It is a well-worn cliché that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This advice should guide leaders who want a wholesome, happy and lengthy tenure in office. Sadly, it never really does. When he possesses power, Julius Caesar is unrestrained in his appetites. Residents get very angry as a result. That reality is very easy to observe. Simply listen to what people say in every situation.
Here, any “prophet” who is worth their weight in gold must come out and predict an outcome to the coming election. But that will not happen. Why? Angry voters are the most unpredictable group on earth. An angry voter may not be the most rational individual: So where he or she places his or her X is anyone’s guess.
One of the evils in politics is the tendency of power to become uncontrolled, abused and corrupt. That is nothing new. Honesty and restraint are rare virtues in governance. History is loaded with examples of rulers using the power of their office to enrich themselves, their families and their friends. Power becomes a tool of greed, oppression and self- aggrandisement.
He or she who controls the purse strings runs the territory. He or she is able to use patronage and favour to keep Joe Public in line. Family and friend get the biggest piece of the pie: All others must seek for the crumbs that fall from the table, or worse. This is trickle-down on steroids.
Handing out public money to family, friend and supporter is a gross abuse of office. It is injustice — “entitlement” run berserk. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth of Joe Public and is the chief reason there is so much anger out there. Those omitted from favour include students from needy homes, struggling farmers and small businesses, residents requiring affordable homes, and so on.
At a time when thousands are crying out about the high cost of living, how can it be justified that millions of dollars are dubiously channelled by Caesar to residents not in need — who may even be rich — but who happen to be “well connected” to Caesar? Meanwhile, those who the cash grants and stimulus are truly intended for are ignored. That is the very definition of wickedness. Wickedness and impunity are synonyms. How dare they?
In the VI
Residents of the Virgin Islands in recent times have stood by numb as financial scandals appear to get worse with each moment. The stories on the street corners of cash handouts to the tune of millions of dollars to family, friends and supporters of Caesar are a horror story. It is as bad as the looting of treasuries of some banana republic.
If power is impunity’s sibling, then it takes a man or woman of virtue to handle power with humility.
Once upon a time, Harry Truman, who served as United States president from 1945 to 1953, asserted, “Show me a man that gets rich by being a politician, and I will show you a crook.”
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