DISENCHANTMENT has been growing in this country. The two dominant parties have let us down. Political leadership is the major problem we face. Political greed, power and money are the enemies of our political system, our governance and our people. Politicians have shown their primary concern is themselves, families, friends and cronies.
Those who have been in politics for decades and who have failed their supporters are still refusing to give way to a younger generation. Even those who are unpopular and have lost countless elections have refused to give up leadership, hoping for a miracle that the people would reaccept them. It won’t happen.
And there are sycophants encircling a leader saying impossible things just to retain a safe seat. The leader believes them even when told such impossibilities that the bull is pregnant.
Party leadership has failed us. The key elements of good party leadership are accountability, transparency and member participation. On all those factors, our country has not yet achieved the type of party functioning that prevents authoritarianism and promotes internal democracy.
Due to ineffective leadership and personal bad habits, immoral activities and yes-manism, and a lack of political will among those close to political leaders, TT remains saddled by poor-functioning parties and poor governance. And it will remain so unless there is a strong, effective alternative to the two dominant parties and an acceptable new alternative to Prime Minister Rowley.
The absence of good leader has been extremely damaging to the opposition UNC and by extension to any corrective intervention role of bad national governance. Good people have been locked out of the party. The nation has lost faith in UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar. She has lost election after election and refuses to leave in spite of repeated appeals by supporters everywhere. She is seen as the obstacle to replacing the PNM in government.
People do not think the UNC can defeat the PNM under its present leadership and composition of MPs. Lack of quality leadership has hindered the growth and achievement of the UNC and by extension the capacity of the population and desired growth and development of the country. Just like how Basdeo Panday was no longer attractive after he lost power in 2001, so too Persad-Bissessar is no longer attractive.
The political leader and the party keep doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results. That is insanity. As long as Persad-Bissessar is the alternative to the PNM’s Rowley, people will stay with his party. The PNM does not have to campaign for an election; just mention Persad-Bissessar is the alternative and it will win a minimum 22 of the 41 seats. Come next general election, it may increase to a minimum 25 seats for the PNM if she is the alternative.
The country is looking for a strong, transformative leadership that is people-centred and development oriented. The country requires a leader who possesses the vision for building institutions that will stand the test of time beyond a single leader and who can effectively and efficiently mobilise resources for development that benefits all. Such a leader must be endowed with a strong political will and be committed to the aspirations of not just party supporters but the nation at large. Neither party has shown up anyone in Parliament with such requisite abilities.
A new political ship is needed. Two aspiring stars – Gary Griffith and Phillip Alexander – should start bringing excluded political forces together for an alternative to the two behemoths. The aging former PM Panday, incorruptible former AG Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, MSJ’s David Abdulah, the COP and other forces must join such a movement to save the country from the PNM and UNC.