Our Readers' Opinions
December 8, 2015
A dangerous idea

Editor: Everybody becomes a strategist at election time. Each voter knows the exact tactic to unleash that ensures victory. In politics, everybody is an expert and, like nearly all experts, everybody is filled with ideas, especially at election time. Now, about these ideas. Of course, it would be entertaining to pillory each political tactic rising up from the collective consciousness of the Vincy body politic (one man from Layou once suggested bringing strippers (STRIPPERS!) to do a party the night before elections).{{more}} But we won’t. Not here, at least. Best to save that task for the calypsonians or for some other time.

But not all the ideas rising from the masses are funny. Some ideas are quite serious, and, depending on which side of the current political divide you find yourself, some ideas even give some voters occasion to pause in private moments, deep in thought. Like this one idea – floating out there in the political ether, whispered about in kitchens and living rooms, but never, ever discussed in public places – this idea that if Arnhim Eustace had been replaced as leader of the NDP, his party would win the next elections in a landslide. Now, that’s a hell of an idea. And if you happen to support the ULP, you have to shudder a bit and pause to thank God that that very interesting idea is not, in fact, reality.

Truth is, this idea betrays a lingering doubt in the minds of Vincentians regarding the political persona of Arnhim Eustace. Electoral defeats in 2001, 2005 and 2010 have stained Eustace, even in the minds of NDP supporters. There is the sense that having been thrice rejected with Eustace at the helm, the party can never be ready for a national campaign while he is in charge. No one says this, of course. But you’d be surprised how many people believe it to be true.

Eustace is a turn-off for many people who would quietly wish to support the party. But they won’t vote for the NDP, they can’t, not now. Why? Because they can’t imagine Arnhim Eustace as Prime Minister. And while most of these kinds of voters are not fans of de Comrade, they grudgingly, knowingly, can point to places – here and there – where the Government has indeed improved lives and made the country, in small ways, better.

And, in an environment where people are interested in keeping their jobs and the small help government provides, why is Eustace talking about austerity? They tried austerity in Barbados, and thousands of people lost their jobs. They tried austerity in Saint Lucia and the government fell. It is no wonder, then, that there is an idea in the minds of many undecided voters, that a Eustace government would somehow harm this country and that a vote for the ULP is a vote given on behalf of an electorate seeking to protect itself.

Sia Creese