Our Readers' Opinions
September 2, 2005
Political penguinism of Jomo Thomas

by Dr. Richard A. B. Cox

Jomo Thomas returned home about 2 years ago and immediately started fireworks in the political arena, playing the classic political iconoclast by directly challenging both government and opposition. Some can’t stand his “plain talk” and so he has been at the receiving end of both Glen’s and E. G’s “butto stick” and many “clubs” from both sides of the political divide. Stern rebukes have also come from the likes of venerable columnists Dr. Kenneth John and noted historian, Dr. Adrian Fraser, while others see Jomo as much, much too radical. {{more}}

Interestingly, however, none of these people have every questioned Jomo’s commitment and love for SVG. No one has ever doubted that he has a conviction and is willing to stand up and be counted for it.

National attention

Jomo has come to national attention due almost exclusively to his patriotism, and willingness to use his analytic and incisive mind in promotion of what he thinks is best for this land. He reminds me in many ways of Renwick Rose, a man committed in heart, head and soul to SVG. And so we arrive at the core of this piece: It is time Jomo Thomas stops surveying the vineyard and put his hand to the plough, join the ULP and replace rhetoric with action.

Jomo must understand that anybody could babble from the sidelines, theorising and hypostasizing how the game should be played. It’s another thing though, to be in the mix, in the rough and tumble of the Pilgrim’s Progress journey that is the unavoidable path to SVG’s socio-economic development. Jomo must accept that it is time to leave the backroom of verbal battles and enter the centre stage of action. For while epistles are good for edification, the simple truth is that action is the surest agent of change; faith without works is dead.

Greatest mistake

The greatest mistake one can make is to do nothing. Jomo must not fall into this trap. A case in point is his unwise support for a blanket ban on capital punishment. It is clear that his position is one based on emotions, foreign brainwashing and a wish to be with the crowd, showing how civilised and humane he is. What’s needed however, is sound reasoning grounded in national reality and cognisant that moving from one extreme to another is dangerous.

But that discourse here is a distraction; my objective now is to challenge Jomo to be the political asset to this country that he clearly has the potential to be by becoming directly involved in electoral politics, vying for a seat. And speaking of seats, there is plenty of room for him in the Kingstown area. And the Comrade can trust me on that, for I have made the rounds and there is major discontent with the level of representation now on offer. And this is no illusion; this is gospel!

Jomo comes well-prepared as an American trained lawyer. He is a writer, a community activist and a hard-working, decent and disciplined young man. His greatest asset however is his genuine love for his country and its people. And it is due to this latter special and wonderful quality why I boldly call on Jomo to stop this “Penguinistic” political behaviour, come in from the cold, and deal with the people’s business from the hot seat of Parliament. My reason is simple; we need a team with brains, courage, commitment, patriotism and principle at the higher echelons of power, a team for the times. Jomo belongs in that team.

OK you say. Agreed. But why the ULP and not NDP? Well the answer is simple enough. Jomo himself has never kept secret his preference for the red corner. To use his own words; he gives Ralph “critical support”. (Beyond that, from teenage days, he has been on the left of politics, the NDP is a right of centre party, and oil and water don’t mix). And in my opinion, in the interest of the country, he should be part of one of the parties rather than not be involved at all.

But there might be a problem. It is believed by many that Dr. Gonsalves does not take kindly to criticisms, however their objectivity, legitimacy or goodly intentions. How then can Jomo’s critical tongue be reconciled with the doctor’s perceived hegemonic stance? I think the question is really whether there are fundamental differences between Jomo and Ralph that could prevent them working together.

It was Dr. Fraser, in his little public tiff (for want of a more appropriate term) with Jomo who pointed out that the latter might rant and rage but at the core he is a Ralph supporter. This is true; here then is the common denominator, which is expressed in the fact that Jomo has never stated a single objection to any of the ULP’s fundamental policies. On the contrary, he has fully endorsed from the Education Revolution and the Low Income Housing Project to Ralph’s embrace of Fidel and Chavez and the poverty alleviation programme.

But outside of that, Jomo is qua supra left leaning, which is also the political creed of Ralph.

Finally, it would be remiss of me not to address the issue of whether this is not a case of “pot telling kettle he battie black.” The truth however is that I, unlike Jomo, have no interest at present in electoral politics. Jomo on the other hand is on the starting blocks awaiting the gun.

So what you say Jomo, you running?