According to The News newspaper dated Feb. 7, 2014, there are three persons showing interest in being the Unity Labour Party’s candidate for South Leeward in the next general elections. Among those showing interest are former ULP senator, David Browne, Financial Intelligent Unit head, Grenville Williams and new ULP senator, Jomo Sanga Thomas. I listened with a witty smile on my face to these prospective candidates announcing their candidacy and thought to myself that “some things will never change”.
As an educator and an active member of the South Leeward constituency, I am obligated to critically analyse this situation. There is no doubt that, both Grenville Williams and Jomo Thomas are academically certified. However, in my opinion, they both lack the necessary prerequisites to represent the people of my constituency. These intelligent men constitute what Vifredo Pareto termed the “circulation of elites”. All elites tend to become decadent. They “decay in quality” and lose their “vigour”. They become soft and ineffective with the pleasures of easy living and the privileges of power; they are too set in their ways and too inflexible to respond to changing circumstances. In essence, “nothing ever really changes”. These men come to us with the same old stories and excuses as did the men before them — “SAME OLD KHAKI PANTS”.
The Feb. 7, 2014 edition of The News newspaper quoted Thomas as saying, “When you say Jomo Thomas I think people know the name, they recognize the name and, more than that they would be able to point to some of the issues that I have dealt with and dealt with forcefully. And that’s why I think that I would be the best candidate that the ULP can put forward in South Leeward.” On the contrary, we do know your name, Mr. Jomo Sanga Thomas, because you spent so much time trying to be popular at the expense of many other qualities that the ordinary citizen looks for in a leader and/or representative.
Moreover, we are able to point to some of the issues that you have dealt with. Most notably is the issue of the alleged ill-disciplined student and the hardworking educators who work tirelessly to instil the good, old, long-lost values of our society. You were so busy trying to make your name that you neglected “leading by example” and supported “slackness”. And that’s why I think you are not the best candidate for my constituency. You chose being a lawyer over a leader.
Mr. Grenville Williams! Reading your rationale for aspiring to represent South Leeward is like reading from a textbook. The citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines are tired of the “sweet talks”, over and over. We desire real representation, not a textbook representative. The elites are unconcerned about the struggles of the average man. They pass us on the streets without recognition, then expect us to vote for them. We have never seen Jomo Thomas nor Grenville Williams in our community, yet they claim to be living in South leeward for umpteen number of years. How could you represent us if you don’t know our pain and disadvantaged situations? In the past, when different societies wanted to unite then a marriage was in order. Is it possible that Grenville Williams fantasizes about a marriage between the ULP and the NDP?
The “down-to-earth”, David Browne is more in touch with his constituents than any past candidate for that area. However, he was at a disadvantage last elections, having been named as the candidate for South Leeward during the last few weeks running up to the elections. He never had the time to properly prepare for that election, unlike the majority of his colleagues. Nevertheless, the underpinning fact is that we only see politicians around “election time”.
Evidently, our Prime Minister is the best leader our country has seen up to date. His charisma and intellect has surpassed that of all other leaders in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. His policy to school every citizen through the “education revolution” is the greatest contribution of an ideal leader. Nevertheless, schooling is not education, according to many philosophers. Education must result in some worthwhile change in behaviours. Yet many of our politicians have not changed their ways of dealing with citizens. Therefore, would it not be fair to say that many of our politicians are philosophically uneducated? Philosophers posit that we can judge a leader by the men he keeps around him. It follows logically that PM Gonsalves has a lot to contemplate when selecting his team for the upcoming general elections.
Vanrick D. Williams
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