Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Greatest Threat to our Democracy

Anthony Waddy Astaphan, the mouthpiece and puppet master of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has been called many things but one thing that seems to have escaped him so far is this; he is an existential threat to democracy in Dominica and the lives of its people. To understand why this is so, you must first appreciate what Astaphan does for Roosevelt Skerrit and to the people of Dominica.

First, let us all acknowledge that Dominicans, by and large, fear the legal system; they do not like it nor do they want to find themselves in any situation where they may end up in court. Astaphan knows that and, with the title "senior counsel" in his back pocket, uses his manufactured prominence with great effect, striking fear, real and imagined, into the minds of ordinary people who may be led to subconsciously believe that should they cross him or whomever he represents, they would have to deal with him, the enforcer. And Astaphan is his own PR machine; he does not need a marketing team - he can sell himself because he has the gift of gab. Putting all this together, he takes to the airwaves and proceeds to malign and vilify all Dominicans with whom he has issues. And these victims seem impotent, incapable of returning the fire. It's been an effective strategy, so far.

What has been amazing to us is the inability or unwillingness of Dominicans to skin Astaphan. It seems like Anthony Astaphan has bullied the population into submission. Everyone knows he lies yet they do very little, if anything, to counter his lies effectively, let alone shut him up. Is it because they fear being sued? Are other members of the legal fraternity unwilling to take cases that would pit them against Astaphan? What is it about this lawyer prostitute that makes people avoid him as if he has some deadly communicable disease? And what is it that makes this man so invaluable to Skerrit?

Dominica's conjoined twins Roosevelt Skerrit and Anthony Astaphan are a match made in hell; the former rapes the country of its resources while the latter keeps the former out of jail - again, so far. While Skerrit is busy emptying the treasury, enriching himself and his cronies, for large fees Astaphan has been ensuring that Skerrit is protected and allowed to do as he please. Skerrit, who cannot be described as being an orator, is incapable of speaking at length without a written speech, chews on his words whenever he makes an attempt to ad lib, and is a man not averse to serving us with an occasional word salad, has come to rely on the verbal prowess of Astaphan whenever the need arises where blowing smoke up our collective arses is the requisite prescription.

As a lawyer, Anthony Astaphan's success is mediocre at best, and that's being generous; there is not much there as far as legal skills are concerned. But we knew that long ago; he constantly trailed at the bottom of his law class to the extent where he was reportedly threatened by his father that if he failed to graduate he should not bother to return home. In choosing a path to what he believed would be his success, he apparently chose to invest his time into making loud noises in an attempt to bully and intimidate his adversaries into submission, which is why more often than not, he presses for settlements instead of actual litigation. When he does end up in the courtroom, his success rate ranges from substandard to average, with a sprinkling of fraudulent acts; not exactly an exemplary record for an attorney who trots around with the title "senior counsel". Senior Clownsel may be more appropriate. In recent high profile cases, senior clownsel Astaphan has produced spectacular failures and, true to his nature, he then turns around and ascribes blame to everyone but his lack of skill when faced with a real lawyer. That's Tony, or "Tammy Tutillini", as he recently renamed himself, in a nutshell.

Anthony "Tammy Tutillini" Astaphan's bombast is what endears him to Roosevelt Skerrit, and Mr. Skerrit is holding on to him for dear life. But Mr. Skerrit is hugging a cactus tree. While he draws on Astaphan's bullying to keep the population in line and his political opposition off their feet, Astaphan is causing tremendous damage to Skerrit in the court of public opinion. Dominicans generally despise Anthony Astaphan; the only segment of the population who views him favourably are Mr. Skerrit's hard core supporters. In fact, a significant amount of Labourites despise Astaphan as well because, while they recognize and love the bullying of the opposition, they simultaneously recognize that the hatred of Astaphan that exists among the wider population does significant PR damage to Skerrit and the party. The hatred of Astaphan is partly the reason why Skerrit must spend to bribe people for support. Had Mr. Skerrit not been constrained by the revulsion of Astaphan, he might be able to use his charm and wit to his advantage, expanding his base of support without having to expend significant amounts of money.

Let's face it, Mr. Skerrit can be charming and he knows how to interact with the common man and woman, which is why he has been able to hold on to so many ardent supporters in the face of rabid corruption. But there are many Dominicans, in particular traditional Labourites, who continue to hold their noses and await salvation from anyone within the Labour Party who can cleanse the party that they love from the stench and scourge of Skerrit and his corrupt associates, like Astaphan. In private off-the-record conversations with several "Traditionals", as we will refer to Labourites in the mould of the founders of the party, we learned that they perceive Mr. Skerrit as something of a hybrid virus that was manufactured in the laboratories of the Freedom Party of Charles Savarin, and which came to infect the Party of Emmanuel Christopher Loblack, Phyllis Shand Alfrey and Edward Oliver Leblanc. They recognize that Mr. Skerrit's rapaciousness is antithetical to what the Labour Party stood for in the past and they remain wistful of the glory days long gone. So why not join hands with the opposition, we asked. The consensus among these traditional Labourites is that they love their party; they are Labourites to the end. However, they offer tacit support to the opposition. A minority indicated to us that they have not fully endeared themselves to the opposition United Workers Party for various reasons, some of which are personal, and they view the Freedom Party as the reason why they are saddled with Skerrit, so they have propped themselves up into a corner biding their time, hoping that someone will emerge from within the ranks of their party that will pose a serious challenge to Mr. Skerrit. Time is running out for these Labourites because Skerrit and Astaphan are destroying their beloved party.

Time is also running out on us because the twins are lobotomizing our Dominica as well. While Tammy Tutillini continues to enjoy a lavish lifestyle in the upscale neighborhood of Weston, we're here suffering and grovelling for the scraps. We were once a proud nation; we did not want anything from anyone. Today, we're begging for everything from everyone. We once walked into our local Credit Union office, withdrew money from our savings and took a long vacation. Today we wait for a family member overseas to buy us a ticket while we trot over to Fast Cash for money we can call spending cash. Once upon a time our youth would have gotten a job right after leaving school; today, they reside on the street corners for years, unemployed. What has become of us? How long are we going to accept this sub-standard way of life? When are going to stop Tutillini on the street the next time he is in Dominica and teach him a lesson that he will never forget? When?

Share this:

Post a Comment

Copyright © 2014 Mas In The Cemetery. Designed by OddThemes | Distributed By Blogger Templates20