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Sunday 22 October 2017
The Arts

The Journey Continues

The sequel: Neil Giuseppi during the launch of his second book The Journey Continues at the National Library, Port of Spain on September 15. PHOTO BY ENRIQUE ASSOON 16-9-17

If it were up to Neil Giuseppi, economist Wendell Mottley would be the perfect choice for Prime Minister.

It’s a moot point, especially since Mottley, a former finance minister, has long left politics.

But Giuseppi, who, on September 15, launched his second book The Journey Continues at the National Library, Port-of-Spain, remains convinced Mottley would have been an excellent prime minister.

Reading an excerpt, Giuseppi, one of the country’s well-loved media personalities, referred to his general distaste of politics but admitted to guests he once considered getting involved in the field.

That was in 2002, when he was invited by a friend to attend a meeting in Port-of-Spain hosted by Mottley.

Giuseppi, 69, wrote that at the meeting, Mottley indicated his intention to launch a new political party.

“He outlined his vision for TT and I must admit, I was impressed. For the next few months I worked very closely with Wendell and his team in setting up the party which was to be known as the Citizens Alliance,” he wrote.

Giuseppi wrote that a snap election prevented the party from becoming a force on the political landscape. He recalled, along with two others, advising Mottley against contesting the election.

“The time was much too short for us to even think of contesting the election since none of the party’s structures were yet in place to allow us to make a serious run at capturing the Government or even winning enough seats to allow us to make a difference in Parliament.

“My argument was that our goal needed to be long term and would be better served by taking the next five years to build strong party institutions which will allow us to be a force to be reckoned with down the road.”

According to Giuseppi, a number of people disagreed and were able to convince Mottley to proceed.

He said he wished them luck and “withdrew completely from any further involvement in the party which went on to contest the general election and suffered a heavy defeat which ended Wendell’s involvement in our politics.”

“I was quite disappointed with the turn of events since I remain convinced to this day, that Wendell Mottley would have made an excellent prime minister of TT.”

Born and raised in Arima by Neville and Undine Giuseppi, both of whom were prolific writers, the former TTT broadcaster, in the book, revealed that former prime ministers George Chambers and Patrick Manning had approached him to contest the seat.

“My answer has always been the same. I have neither the patience nor the testicular fortitude to be a politician,” he wrote.

He said while it might be true that politics governed everything in the world, “I have always felt that getting involved in active politics often forces one to make compromises that they will never make in the normal course of things.”

Saying politicians and political parties should serve only one term, Giuseppi observed that once the question of re-election came into the picture, compromises started.

“Members who are committed to a one-term party can make the hard decisions as often as needed without fear of losing at the polls on the next occasion.”

Referring specifically to TT, the former Arima Boys’ Government student, wrote there were many hard decisions to be made which successive governments seemed afraid or unwilling to make.

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