may well have entrapped himself, or both! Self-imprisonment of this kind is fully aligned with creeping dictatorship. Agreed? If a leader is more dedicated to himself than to his party, then he is a political prisoner, locked up in selfishness!

Recently, another example played where, on the basis of over-exposure and un-sifted consumption of American culture online, Chairman Vincent managed to perish the prospects of two of his candidates by ‘announcing’ their lifestyle preferences. Death by friendly fire!

Consider lastly, the situation where people shut down pre-existing relationships over political differences, such that one’s relationship with another moves from invited guest to intolerable ghost! The judgment for self-imprisoned, fake brothers is to say if politics could make enemies of us we were never friends!

The other dimension of political imprisonment shows up as comic relief, the ‘laughing-stock’ version.

Here, people are determined to use position or Office power, but they lack the savvy to use it wisely or they may be intent on finding a niche for themselves on the world stage.

Was Gairy in that field when he repeatedly called upon the UN to investigate UFO phenomenon? Where was he when he threatened to release the “roughest and toughest rough-necks” on his opponents? Was Winty there when he challenged Keith to do a real project by building a bridge between Sauteurs and Carriacou? Was Edzel there when he told the Parliament that the Concord Waterfalls was “so picture-square”?

For four years now, a ‘brango’ show is aired midday on Sundays in the name of a political party! Sadly, the hostess has found a way to turn important causes into laughing-stocks by insisting that she must speak, resulting only in unrestrained PR carnage. A cut below the line? Huh!

Many Grenadians have been ‘laughing’, tearfully, since last Thursday night. Some say they never expected to be treated with, “Drill, baby, drill”, by the Prime Minister, compliments Sarah Palin; not since everyone knows that nutmegs are picked-up and cocoa is picked!

The imprisonment of the mind is rampant in the Spice Isles! Whether it occurs under bright television lights or in broad daylight on a fake oil rig, the result is the same because the motivation is the same. Leaders uncaringly breach their duty not to mislead or let-down their followers. What a political pity!

William Joseph

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