Country vs. Roseau: Politics Aren't Always That Way
There has always been an urban-rural-county-Roseau political divide and divergence in Dominican politics. But today one would argue that should be a long- forgotten history. Well, not really, just ask the man who occupies the Prime Minister's office.
In January Roosevelt Skerrit said at a town-hall meeting in the northern village of Penville that his detractors are trying to chase him out of Roseau and they will not succeed. It's unfortunate that in 2013 (not 1963) that such inflammatory rancor on this non-issue is brought up for selfish political gains. Is it because Skerrit may be in trouble and stressed out with the citizenship case and the matter that is before the IPO he is employing a pirate type of public defense with country folks? But Skerrit's myopic pronouncements in Penville to standing applause may have reopened old wounds. In the 60s and 70s the Labour Party was the party of the rural poor and DFP was that of the of the Roseau based bourgeoisie—the party of the big man (gow borg). Labour was the party of the rural peasantry -of the little man (petite boug).
I would like to think that we have past that marker. Instead of rekindling and fanning the flames of a bygone era, maybe the PM can build light industries in the countryside where famers can supply higher value products and services to town at higher prices rather than just the unrefined raw materials and products (dasheen, bananas etc.). Anything to make rural folks prosper economically. It sure beats bellowing out empty and antiquated rhetoric to folks who are seeking real leadership and direction.
Skerrit maybe thinking of Premier LeBlanc who was the first native political leader from the countryside to run things in Dominica during the neo-colonial period. This was a very different time and Dominica was a different place. Or maybe he is thinking of his nemesis, Mr. Edison James, the leader of the rural farmers based UWP who some say was ran out of town after four years as PM. Mr. James' demise came when he hastily decided (after believing his pollsters) and announced that new elections would be in a month at a mid-night out door music festival in the wee hours of New Year's Day in 2000.
So if Skerrit is exploiting the Roseau-country divide for political gain that's one thing. In so doing, he is not educating or elevating rural people nor is he being prime ministerial. If he wants to speak from a historical and socio-economic perspective of town vs. country then that is an entirely different issue. But then again Skerrit wants to have his cake and eat it too. Do the Roseau-based merchants who support him in exchange for having him in their back pockets have anything to do with the fact that he is from the country and they are from town and foreign lands? Skerrit also said at the town-hall meeting that is he is a Roseau person. Isn't he from France as well? What about Vieille Case?