"Eef u was???" U ain'!!
Rev. Dr. William Watty
Even as I write I am in two minds whether to respond to Parbel's psycho-analysis of himself, which appeared in the Chronicle of February 5th by simulating me, or just ignore him; for he seems to be someone who just arrived from a parallel universe where "fishes flew and forests walked and figs grew upon thorns"; for he only had to ask, and I could show him in a consistent pattern, that the same period of "30 years or so", (which would bring us back to 1986 or to 1976 -2016, allowing for "or so"), when he saw my star consistently falling, was precisely the period, immediately preceding my retirement when whatever little "star" I had was soaring to its little zenith. Indeed, had he not named me, I would have concluded that he was writing about someone else, probably himself.
I would also, if he had only asked, have produced all my Passports, cancelled and current, to show that in the same era of Dame Eugenia Charles' government when, according Parbel's well-kept records, I was consumed with jealousy of her world-wide renown as a powerful and visionary leader, I was nowhere in or near her domain, but was so happily settled in "Jamaica – Land we love", that to this day, I do not hesitate to declare that I still have a stronger sense of home-coming landing on Norman Washington Manley International Airport than I do approaching whatever it is we wish to call the landing strip at Melville Hall. In Jamaica my hands were full, first as lecturer at the United Theological College of the West Indies (1972-76), and then as the Fourth President of the same Theological Institution (1976-85), need I go on? Furthermore, Jamaica under the leadership of Michael Manley and then Edward Seaga offered such a useful laboratory for the study of Politics in the Caribbean that I had neither time nor inclination to be preoccupied with was going on in Dominica, except to say this, that my every meeting with the Prime Minister on my fleeting visits remains fragrant in memory for its cordiality and openness and mutual esteem. Space does not permit me to elaborate, but I will only add that our last conversation was by telephone in the evening of November 03, 2000 – the day when she received the Dominica Award of Honour, and I, the Sisserou Award of Honour. She called to congratulate me; but I was unable to find any space even to reciprocate because, once she started, she kept on talking non-stop for over half an hour, pouring out everything to me that was in her heart and on her mind after which we had time only to bid each other good-night before she abruptly hung up. For whatever reason, Dame Eugenia Charles, that night, told me everything. So I know what I am writing about.
I must therefore conclude that Parbel has a problem that needs attention. He seems to relapse, every now and again, into these wild conjectures, and because they seem so real to him and suitable for the picture he wishes to compose, he regards them as history and makes the mental transition from what he feels ought to have happened to what, he is convinced, actually happened. Personally, I don't mind. I can tolerate, even welcome, his musings as light relief, seeing The Chronicle does not offer its readers cartoons like Mutt and Jeff; but seriously, Dominica is not so overrun with Tabloids that so much valuable space can be so devoted to entertainment so regularly. Management must therefore be a little more sensitive and discriminating, lest the aptitude and forbearance of its longsuffering readership be exhausted.
Again, if I had only been asked, I could have improved his understanding of colonialism and what the process of de-colonization entailed. This, I grant, might have traumatized him at the first but, in the long run, it would have clarified for him my position regarding the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) vis-à-vis the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as a Final Appellate Jurisdiction. I find it curious that someone, in 2016, can be guaranteed space in a local Tabloid, but did not know that "Colonialism" was not a phenomenon that pertained only to the European nations that imposed themselves on the peoples in the Caribbean and other parts of The Third World, and therefore it did not expire in Dominica when one Flag was lowered and another was hoisted. That was only the prelude to the real struggle that few of us want to hear or talk or think about because it is so glaring, so explosive and so close. I mean the internal colonialism that frustrates genuine participation in decision-making, that makes those elected to Government feel that they have now become the new colonial masters, that Dominica is their property and they are entitled to do what they like, as they like, without giving account to anybody; and those who do not like it can lump it and go to wherever it is that they have booked their one-way passage. I find it curious to have to remind anyone that that is precisely what all the agitation was about in 1979, which brought down the Patrick John Administration here, and ousted the Eric Gairy regime in Grenada. But we so easily forget, it seems that we learn nothing; and so we keep coming back to square one. Our Political Leadership still thinks it is smart politics to play with their cards close to their chests, to keep the people in the dark, to avoid disclosure and resist debate, to make whatever deals they like with whomsoever they like on their own, and anyone who asks questions or is critical runs the risk of being branded a traitor. The madness is returning full swing, but Parbel believes that when, "30 years ago" I denounced colonialism, I was referring only to Britain and therefore, my difficulty in swallowing the CCJ, hook line and sinker, because I feared (and still fear) the danger of political interference, is hypocrisy on my part. Dream on, Parbel, dream on.
Last, but not least, there is the recent judgment handed down by the Privy Council, of which, so Parbel claims, I was "VERY DISMISSIVE" (sic), and therefore "profoundly hypocritical" because I once preferred the Privy Council to the CCJ. Let us assume that his allegation is fair, is he then suggesting that because he preferred the taste of rancid cheese to chalk, it would have been profoundly hypocritical of him to observe that the cheese was rancid? But where was I ever dismissive of the judgment that was handed down by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council? I give Parbel the rest of his natural life to point out that place to me. I can wait.