Opinion: The legacy Laville the politician leaves behind contains just one word. Why?POSTED: 07/15/14 3:01 PM
Independent MP Romain Laville has a checkered political history at best. Last week he topped it off in style with a full page advertisement in which he blew his own horn a little bit too loud. Some would say he provided incorrect information, others would say that he blatantly lied.
What is this all about? It is about two events that mark the twilight of Laville’s political career. In December Laville called a press conference about a twinning agreement with Newark in New Jersey. In March he called another press conference about a memorandum of understanding with his native Dominica.
On both occasions Laville brought along the Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs, Ted Richardson. The minister acted as a silent sidekick and Laville did all the talking.
As if this was not embarrassing enough – not that Laville noticed – this MP who played pivotal roles in bringing down two successive governments also made quite some promises.
One of these promises was, under the memorandum of understanding with Dominica, that Laville had brought home free scholarships for students from St. Maarten. They could go and study nursing and agriculture in Dominica.
Nothing wrong with that, of course. Laville dutifully mentioned this achievement in his goodbye-to-politics ad that appeared in the media last week. But how many students qualify for these free scholarships? The answer is simple: nobody, because these scholarships do not exist. Education Minister Lourens let us know in the briefest and clearest statement we ever heard from a politician what the state of affairs really is: “This did not materialize.”
What else did not materialize? Laville also boasted in March that the deal with Dominica would bring cheap cooking gas to St. Maarten. Dominica had a deal with Venezuela under the PetroCaribe Agreement and St. Maarten could piggyback on the advantages the poor people in Dominica received this way.
But the PetroCaribe Agreement is not beneficial at all in the long run. Venezuela delivers the gas under the market price and extends a loan against an interest rate of 1 percent for the difference. This way, Jamaica has already built up a $2.5 billion debt to the South American Good Samaritan. Laville did not tell this to anybody of course, so it is a good thing that we have never heard anything anymore about this deceptive political stunt.
The twinning deal with Newark also is dead in the water, even though Laville claims in his farewell ad that the MOU with this city has brought St. Maarten students reduced tuition fees.
The legacy Laville the politician leaves behind contains just one word. Why? What does a failed and disgraced politician – let’s not forget that he once threatened to kill MP Jules James – get out of fooling the people up to the end?
Maybe we will never learn the truth about Laville’s motivations. The summer recess is there and a new parliament will soon be installed – without Laville and without his fairy tales.