Our Readers' Opinions
February 10, 2006
Is Ralph being outsmarted?

EDITOR: Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has banked heavily on old Labour in appointing his “youth senators”. The Prime Minister justified his choices stating the known, i.e. they are lawyers; then opined that they are bright and have achieved a lot through hard work.

Well…. Anyway, my interest in this affair is because it evidences once again old Labour’s myth that political power in SVG is theirs to will to their offspring, and also because of my involvement in youth work from the tender age of 13, (Redemption Sharps could vouch for that). {{more}} I had fervently hoped that Jomo, Renwrick and/or Curtis “Baffie” King would be given the nod. No way José; Ralph trumpets investment in the future, and second-generation Labour is his crème de la crème.

I waited on the NYC to have their say on Ralph’s young brigade for I did not want to steal their thunder. But then again, I suppose it’s foolish of me to expect an organisation, which can’t work out leadership problems within an 11-member executive to comment seriously on national political leadership. And oh yes, they are dumb enough to use that “idiotic boy” Junior Bacchus as their Archimedes. But that’s another story, the subject here is Ralph’s images of future SVG leadership.

I have spent most of the last 20 years abroad so my knowledge of many things in SVG is liable to have gaps. Consequently, I checked with many, and they like me are unaware of any of Ralph’s young tigers having done something significant in the area of youth representation. They have no record of service to NYC or other organisations dedicated to the progress of youth, unlike say, my friend Junnie Bacchus. Yes, the same “idiotic boy”. His record of service to SVG is par excellence, in particular in youth representation. How I know? Junior was 2nd or 3rd Vice President of the NYC when I was its 1st Vice President (I suppose that makes me more idiotic than Junior). So I can testify to Junior’s record for we toiled in the same vineyard together ab initio.

But back to Ralph’s chosen, it’s not only that their names are absent from the annals of youth service, but they are the children of Labour (the most antidemocratic political party in the history of this country), and/or representatives of the privileged rightwing whose law offices are the only places of their perhaps once-in-a-blue-moon interface with the ordinary youth. Yes, one did do some playwriting or production, but save and except that, their contribution to youth development is on file in Thomas Moore’s Utopia.

The last time the ULP ventured into these waters they didn’t consult the NYC, which later hauled the appointee over the coals strangling her political career at infancy. It seems no lesson was learnt from this episode. However, it is probably the lingering bitter taste from that experience that caused Comrade to put his new recruits on probation. But will history repeat itself? Ralph seems to have poured scorn on those who emulated him in service to the nation. He has forgotten those who endured with him Labour’s vile anticommunist campaign, preferring instead to embrace the heirs of his once eternal foes.

The more I think of Ralph’s crowned princes and princess the more it evokes the Glen Beach/Robbie Fitzpatrick standoff, not to mention the heartache Noel Jackson suffered a few years earlier. Whether we like it or not, SVG seems to be inadvertently creating a political dynasty, so if your name is Jerrol Thompson or Richard Williams, you can claim power as a political birthright, this is your inheritance as a descendant of Labour.

What is most disturbing to me, is that this is all now being facilitated consciously or otherwise by Comrade Ralph who did more than any other to expose every skeleton in Labour’s cupboard. Cato never knew that the R in his first name would be Labour’s saving grace. He must be smiling in his grave, for victory is sweet, even when it comes posthumously.

I keep wondering: Is it that Gonsalves is saying that irrespective of his Iberian connection (Fidel and Chavez), of his cognisance that we need all the assistance we can get including that of Libya, he is convinced that right wing myopic philosophy must guide future governance in SVG? Am I right that the ULP has no room among its future leaders for the forward looking thinkers on the left, who glory in service to people, so only those with material worth and a history of Labour ties can be appointed to the board?

It’s due to the influence of Ralph Gonsalves, Mike Browne, Renwrick Rose and Justice Adrian Saunders inter alios that I became a democratic socialist, (a path from which I have never strayed). I remember being sure that they would one day run this country and erase for all times the reactionary, anti-mass, anti-poor, anti-worker, corrupt, unpatriotic and neo-colonial politics of Labour. Is Comrade really serious that governance should now revert to a bunch of Labourites, rightwing lawyers who would again be a law unto themselves? Is there no room in the inn for the patriotic Samaritans from Murray’s Village, Stoney Grounds and Belair? Or is it that old Labour has found the formula of outfoxing Ralph and are putting the pieces in place?

Dr. Richard A. B. Cox