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Impunity in Governance

by Dickson Igwe
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Dickson Igwe, resident socio-economic and political columnist

The well-worn cliché, that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, is an assertion that should guide Julius Caesar, if he or she wants a wholesome, happy, and lengthy tenure in office. Sadly it never really does. When he possesses power, Caesar is unrestrained in his appetites.

Now residents are very angry. That reality is very easy to observe. Simply listen to what people say in every situation. Any ‘’prophet’’ who is worth their weight in gold must come out and predict an outcome. 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.

Now, one of the evils in politics is the tendency of power to become uncontrolled, abused, and corrupt: unrestrained. 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 friends. Power becomes a tool of greed and oppression. Power becomes a tool of self- aggrandizement.

He who controls the purse strings runs the country. He or she is able to use patronage and favor 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 favor include students from needy homes, struggling farmers and small businesses, residents requiring affordable homes, and so on and so forth.

At a time thousands scream at the high cost of living, how can it be justified that millions of dollars is dubiously channeled by Caesar to residents not in need, rich even, but who happen to be ‘’well connected’’ to Julius Caesar? All the while that 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 he?

Residents of the Virgin Islands in recent times have stood by numb, as financial scandals appear to get worse as each moment passes. 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 one Harry Truman asserted, “show me a man that gets rich by being a politician, and I will show you a crook.”

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Dickson Igwe

Dickson Igwe

Dickson Igwe is an education official in the Virgin Islands. He is also a national sea safety instructor. He writes a national column across media and has authored a story book on the Caribbean: ‘The Adventures of a West Indian Villager’. Dickson is focused on economics articles, and he believes economics holds the answer to the full economic and social development of the Caribbean. He is of both West African and Caribbean heritage. Dickson is married with one son.


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