DR ERROL N BENJAMIN
READING IN a daily newspaper of June 14 of the intention of Dr Fuad Khan, Ramona Ramdial and Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh to contest the UNC internal elections as independents, I am appalled at their unmistakeable sense of resignation of having little chance against the incumbent and her slate who have all the resources at their disposal to reach the people while they have virtually none.
I have nothing personal against the latter but I am disappointed in this idea of inevitable loss from the tone of the trio, when they seem well qualified, have a wealth of political experience and, most of all, have given yeoman service to the party. With such, are they not deserving of a fair chance and, more so, how is that victory so assured for those whom they oppose and their own defeat so inevitable?
Are the UNC base voters so simple-minded as not to ask questions of the incumbent leadership and her slate as to their stewardship and how it has helped to improve their lives? Granted that the leadership has focused on critical issues of state for which she should be commended, leading walkouts like this week’s re the current AG, and has vehemently opposed PM Rowley and his government on many issues.
But does she have a history of success, if even on one occasion, of getting a positive response from the Government that would affect policy change towards the national good or does she, instead, seem to provoke only the most contemptuous indifference to her efforts?
Of course, the fault may not be all hers for it takes two to find common ground on national issues and what she has to deal with in the Parliament seems naturally disdainful and contemptuous to anyone who opposes. Just look to the treatment of some of our journalists!
But the question to ask is whether she lacks the political knowhow to erect building blocks of reconciliation with the Government for the welfare of the people as a whole, or is she all “...sound and fury” for the sake of it or just to impress her supporters, “...signifying nothing” (Macbeth on “life as a walking shadow…a poor player that struts and frets on the stage” – Act 5 Sc.5 17-28).
And further, has she played on that simple-mindedness of her supporters to create the image of Mai, “the saviour and redeemer,” when her people continue to suffer on all fronts as against their baseline counterparts supporting the “other?”
And what of her slate? Are they into the same “…sound and fury/signifying nothing,” shouting down those on the other side, walking out and the like, without an iota of effect on policy change, only being on the receiving end of the same contempt and disdain as their leader, mimicking her to show support in this exercise in futility?
And should we be surprised, for are they not in fact the replacements for a “few good men” like Ganga Singh, Bhoe Tewarie et al, hardly it seems for their competence, but merely to give unquestioning support to the leadership so that on occasions like the internal elections there is none to dare challenge since their continuing survival in the party depends on that enforced servility?
But there is still hope. The UNC has a precedent with the current incumbent eliminating the then guru in 2010 against all odds. Which in a way contradicts my original perception of the “simple-mindedness of the people” and their unquestioning support for “a mess of pottage,” as the old guru used to say.
Even as simple people, they may not be necessarily so simple-minded, for in asking a question or two about what the incumbent and her slate have done for them in terms of improving their lives, they may find the kind of answers that will compel them to look at the independents like Khan, Ramdial and Ramadharsingh, and the others in the background I am sure, to give them more effective representation for a better life.
History has a strange way of repeating itself!