Linton an anarchist?
Rev. Dr. William W. Watty
I was just about dismissing Dr. Aaron's contribution to the Chronicle of April 1 as his way of marking the occasion when a remark struck me as important enough to attempt a response. By and large the article was another illustration of the political philosophy he enunciated five years ago that "Politics is not about the truth", and therefore those who allow themselves to be taken in by his pronouncements deserve the confusion they yield and, hopefully, were able to share in the celebration.
For how else can anyone interpret the brazen distortions he has used in the attempt to portray Mr. Lennox Linton as an anarchist? Why could he not reveal the reason for Linton's refusal to make a nomination to the streamlined IPO Commission when it was staring him in the face? He said it himself. The objective of the amendment was a streamlining of the IPO Commission and Mr. Linton was only trying to extend the streamlining to its proper absurdity. Since streamlining rather than integrity and effectiveness was the over-riding concern, why should the reduction from seven stop at three or even at two when one puppet could have sufficed.
It is time for someone to inform Dr. Aaron and his comrades that not all the readers of the Chronicle have become so blinded and besotted by Party loyalty that they cannot distinguish truth from propaganda and sense from nonsense, and he must stop insulting the intelligence of readers who expected better from him. Embarrassing, frustrating and upsetting as the stand taken by the Leader of the Opposition might be, the Prime Minister and his colleagues must understand that they cannot eat their cake and have it. You cannot streamline the IPO Commission to impotence and then take offence that your achievement has not been greeted by right-thinking Dominicans with a round of applause and a vote of thanks by the Leader of the Opposition. It will not work. It will backfire. He must understand that what he did was wrong and, instead of taking umbrage, he would be well advised to go back to the drawing-board and come with something better and worthier of our Commonwealth.
However, it was not that, but something else Dr. Aaron wrote as representing the Prime Minister's objection to Mr. Linton's response that has agitated me to respond. It was the suggestion that dissent from, or refusal to co-operate with, whatever was required by an enactment was tantamount to breaking the law; and therefore, by his refusal to make a nomination to the streamlined IPO Commission as the new enactment required, Mr. Linton must be deemed an anarchist. That is a slur that I am obliged to reject as both vile and dangerous. It is precisely from such strange sentiments that dictatorships originate. It is when Governments begin to arrogate to themselves the right to make demands that encroach upon the freedom of citizens to dissent and begin to over-reach themselves that the time has come to call a halt. It must stop right there and must not be allowed to proceed any further. It happens to be my opinion that, because the freedom of the IPO Commission from political interference was becoming inconvenient, a streamlining towards impotence became necessary, and therefore the Leader of the Opposition was perfectly in order to signify his own dissent and that of others who shared his concern that the new shaping of the Commission neither needed nor deserved co-operation.
If that was anarchy, then clearly it did not start with Mr. Linton. It originated in an amendment to an Act that needed no amendment. It was conceived in a plan to streamline the IPO Commission that required no streamlining. Mr. Linton is a Methodist, not an anarchist; and our Democracy must not become degraded to a camouflage for a dictatorship of the majority. By its recognition of a Parliamentary Opposition and its Leader, our Constitution has legitimized the right of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Dominica, even when they are numerically a minority, to register their objections and dissent as and when occasions require, as well outside the Parliament as within. Let us keep it that way.