Saving our Nation Part III
Freedom Speaks Column
In any society harmful attitudes and values are always exist alongside positive ones, but when harmful attitudes and values become predominant or sufficiently significant, they can lead to the destruction of societies.
In this series we are referencing the seven things that Mahatma Ghandi noted that will destroy humanity (the seven deadly sins) and we recognise that indeed, many of these are currently destroying our nation.
The seven things are (1) Politics without principles; (2) pleasure without conscience; (3) wealth without work; (4) knowledge without character; (5) business without morality; (6) science without humanity; and (7) worship without faith. Saving our nation will require us to reverse associated negative cultures and promote positive ones.
In the last two articles we spoke in some detail about how the first listed point – politics without principles, is wrecking our beautiful Dominica. In the next few articles, we will expound on three more of the deadly sins – wealth without work, knowledge without character and business without morality.
Wealth without work
This deadly sin essentially is about getting something of value in exchange for nothing or unjustly in exchange for very little effort. This is really an ungodly character – greed and the Scriptures have much to say about that.
Proverbs 13:11 says: "Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it."
Ecclesiastes 5:10 says: "He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity."
Proverbs 22:16 says: "Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty."
But in today's society, more and more persons are attracted to the notion that one can get rich without much work. There may be some initial effort, but soon you can have wealth without much work – so it is reasoned. Increasingly, our judgement has been distorted (our consciences seared) and such notions replaces the culture of hard and smart work.
There are many manifestations of wealth without work in our country. One could easily point to the obvious cases such as robbery and the recent case of armed robbery in our country has alarmed all of us. But this brazen case of armed robbery was perhaps in part a reflection that the deadly sin - wealth without work- has taken deeper root in our society given the examples portrayed by the ruling political regime.
Just look at the case of the unaccounted 1.2bn dollars in the 2019/20 budget. By the Prime Minister's own admission, this amount was received and placed in an account outside of the country for the purpose of housing. Well in the first place if that was indeed what was done, then that move would have been illegal. But most of us are of the view that this is a lie anyway and we think that much of that money was misused, otherwise why can't that money now be brought back in to be used in our time of crisis?
And the 1.2bn dollars saga is just one of many instances. But many of our people know the truth behind those matters even those who support the ruling regime and those who profess to know God, but some of us stifle our conscience and many turn their heads away simply because they have also benefited personally through favors. Many of our young men have been seeing government officials and the political directorate acquiring wealth without work and such extreme bad examples is helping to deepen a culture of corruption in our land and this is contributing to the destruction of our nation.
But besides direct theft, there are many other manifestations in Dominica of the deadly sin - wealth without work. This includes exploitation, extortion, false advertising, dealing in illicit drugs, business manipulation, benefiting from government programmes unjustly or corruptly, avoidance and evasion of taxes, enjoying the perks of citizenship of a country without assuming any of the risks and responsibilities, and get-rich-quick schemes including pyramid schemes.
Take for instance that so many of our Caribbean people have traveled to the USA to give birth so that their children can benefit from the perks of US citizenship. This is wrong and somehow many of us have come to accept that as being ok! I am not seeking to condemn but rather for us to recondition our thinking. Moreover, in recent times there are a few "get rich" schemes being run in the country. If there is no real or portfolio investments involved and persons get a return on their investment simply through the investment of persons coming in later in the scheme, then this is wrong. This is wealth without work. Those early enough in the scheme will get a return, but many of th0se investing later will lose their money. If you participate in such schemes, you are actually stealing from someone down the line.
Let us continue with this discussion next week.
Kent Vital Political Leader Dominica Freedom Party