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Volume No. 1 Issue No. 21 - Friday, May 17, 2002
Analysis of Events at Home From Far Away Places

by Dr. Emanuel Finn

Journalism, it is said, provides a first draft of history. It can also be a cliche' and if it is not objective can be a big joke and mockery. What does one think of Dominican citizens who are residing abroad and are trying to make sense, analyse and chronicle current events that are occurring at home?

These 'wanna- be' journalists can easily fall into the proverbial trap of seeing and viewing things from their monitoring posts in foreign lands far away from Roseau in a completely different context.

Nonetheless, some of us are attempting to make a meaning contribution through the print media on how events are interpreted in Dominica. Given the fact that we are residing away from Dominica, do we have the authority, expertise to analyze these events? That will ultimately have to be answered by the readers.

Whatever your opinions are on this matter, one must ask what are we trying to prove and what are the motivating forces for the sometimes-fruitless exercises in literature writing or if you may (or kind enough) journalism?

The simple reasons are some of us who are away from home and have print columns are only trying to generate meaningful debate and discussion in a pure unpolluted and uncontaminated political non- partisan manner.

Some say this is virtually impossible in Dominica. Despite this negative but maybe realistic point of view, one has to try and keep hammering away at that discomforting truth. With lucidity of mind and economy of expressions, and passion for truth and fairness, I dispatch my articles to this medium.

In so doing, I hope I am making a small contribution in the nature of some of the simple, yet complicated and contaminated issues, which serve only to divide further us as a nation and people. I also write because of my nostalgic memories and beauty of the countryside, Portsmouth and Roseau, the vigor, vitality and good-naturedness of our people, and the reverence for our colorful but painful history and most interesting culture.

What I hope my articles convey is an unconditional love and affection for our island home. I see a total telescopic picture of Dominica, in its many forms, simplicities, complications, beauty, and ugliness. I also see in a remorseful way that the political pettiness and myopic ways of thinking and acting on the part of some of our politicians (our so-called leaders) pose an unavoidable challenge to our supposedly victorious Dominican good values. Between the words and sentences, I am filled with emotion, nostalgia, joy and sometimes sadness, anger, restlessness and confusion.

One does not have to be physically present at home on the 'ground' to feel and understand these political, social or economic dynamics and currents. Why do I continue to write while (supposedly) enjoying life more than 2000 miles away from the banks of the Sari-Sari and Laronde rivers or Kingshill, Castle Bruce or Morne Daniel?

A deep moral conviction and love for Dominica are the compelling reasons. I am neither a politician nor journalist, but I hope my efforts and contributions will influence policy and debate and maybe result in change for the average Dominican. Along the way I try to provide useful opposition to the powers that be. That is what legitimate democracy is all about.

I believe that maybe out there I have a strong belief that my words in print will ultimately count and perhaps even right wrongs. Maybe these endeavours will probably help to gradually awaken our (so-called) leaders to the fact that petty politics and divisiveness can no longer be ignored and allowed to continue.

The combination of moral and ethical clarity, honesty and professionalism and humanity are the directions to travel in order to untangle some of the murky waters our nation and leaders find themselves in.

As a child of the late sixties and teenager of the mid-seventies, I write because of I am happy and thankful to be alive to bear witness and try to understand the rapid transformations and transitions (some negative) that Dominica has experience, and is experiencing. Our island home has embarked on two immense transitions.

The first is economic, social and education. The presence of more high schools are educating more of our young people, and the narrowing of income levels among many segments of the community are gradually reshaping the society.

These dynamics have unraveled the socio-economic dynamics of our country. The days when the neo-colonial petty bourgeoisie 'ran things' are gone forever. Sadly the decaying social and economic situation today and the near collapse of the economy are more than frightening and is fueling hate mongers and poisonous jealousness and crime. One hopes that these dynamics don't end up in violence.

A word of caution and advise should go out to the politicians and the police high command in this dark hour respectively; Please don't incite your supporters at this fragile and stressful time and please exercise restraint and good law enforcement judgments if and if when trouble erupts in the streets of Roseau. We cannot afford to repeat the events of May 29, 1979. In spite of this reality, we are a homogeneous society with a great of resiliency, love and affection for one another and country and we are all in this together.

With the sudden arrival and rise of the Asian Business class, certain piecing but important questions should be asked. How many Dominican nationals are employed in the thriving start- up businesses of these foreign (now Dominican) entities?

What does economic citizenship really mean today and what will it mean two decades from now? Will it mean that foreign governments can meddle in the internal affairs of Dominica? Will this new Asian business class participate in the political process in an active and progressive democratic way?

The current events surrounding the Layou hotel are very troubling and disturbing. It is easy to see why such vexing reports and developments are causing patriotic and fair-minded Dominicans to voice grave concerns and suspicions about these new Dominicans and the economic citizenship policy.

The second transition that our country is experiencing is political and legal. The political change and challenge is daunting. Who would have thought that an ex-sixties communist would be Dominica 's Prime Minister at the turn of this century in a coalition government?

Some say that with the arrival of this coalition nothing but confusion has taken place and 'Armageddon' is around the corner for Dominica if the coalition government remains in power. With the coalition government, it may be the worst of times, but in some twisted way, it is also the best of times for Dominica. This experiment showed that we were adopting a model, which indicates that we can agree to disagree as a people and get things done.

The world and region have been watching those political dynamics that are occurring in Roseau very closely. Sadly, the report card shows that this coalition model does not seem to be making the grade at this time.

Is it because of the economic situation that the coalition inherited or is it because of leadership and management problems within the coalition? Did people vote for Rosie Douglas or for the coalition and with his sad and untimely departure so did the hopes, plans and dreams of the coalition and the people?

Or the larger question is; is it time to invest in our systems and communities instead of listening to charismatic personalities (so-called leaders) who are doing little but getting our people involved in the 'snake pit' of backward, antiquated, divisive and petty politics? This writer's position is that it's a new day and we desperately need a new sense of order and new leadership.

These are some of the compelling reasons why I write. In spite of the fact that my listening and monitoring post is in Washington DC, my views of current events in Dominica are from the 'ground'.

Another interesting economic dynamic is the arrival of the Asian businessman and woman. How will that new dynamic affect us in the not too distant future? Will they and there Dominican born children assimilate and see themselves as patriotic Dominicans similar to the folks from the red dirt of Jalousie, Castle Bruce? Or will they just chose to influence politics from behind the scenes with their money and influences?

In so doing, I am sticking to basics; seeing, talking listening, reflecting, caring, analyzing and writing with clarity and conviction. I try desperately to stay in the center of political consciousness and rational objectivity. My one hope is that my contributions and that of the other objective writers are not futile. Nothing human is absolute or perfect, at the same time, nothing can be practically useless, or oblivious, at least not in the long run.

Volume No. 1 Issue No. 21
Dominica Faces Structural Adjustment
Rosie Douglas Foundation Donates over $150,000
Dominican Artist Exhibits Exquisite Work
The Roseau Cooperative Credit Union
Analysis of Events at Home
West Indies Cricket on the Rebound



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