The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not represent the opinions or editorial position of I-Witness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

In 2000, the U.S. Presidential Election between then Governor of Texas George W. Bush and then U.S. Vice President Al Gore was ultimately settled by a margin of just 537 votes out of almost 6 million cast.

The controversy focused on Florida, where a number of rumours about voting irregularities surfaced, including bringing the word “chad” into popular use to refer to the hole left by the punched card ballots commonly used in many U.S. states at the time.

A parallel can be drawn with our recent election, as many have also raised issues of voting irregularity, particularly around Central Leeward.

However, that is where the comparison stops. Back in 2000, there was genuine confusion as to who had won. On the night, the main news networks first declared Gore had won Florida, then changed this calling the state for Bush, before finally admitting it was too close to call. During the night, Gore even made a concession call to Bush, before later retracting it once it was clear just how close things were. When Bush was finally announced as President, he became only the fourth U.S. President in history to be elected whilst receiving fewer popular votes across the country than his opponent.

There is no such complexity here.

The results of the election clearly show that the ULP won both the popular and the constituency vote, albeit by a narrow margin. Comparing votes cast in 2010 with 2015, there was an average swing to the ULP of 2.8 per cent across SVG, or put another way, a swing to the ULP in 13 of the 15 available seats. This is a clear and comprehensive victory.

swing

Back in 2000, representatives of the two political parties mounted a number of legal challenges, these were completed, lessons learnt, and, as a result, improvements were made to the election process. Here, party representatives have made comments on social media, radio, TV and at various rallies and street protests, yet no legal challenge has been mounted. In addition to this, the range of independent election observers (Commonwealth, CARICOM and OAS) have all issued preliminary statements confirming the elections were free and fair.

It is perhaps worthwhile reflecting on the conduct of the so-called loser of the 2000 US Presidential election. In the aftermath of the election, Al Gore remained calm, resolute and acted “presidentially” saying in his concession speech that “for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession”.

Since his loss, he went on to be a global force for tackling climate change, embarked on a worldwide lecture tour and released the book and film “An Inconvenient Truth”. In 2007, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

This is the proper expectation for our political leaders. They should challenge and inspire us to make our country a better place, and improve the lives of the people around us. Win or lose we should expect those who sought to be our Prime Minister to represent the country as a whole, and all of our citizens not just the ones who happen to dress in the same colour they do.

At the moment only one of our political leaders is striving to be better, to take positive and meaningful steps to bring our country together, not split it in two, and to take all Vincentians both those at home or abroad towards a brighter future. I sincerely hope this situation changes forthwith.

Simon Bullock

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

3 replies on “The Importance of Leadership”

  1. Nicely written and argued, with two caveats, one very minor and one very major.

    1. A “chad” is not the hole left in punched-out paper but rather the tiny round piece of paper that the punch is supposed to eject but is sometimes left behind and called a “dangling chad” which caused all the confusion in the 2000 US election.

    2. Your contention that “no legal challenge has been mounted” by the NDP is totally false: lawyers from both parties, local and regional, have been in the Kingstown courthouse all week fighting over the results.

    Let justice be done. I wish i could say that, at the end of the day, let the best man win since politics in these mini-states tends to attract the worst of men while bringing out the worst in them.

  2. This piece is very poorly researched too brief and makes biased assumptions. Not to mention that the writer knows absolutely nothing about leadership. The mistakes, along with what C.ben-David mentions:
    Firstly Al Gore’s “an inconvenient Truth” was later found to have over 120 ERRORS, Along with stating that by the year 2015, 8 major cities would be under water. and NO, Al Gore cannot “tackle” Climate Change unless he is God, but according to Vincentians, that position has already been filled by Ralph Gonsalves.
    The writer also states that the ULP CLEARLY won….well that depends on perspective. For most Vincentians cheating is considered fair-play, so in that case Ralph did win (the thief in chief). Ralph Gonsalves has a habit of ignoring the courts when he does not like the verdict, this is what will happen if they decide the NDP won. Ralph is brutal when it comes to getting his way. You should hear about his University theatrics, overseas, when he did not do well on tests! Great leadership! Roadblock Revolution, etc…..
    What you are correct about is that only Eustace is striving to bring the country together. Ralph has consistently sought to divide the nation and punish all those who do not agree with him. If you are in Government you or your spouse will lose their job. If you are in the Private Sector Ralph gets Customs to go after you or gets those loyal to him in the police to “mess you up”.
    Unfortunately for us Ralph is a complete idiot in Economics and is like a vindictive child in matters concerning our society. Looks like we may have 5 more years to suffer under this monster!

    1. Difficult to see any bias in the article. The writer didn’t even state which of the two leaders he was referring to, leaving us to come up with that choice ourselves.

      However your bias is clear, as you have said Ralph is a “thief in chief”, a “complete idiot” and a “monster”. Little point in trying to debate with you on political matters and so I won’t bother.

      I will try on environmental matters though. While there are a number or minor errors in Al Gore’s book – the main argument behind the whole book – that humankind is causing global warming is consistent with hundreds of peer reviewed scientific studies.

      This view was also supported by the COP21 agreement made a couple of weeks ago where Ministers from almost 200 countries came to a legally binding agreement to reduce climate change. The Paris agreement aims to help the world abandon fossil fuels this century and to halt global warming.

      Given all this are you really saying that tackling climate change is not the job of our elected leaders?

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