Our Readers' Opinions
July 1, 2005
Politics or politricks

Editor: During my recent visit home, I met with Ministers (past and present), visited various constituencies and spoke with men and women of all ranks. I was extremely ‘taken’ by the level of political consciousness among the brothers and sisters. Their grasp of politics was beyond anything that I can fathom even when compared to political analysts in my adopted Canada.

I was taken aback by comments that a well-known individual in the NDP was undermining his party’s efforts by supporting ‘unelectable’ candidates for the upcoming election to force a leadership review. This scenario goes down very well with the ULP. {{more}}Such comments floored me because this is the type of ploy observed by political commentators in their critique of frontline candidates in election campaigns in the United States and Canada. Moreover, these discussions were not isolated, they were heard in areas ranging from Calliaqua, Biabou, Barrouallie, Mt. Grennan and Kingstown. What was disturbing about these comments was not the message but the messenger. They did not come from politicians or educators but from the average man and woman on the street.

More alarming was a statement from a dear friend and minister that the individual that colleagues in his government were concerned about is Lenny Daisley. They fear him because they think that he can sway die-hard traditional Labour Party voters throughout the entire country to support the NDP.

This had me thinking: Why should a government be fearful of an individual unless they lack the confidence in what they are doing or are they simply afraid of thinkers?

Suggestions that the government of SVG is using ploys, such as the Cross Country Road and the International Airport, to win the next election, despite the lack of funds for the completion of such projects, were widespread. This is a far cry from what I expected from average voters in my beloved homeland. It is clear to me that Vincentians are more politically conscious than ever before.

I concentrated on the politics of my South Windward and listened to the news and views of the residents there. Sir Vincent Beache, they believe, has done very little for the constituency; but he had a role in getting rid of the NDP after 17 years in office. He ran the race and kept the faith; he has fought the good fight; so let him go with grace.

But who was going to replace him? The ‘rum shop’ and ‘street’ talk were that :

Candidate No. 1 – The former Chief Agricultural Officer, Lenny Daisley, is a thinker and is very popular.

Candidate No. 2 – Glen Beache, son of the current representative, is an amateur, and may be a good prospect for the future but definitely not now.

Candidate No. 3 – A leading left-winger, Robert Fitzpatrick, is strong in the Biabou/Bridgetown section of the constituency but needs to figure out once and for all what he really wants.

A telltale straw poll revealed the following results:

First place went to the thinker – Lenny Daisley. an ideas-man; always in deep thought; his brain is constantly at work to develop policies, formulate plans and programs to come up with feasible solutions to solve social issues plaguing our society.

Second place went to Glen Beache, but people objected strongly to the creation of a political dynasty. He needs to be taken under the wings of a true veteran, his father and mentor, and may then be ready to face the music perhaps in 5 to 10 years.

At a distant third is the left-winger, Robert Fitzpatrick. Comments were not much except to suggest that he should give it up.

Despite the opinions of many persons, especially young people, the Prime Minister thought otherwise. In the final analysis, Glen Beache, seems to have been the chosen one because of his pedigree, as repeatedly stated by the PM in Parliament and in the media. The people concluded that the Prime Minister is afraid of thinkers, or anyone who would not be given to hero-worshipping him. The Vincentian leader’s patronizing attitude towards colleague Caribbean Leaders is offensive and ill conceived, as evidenced by his treatment of Dr. Kenny Anthony, the St.Lucian Prime Minister.

The New Democratic Party seems not to be afraid of thinkers. It appears as though they would like to have Daisley represent them in my constituency. However, according to a few party insiders, certain individuals, bent on a meteoric rise to political prominence, would object to Daisley, even though it may result in defeat in the constituency. They would rather loose an election than have Daisley win the seat and help the party win the election. Victory with a team of thinkers would upset their plans and halt their leadership aspirations. Nevertheless, they have Daisley under the microscope.

Many constituents believe that the candidate favoured by this clique for the next election is useless, except as an asset for the ULP. According to a current cabinet minister with whom I spoke, they would love to see this candidate run instead of Daisley, because this would virtually guarantee the seat for them.

Surprisingly, many people, across the political spectrum, express the view that anyone aiding and abetting the return of this oppressive ULP government is an enemy of the Vincentian people. I hope that a prudent decision is made in selecting a candidate.

Sylvina Browne