THE EDITOR: How does any successful organisation sustain its leadership in its industry and keep on improving? Businesses must creatively find ways to stay agile to keep up or remain ahead of the competition. But what about the business of political parties?
Make no mistake, political parties are businesses. Even when they are out of power they still have to find ways to sustain themselves as they trudge along – typically for years – hoping to win the next election and become financially viable again.
The PNM has been the most successful political party in the history of TT. It has been in power, more often than not, since we became an independent nation. Its historical rise under the founder and first prime minister, Eric Williams, was spellbinding. He had the oratorical skills, the presence, and the educational foundation to create a vision for a new nation.
Those were the heady days of the sixties. During his tenure he was unbeatable on the political stage – an indisputable champion of the people. After his death, the party has since suffered some ignominious defeats.
Even though it is currently in power, does it have what it takes to retain its somewhat tenuous hold on government? Has the PNM evolved as a party now that it does not have a Williams intellect to guide it to another victory at the polls?
Will the voters educe from the economic performance of the last five years that the PNM has failed to live up to its promises and is thus undeserving of another term in office? If so, is there a strong enough contender to challenge its dominance?
The PNM’s challenger in the upcoming heavyweight contest, the UNC, may have an opening given the existential economic challenges the nation faces. For it to win, the UNC will have to prove to the electorate that it has answers to the moribund state of affairs and the malaise that has taken hold of the economy and the people.
Can it fight the behemoth and walk away with the prize? Or will it succumb to the PNM, as so many others have, and be lost to the shadows of time? Nevertheless, it is do or die for both aging party leaders.