By Stephen Kangal
September 20, 2013
The critical factor underlying the growth, continuing relevance and survival of all political organizations especially in diverse democratic societies is the priority accorded to developing, adapting and embellishing an open-ended, politically-dominated and all-embracing strategic framework. It is against this standard that all challenges to the status quo/ existence are assessed and a politically correct and objectively determined response to external stimuli brain-stormed, conceptualized and implemented.
It is very clear to me that the UNC, obsessed with allocating and disbursing the rewards of the state to its financiers has not addressed the enormous challenges of assuming governance. Its false mantra is that whatever the PNM did, so can the UNC. It has not internalized nor responded to the differential political cultural practices endemic in T&T. It has allowed personal vindictive obsessions and the feelings of dwindling electoral security of a few to take precedence over the need to treat politically with these challenges that can achieve cohesiveness,, extinguish brush fires and retain electorate support.
The UNC now appears to be a one-term, politically bankrupt feeding trough. The leadership continues to make and repeat elementary political mistakes much to chagrin, humiliation and disappointment of those whose support propelled them on the crest of a high tide into coalition governance.
The strategy or lack thereof that was adopted in relation to their high profile in the THA elections demonstrated a fundamental ignorance of both the Tobagonian political and communal culture and its cohesive political elasticity in the face of outside threats of repossession imagined or real.
I had advised the UNC on the correct political position of reconciliation to be adopted relating to Jack Warner’s candidacy in the Chaguanas West bye-election. They preferred to sacrifice themselves on the altar of the get-even, vindictive agenda of Suruj Rambachan. The result is a mushrooming political challenge and divide to which hitherto they have demonstrated no credible political response at present. In politics win, lose or draw however poetic is not an option especially when in governance.
Their handling of relations with the COP in the face of the local government elections clearly demonstrates their political bankruptcy. The COP is now stronger in parliamentary terms holding the balance of power and preserving the façade of the coalition in the face of the uncertainty of the two Tobago votes. This is diminishing its national appeal and no one seems to care.
Why would any leader whose political stocks are in terminal decline want to trigger a potential bye-election in a traditional marginal seat after suffering political humiliation and hemorrhage in their two most recent electoral outings especially after invoking party political criteria to thwart prematurely the democratic will of the constituents of St. Joseph?
Lack of an integrative political strategy framework geared to underpin survival is manifesting itself in a number of ways. It may lead political pundits to conclude that the UNC has been located on a suicidal path that can only be circumvented by a credible leadership challenge to the status quo.