WHAT THE REEL IRIE CASE SAYS ABOUT ALLEN CHASTANET
This is not an article. It’s a movie.
Mid-2014: The tall, dirty white rich boy was on his way to becoming prime minister. It would be like being a Third World dictator with all the perks of being white thrown in. None of the little Negroes in his party would be able to stop him. He already had the coolie moving his baggage.
The government of the day was doing everything in its power to fuck everything up in a procedural correct fashion.
The world economy was doing its part, what with Putin and the Tea Party and whatever. It was all going according to plan.
Of all the tribal chiefs in the world, he would be the whitest.
The sun was setting on the Golf Course. As the white prince rode into the lounge, the news was on. And the nightmare began.
THE REEL IRIE VIBE
The Reel Irie case was coming back to haunt him, even as it haunted the former Port Authority general manager and sitting Speaker of the House. That bastard Bob Leotaud was a pain in the ass that wouldn’t go away. Three years he fought for a goddam fishing license. Some people just don’t know when they are beaten. Leotaud didn’t.
That’s probably why he won.
Flashback to the good old days.
2009: Some nobody, dirty white little Trini (Leotaud) with some money wanted a fishing license and some dirty white, nothing little Lucians (names withheld) didn’t want him to have it. Dirty white tribal war. Over a fishing license. He tried to avoid it. But of course, being the dirty white minister of dirty white affairs, Allen Chastanet knew it would eventually fall on his plate.
Once it did, he deftly scooped it off and put it in someone else’s plate. And that was the end of that.
Until today. Fast forward back to 2014.
The news of the Trini’s victory in the Reel Irie case topped the news that night. The next day and night, in fact, for the next week, in fact, the social media and talk shows were burning with rage, not just against Port Authority, but against the Speaker of the House.
The white prince couldn’t look himself in the mirror for a moment.
If this kept going much longer, it would turn against him, the former tourism minister (for not putting a stop to it) and to a lesser extent against the present tourism minister (who also didn’t put a stop to it).
History showed that it was insignificant nonsense like this that always triggered things off.
Fortunately for the Chas-ter, he didn’t know history or care very much for it.
WHY WON’T SOME PEOPLE GO AWAY?
The prime time talk shows that Wednesday kept the fire burning. Chastanet knew that if this went on much longer, he was going to get burned for his part in this.
“The Reel Irie case has pulled the cobwebs from Lucian eyes on many issues,” said one political commentator. “From the statutory corporations to the politicians to the lawyers and judges, these people don’t have our interests at heart. And they have no respect for rule of law.
“Our two major parties are not regionalist. They’re lip service-ist.
“Our statutory corporations are rife with personal agendas, bad governance and just plain selfish, self-absorbed fools (No, Sean Matthews, I am not just talking about you. Other people are selfish and self-obsessed, too.) Our Speaker of the House has his name in the mud and he is walking everywhere proud as though he doesn’t care.
“Our prime minister is apparently a coward and all kinds of nonsense can take place with his tacit permission. He ain’t no Richard Frederick, but still, one expected better.
But what about our erstwhile political leader of the opposition? He was tourism minister at the time Bob Leotaud started getting the shaft from SLASPA. What does Leotaud reveal about the United Workers Party’s Great White Dope?”
Great White Dope. The white prince shuddered to think what would happen if that name stuck.
But even worse, he realized that here he was promoting himself as Mr Economics and Good Sense, while the Reel Irie case kind of exposed his twisted version of free market economics as bullshit.
I’M A GENIUS, I’M A JACKASS
Reel Irie was inspired, ironically enough, by him. He inspired Leotaud to want to invest in St Lucia.
“He was making this speech about village tourism and I thought, yeah, this guy really has the right idea. He really gets it,” Leotaud was telling reporters on the television news repeat the next morning. The white prince looked himself in the mirror and realized two things.
First, he realized that he was a genius for inspiring an eminently capable and persisted man like Leotaud to found a company, based on a speech he made. Secondly, he realized that he was a total sub-literate asshole for betraying his own vision when it came to him, begging to be rescued from the Philistines.
He snapped back to reality and tried to think of golf courses, but could only see his own stupid face staring back at him, even with his eyes closed.
“Mirror,mirror, on the wall,” he began and gave up the effort. Then, he answered the unfinished question.
“You really are a Great White Dope,” his reflection told him.
His mind drifted back to when he made the big mistake.
THE BIG MISTAKE
Back in 2009, Robert Leotaud was excited to meet Chastanet. The Trini thought he was going to meet some kind of rock star visionary, the rebirth of Compton or something. If Chastanet had simply done what his own experts had advised him to do, Bob Leotaud might be one of his biggest supporters today. Ching-ching!$!$!
The first indication that Leotaud got that he was wrong was that his meeting with the minister was at the Golf and Country Club. You know that place near Cas en Bas that tried to move the world famous Majorie’s Beach Shack off the beach so they could hit little white balls with skinny metal clubs in the hopes of dropping a ball in a black hole surrounded by low cut bush?
The same place where ministers of the former government would go to drink other people’s win and scare off investors by asking for million dollar ‘campaign contributions’ before anyone was even properly introduced?
Yeah, that place.
Leotaud pleaded his case. There wasn’t much to plead. They were denying him something that is every CARICOM citizen’s right for no good reason. Leotaud would never have imagined that Chastanet would betray his own village tourism concept. Majorie from the beach shack would. But she knew more than Leotaud, who still thought Chas was a hero.
But the Great White Dope’s final answer to Leotaud, who was implementing Chastanet’s own village tourism line, was, “You’re on your own buddy. Fight your own battles.”
Leotaud was like, “Wait…this was your idea, dude. This is your vision. Your baby…”
Chastanet looked back as though he couldn’t even see him. So much for vision.
Faced with a legitimate and unique opportunity for St Lucia, Chastanet did not do the right thing. He did not stand up against SLASPA’s unprovoked injustice. He let it slide because the injustice would benefit people who look just like him, smell just like him and carry Lucian passport without having real love for this country’s people…just like him.
ME AGAINST THE WORLD
Allen Chastanet’s own ministry was all on board with obeying the law and using this Trini’s idea to grow opportunity in St Lucia.
His Watercraft Advisory Committee was never, at any point, against Reel Irie getting the license. His permanent secretary alerted him that denying the license was illegal. At the last hearing, where SLASPA conceded defeat, that permanent secretary practically sold out Chastanet and the then management of SLASPA, sealing their fate. (With both Chastanet and Matthews gone, that PS was no longer bound by the culture of cowardice that besets the professional and intellectual classes in St Lucia.)
Why would Chastanet, a man who promotes himself as the facilitator of all economic opportunities, even including Keith Mondesir’s attempts to buy home furnishings with tourism concessions while he was a cabinet minister, not have stood up for opportunity?
The answer is simple.
Allen Chastanet does not represent an ethos of opportunity for all. His ethos is opportunity for himself. He was the first person in this entire chain of events who had an opportunity to stand for what was right and he didn’t.
EPILOGUE: For the Unforgotten and the Unforgiven
And he was only one Flambeau minister to help screw this up. Another one who put his mouth in this mess has stayed remarkably quiet. Perhaps he’s hoping this will blow over before anyone points a finger at him.
So much for that.
You will get yours, Guy Joseph. You will get yours.