By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
October 23, 2013
The paucity of votes (62,000) Jack Warner’s Independent Liberal Party (ILP) mustered at the 21 October 2013 local government elections sent a very loud and clear signal/message to the extent that the electorate wanted more than just fanfare, entertainment, elaborate promises and jerseys (money was good too).
Indeed, Uncle Jack must now ask himself these serious, ex post election introspective questions: Where did all my putative green supporters go and did not do, according to plan, on election day?; Were the pre- election day numbers a mere illusion of popular support?; Did my putative green supporters just went with the green flow/ride with no previous intention of so voting?—“Is party time.”
These are definitive, up close and personal/political factors/issues for Jack Warner to ponder/deal with as he determines/decides the ILP’s future political modus operandi.
The fact of the matter is that prior to election date in October 2013, the ILP promised to make a significant difference in the genre of the political landscape/campaigning in Trinidad and Tobago— it certainly did not happen.
Instead, the ILP got itself sucked into the same ole same-o of personal character assassination, mud-slinging, and known unfounded/baseless public, puerile accusations of wrong-doings to and from and between the three major electoral contenders. To this writer’s assertion, this was the ILP’s cardinal Achilles heel. The ILP took the bait that eventually led to its total self-destruction and massive defeat at the polls. The ILP destroyed itself in this virgin electoral process.
Truth Be Told: In hindsight, the leadership of the ILP should not have reacted/responded to the daily public accusations thrown at it the ILP leadership, for its part, should have steadfastly stood above all the insane, political madness as it promised to adhere to, period. It did not.
Nevertheless, the TV video tapes undoubtedly show that the responses from the leadership of the ILP generated untold laughter from the massive crowds, but most importantly, these same massive crowds did not laugh all the way to cast their vote for the ILP, period.
Indeed, these massive crowds, albeit putative genuine ILP supporters, might have had lots of fun at the ILP rallies, but they were dead serious as an iron door nail or re-enforced cement laced with iron rods when they stamped that X on the ballot form. And that X was not stamped next to an ILP candidate, period. Let’s be very clear about electoral reality today.
On the campaign trail, Jack Warner’s well-known/trademark (TM), signature cliché was “but not tonight.” However, in an ironic twist of to, apparently, the ILP supporters (unknown to the IPL political leader), returned the favour and told Jack Warner and the ILP in no uncertain terms on 21 October 2013, “but not today” for my vote— reality test for the IPL.
In hindsight,albeit 20/20 vision, Jack Warner should have calculated, albeit known, that in the historical process of neo-colonialism, it would have taken more than three months for this country’s electorate to extricate itself from the entrenched bottomless pit of myopic tribal politics.-three months just wasn’t enough time, Uncle Jack.
Truth Be Told: The ILP needs to regroup, repackage itself with more publicly experienced and qualified / recognized leaders at the top and to present itself not as Jack Warner ‘s political party, per se— word from the political wise. In Trinidad and Tobago today, looks mean any and every thing, period. That’s it, whether it makes sense or not, period.
The ILP must realize that in myopic tribal politics, perception often becomes and/or is seen as stark reality and with Jack Warner clad in damaged clothes/garments as the focal point/target, the ILP will constantly remain a bitter, difficult pill for this electorate to swallow on any election day.
Moreover, the mere thought process/ notion of Jack Warner as Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago seems too ghastly to contemplate for Trinbagonians.
That’s the reality of the nature of the beast called myopic tribal politics in Trinidad and Tobago today, period. And as the deceased, renowned American CBS “Evening News” anchor Walter Cronkite used to say: “And that’s the way it is.”
Put another way, the ILP needs to produce/ present more recognized and popular acceptable heavyweights in order to defeat/crush the challenge of myopic tribal politics in Trinidad and Tobago; otherwise, their tenure would be a mammoth exercise in political futility, period.
The salient fact of the matter is that, accepted or not, Jack Austin Warner, should recuse himself as Interim Leader of the ILP and appoint a permanent leader ( not now) in order for the defeated ILP to garner the slightest scintilla of trust/hope if the new and improved/revamped ILP wants to stabilize itself as a viable third political force to be recognized in the country.
However, by the very nature of myopic tribal politics in Trinidad and Tobago, it must be remembered and noted that negative baggage in any form or fashion speaks volumes as to the spinal cord of the insane, myopic political reality in this country today, period.
In the final analysis, the vast majority of the Trinbagonian electorate may be sympathetic toward the ILP amidst the madness and insanity of myopic tribal politics. But when the electorate thinks hard and long, that’s when Jack Warner’s public, negative national cum international accusations and whatever reputation rear their ugly, unacceptable heads for all to see and to be ashamed of, period. That’s when Jack Warner transforms himself into an indefensible political liability for the ILP.
Shem Hotep (“I go in peace”).
Dr. Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecturer at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-ooperative Studies.