When you vote this election, vote for me! Yes, vote for me because I can’t be there and the outcome impacts us all. Get it? 😊( Yes, I really need to stay away from puns)
Anyway, if I had my way, I daresay this election was actually ripe for a new political party
Outside of dreams and puns, I have concluded based on trends that at the end of the day both political parties have a solid and almost equal base. In my non political scientist layman view, winning the election is going to be dependent on 1 of 2 things. 1. how well that base turns out to vote or 2. how well each party attracts those undecided people who are despondent or just not inspired. Number 2 group is often not very vocal. It’s an interesting exercise though to consider the thought process and possible perspective that may influence this group to the left or right or to just stay home.
Considering the NDP, while we cannot tie Dr. Friday to his party’s history, unless he directly atones, divorces or repudiates the birth canals of political history from whence he was delivered, the transgressions of the NDP remains his to bear. He has a herculean task to tactfully and diplomatically establish his mandate as new fresh and atone for stains on the NDPs hands. Not everyone has a sweet forgiving nurturing nature. The NDP cannot accept the good of their history and turn a blind eye to the numerous recall of many of crippling injustices such as abuse of power and lack of educational opportunities. Though by virtue of occurrence two (2) decades ago, the narrative bears striking resemblance to the events described in the allegorical novella by George Orwell. In the end, some still question whether or not Dr. Friday as a proverbial newborn can navigate more complex issues such as CBI against a backdrop tainted by that birth history.
For Dr. Gonsalves and the ULP on the other hand, history has shown that reasonable term limits strengthen democracy and 19 years heading to 25 is a far cry from what might be considered reasonable. Further the likely handover to his son reeks of the making of a perceived uncomfortable dynasty. The concept of “PM-for-life” appeals to some people. But for others, term limits are a welcome check on authority. After all, there are resounding cries of nepotism, broken promises and social and economic disparities based on political allegiance that are too loud to ignore. Maybe it is not such a bad thing for leaders and political parties to acquire a sense of their own fragility and temporariness and feel the pressure to deliver measurable results and hopefully leave office with a positive legacy. The crowd in the play Julius Ceasar comes to mind.
Then there’s leadership. We tend to vote based on who is leading us. From all indications, Dr. Gonsalves will soon be retiring as leader of the ULP and handing over reigns to someone else in his party. Some predict maximum six (6) months if he wins before a new leader is selected and entrusted to hopefully provide fesh ideas and implement progressive policies. In the case of Dr.Friday, this is his first election as leader of NDP with an opportunity to showcase his own narrative, style and ideas and to inspire.
In this election, however, voting primarily based on an experienced political leader is not going to be enough though. Ultimately, it is going to be one of two NEW leaders tasked with moving SVG forward over the next 5 years against the backdrop of the Corona virus and a damning poverty assessment report (incomplete or otherwise).
For this election, my ideal wish is that we forget about the individual gains and pains real or imagined and that we forget about the traditional political allegiance of family.
When you cast that vote for you and me, think about critical issues. Ask yourself, which of the party do you sincerely believe will better:
1.Represent the voice of women and empower our women as central pillars of society?
2.Consider healthcare a priority where we and our children can go comfortably to the hospital and not dread the outcome?
3.Provide opportunities for businesses to grow and flourish so that the economy can thrive and our people can find meaningful long term employment or pursue lucrative entrepreneurial paths?
4. Ensure our people are educated and considered assets to develop and not liabilities to manage so we can all contribute to society in a productive way?
5. Utilize our nation’s resources in a productive but sustainable manner whether it be Agriculture, the Blue economy, Eco tourism or just the bountiful creative talents that reside within our people ?
6.Hold its leaders accountable and that they understand that education, healthcare, security, access to utilities, road infrastructure and access to housing are just some of the basic expectations of any Government ?
When you cast your vote, remember not just yourself but consider the real issues, think about community and national problems that you want the government to address. Now is the time for growth and development and as a small developing state this must be driven by creativity and practicality not fear-mongering and debt. Think about the positions each party takes on issues to alleviate poverty.
It’s ok to disagree on some issues, but please vote with selfless sincerity when it comes to choosing the men and women who have poised themselves to take us forward. Cast a good vote for me SVG!