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Former political leader of the Dominica Freedom Party Kent Vital
Former political leader of the Dominica Freedom Party Kent Vital

Are we losing our nation? Surely, we are! Can we save our nation? Yes, we can. But how? We the people who are supposed to be full of Godly reverent fear, must humble ourselves, pray, seek God's face and turn from our wicked ways. Then God will forgive our sins and heal our land.

But in this article let us spend a little more time discussing the first question. When we became an independent nation in 1978 and even before then when we gained associated statehood in 1967, our aspiration was to fashion a nation that would be free from domination by colonial masters.

Towards building a prosperous nation, we called on sons and daughters of the "Gem Beyond Compare" to come forward, strive for honour, do the right things, be firm, be fair, toil with hearts and hands and voices; and we called for all of this under the principle – "All for Each and Each for All".

In such a nation we would surely all rejoice!

But are we falling into the hands of new colonial powers? Are we falling into the hands of the would-be oligarchs who engage in extraction and exploitation just as the colonial masters did?

Our development requires that we seek to invest and given limited domestic savings we have sought foreign savings from private individuals or through official development assistance. We do need such foreign injections – but our partnership with foreign investors and with countries that provide development assistance must be to the mutual benefit of the investors and the people of the land.

We should not sell the birthrights of the people in the name of investments. We must not allow our country to get to that situation where other people who enter under the guise of investment end up becoming the new colonial masters. On that score, is Dominica being targeted for Chinese colonialization? Maybe so, but not in the ways it was done by the Europeans, but initially through economic domination and subsequently through population takeover and ultimately political control. Is there a long-term "colonization" plan? If so, I just hope that by the time we wake up it is not too late – having already lost this "Gem Beyond Compare" to other people. Yeah, we would still be here, but largely as the underclass!

Are the foundations being set – the spiritual foundation, the economic foundation, the purchase of land, the diplomatic overreach that is apparent through the miring of Dominica in their geopolitical struggle with the USA, the debt trap and perhaps even through the presence of some military assets? But what is sad is that they may be doing it with the complicity of the current Prime Minister of Dominica and clearly, there is deliberately no transparency on these matters from our government. Opportunistic governments and corrupt foreign investors clearly recognize that the greed and the lack of wisdom with which the government of Dominica has operated over the last 20 years can be exploited.

Let me make it clear that I am not against the Chinese or any group of people. But I am for my people and I will never sell them out to the Chinese or to the Americans or to anyone else. Many of us are familiar with the famous sayings of Errol Barrow – the first Prime Minister of Barbados, concerning being friends of all. Let me quote a part of his address made to the United Nations when Barbados was admitted in December 1966.

"We shall not involve ourselves in sterile ideological wrangling because we are exponents not of the diplomacy of power, but of the diplomacy of peace and prosperity. We will not regard any great power as necessarily right in a given dispute unless we are convinced of this, yet at the same time, we will not view the great powers with perennial suspicion merely on account of their size, their wealth, or their nuclear potential. We will be friends of all, satellites of none."

This is still relevant today. I love democracy but we must not be ruled by America! And I think free-market enterprise is superior to communism but when Dominica is once again lead by honest and talented people, we will chart our own course based on pragmatism and logical thinking. By the way, the Chinese also think capitalism is superior to communism too and much of the high economic growth in that country over the last three decades has been due to the exercise of capitalism in that country (their controlled brand of it) and they certainly engage in state capitalism! But, nations like ours must guard against Chinese state capitalism which in many cases, is exercised by China on the global stage to reinforce their imperialistic agenda. Dominica must not be caught in that web; but alas, we are being caught! Let us continue that discussion next week.

Kent Vital

Economist


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