Black Power in the Caribbean. In this Book. Additional Information. Table of Contents. Cover Download Save. Title Page, Copyright Page pp. In Jamaica, Edward P. To be sure, the People's National Party was ripe for defeat because of its people oriented, radical, leftist policies. Seaga convinced Jamaicans that Michael Manley had simply lost touch with reality and had failed miserably in his attempts to create that misguided utopia in Jamaica.
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This is significant because both the party and present leader were noted for their leftist rhetoric, even if as early as the 's, the party had become a captive of important Dominican merchant classes. Already there was a pragmatism in the party. It was Patrick John, then leader of the party and Prime Minister, who consorted with South Africa at a time when the world sought to treat South Africa as a pariah country because of its racialist policies.
Eugenia Charles. Charles managed to make personal rule, authoritarianism, respectable as she aligned herself with the US to further legitimize her style of rule. She never openly attacked government for being too intrusive; she wisely and judiciously used government perks to selectively reward friends, confidants and associates, including the poor. She so perfected patron-client politics that she earned the sobriquet MAMO, mother, mother to all Dominicans, even though she has no children and was never married.
She paid the tuition for a number of youngsters, who otherwise would not have attended secondary school. She was also compared to Margaret Thatcher and dubbed the iron lady of the Caribbean. It was that rugged individualism she so sternly cultivated that gave her the reputation as a guardian of freedom against invasive government. By personally controlling the state within the context of a capitalist system, Eugenia convinced Dominicans that she was personally guaranteeing them their freedom and regaining the respectability that Dominica once enjoyed before John sullied the good name of the country.
She could point with pride that Dominica could never be another Grenada or Cuba under her watch. She used all the institutions of the state to prevent her detractors from ever succeeding in their efforts to compromise freedom and eliminate democratic elections as had been done in Grenada. She eviscerated her opponents and her persona evinced unprecedented confidence.
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Thus sensing that most Dominicans felt that Mamo was believable and trustworthy, the DLP had no choice but to concede victory to her, if not to her party. The New Labour Party has begun a replication of the Charles genre. But that friendly entity will provide the environment for a more responsible citizen to feel satisfied that the state affords every opportunity for the realization of one's life chances.
The DLP has sought to redefine the relationship between Dominicans and their state. In the late 's Caribbean regimes came to power by convincing the polity, whom independence had failed, that the state existed to provide a cradle to grave service to them. To make matters worse, the small native middle class did not measure up to the task of playing their traditional role of creating jobs for a growing population.
And in their search for immediate solutions for constant underdevelopment, the political elites sought to use the state as a business class to deliver on their perennial promise of "better must come. In Jamaica, Michael Manley tried to make the government the absolute force driving the economy, with minimal to no help from the private sector. In his efforts to make the "little man a real man," Forbes Burnham of Guyana favoured co-operatives as the main agents of the national economy.
Burnham's Guyanese system would be made complete when every Guyanese would refer to each other as Comrade and all government belongings were to be designated as properties of the people. These policies were intended to energize individual participation in all aspects of national life. But this all inclusive style of governance was perceived by a well organized right leaning group as threatening the social order and dangerously attacking the civility of society.
That element felt that such an open participatory society could conceivably lead to an overly permissive situation which could degenerate into lawlessness. And ultimately, this fluidity could threaten the life line of society: the state fathers, the elites, the movers and shakers, those who actually kept the engines of the economy moving. Eugenia Charles successfully ended all politics of clientelism, but maintained patronism.
She convinced Dominicans that this open government style was not only deceitful but was also dangerously disruptive.
International Journal of Postcolonial Studies
She skillfully took "permissive" government away from the office and placed it in the community. She cavorted with her gossip mongering clients in the community rather than in government offices. The DLP has profited from her style. New Labour now calls on all "capitalists" - women and men, workers, youths, artists, farmers, business people at home and abroad to join in But it had conveyed that entreaty in such a way that it became threatening to the business interests and other established institutions such as the Church.
A past DLP Premier once told secondary school children that they could drop in on him unannounced and he will do everything in his power to address any concerns that they may have. Institutional leaders saw that style as undermining their authority over their flock. More directly, that open door policy was perceived as an attack on the bourgeois class who preferred to have the business of government conducted with more decorum and behind closed doors. That attempt at comprehensive inclusion was equated with anarchy and if left unchecked, could lead to a highly fractious society bereft of strong institutions such as school and family.
Therefore, the DLP has been put on the defensive to prove that should it form the government, it will not put the state at the disposal of non-productive elements. Instead, it will uphold individual freedoms and rights just as the Eugenia DFP had done. It will merely make it easier for all energetic and hard working people to have equal opportunity in open competition, to participate in the economic development of the state. The DLP will mold the new energetic Dominican citizen; the one who will categorically renounce any claims that the state owes anything to anyone.
Of course, New Labour will provide the tools and environment to help the individual make that contribution.
And to reassure the doubters of his commitment to personal freedom, the party leader has renounced his affiliation with Fidel Castro who previously provided several medical and other technical training to Dominicans on the behest of the leader. New DLP has now landed in the real world; it is now mainstream.
The Caribbean political parties defeated in general elections in the late 's recognized that their usual political stance had atrophied and oppositions had successfully portrayed them as having lost touch with reality. The Michael Manley regime, soundly defeated in , restructured itself and was already an effective challenger to the JLP by The JLP was failing in its attempts to reinvigorate elite economic dominance; it could not eliminate many of the state enterprises that the Manley government had erected and at the same time give Jamaicans the economic good life it had promised during the campaign.
By making goods readily available, Seaga was compromising the ability of the economic elites to profit from a situation of shortages. The JLP had to rely on the Grenada leftist fiasco to secure a second term even though constitutionally, there were two remaining years on the life of the government. The party disingenuously convinced Jamaicans that a return of a Manley regime would spell disaster in Jamaica as befell Grenada.
Despite American effort to prop up the JLP, Seaga could not convince the people that the system created by Manley was unrealistic and destructive. However, Seaga managed to return a great deal of social, if not economic stability to the state. He accomplished such by reminding Jamaicans that their dominant sensibility was to emphasize individual responsibility and self discipline. That the government was there, not to take away the individual's ability to help self but to provide an environment for business to thrive, which in turn, would enhance individual productivity through the creation of much needed jobs.
Similarly, the PNP realized that while its people empowerment rhetoric garnered much votes in the context of a propagandizing machine, that atmosphere of confrontation with the private sector and its international sponsors was not helping the domestic situation. The PNP recognized that capital was drying up or moving to more hospitable climes. To regain power, the PNP knew that it could not continue to denigrate international capitalism and expect that system to come to its rescue. And besides, it knew that the fortunes of capitalism have rose considerably.
Such are the examples the New DLP has had to mimic. The New DLP has finally realized that Dominica, like the rest of the region operates within the context of a regional, international market economy. It recognized that this economic system is sustained by a cultural tradition which accepts the reality that Caribbean economies are dependent economies.