When Mr Wendell Mottley launched his Citizens Alliance party about a month ago, we thought that the former PNM minister was bent on establishing a third force to challenge the traditional bi-polar nature of the country's politics.
Others before him had tried to do so and failed, so we had to credit the ex-Olympic star with the courage of a revolutionary, seeking to change an age-old ethnic pattern. In the advertising blitz to sell his party, Mr Mottley invites citizens to "join the team that will untie the knot and unite the nation." Members, he promises, would be part of a "history making team that will produce a government based on integrity and transparency. He offers to pursue a new vision for TT by the creation of a party "that puts the national interest ahead of self-interest".
All these are noble sentiments and objectives and, judging by them, we were led to believe that Mr Mottley was attempting to introduce something fresh into the country's rather dreary even corrupt political life. It seems, however, that we may well be mistaken. It came as quite a disappointment to see Mr Mottley having discussions with, in an attempt to work out accommodation with other parties, including the UNC and the NAR for the coming general elections. The intention, it seems, is for the three parties to be joint partners sharing the same campaign platform.
If that report is true, we feel the country would like Mr Mottley to adhere to his vow of transparency and reveal his intentions to the citizens he invites to join his party. Mr Mottley promises something new yet he sees fit to hold discussions with the old parties, one over whose head a cloud of mismanagement hangs and which has had its day and is now virtually extinct. Is it Mr Mottley's plan to link up or associate his Citizens Alliance with these parties in any way? Is this part of his fresh vision for TT's future? Surely he must feel some obligation to clear the air of doubts that must arise following reports of his meeting with the UNC and NAR.
But there are other questions that Mr Mottley has provoked since he launched his party of character several weeks ago. The effort has been marked by an expensive and intense advertising campaign in both the print and electronic media, indicating that the CA leader enjoys considerable financial backing. Who, we must wonder, is funding his Alliance and what influence will they have on its policies? Are his backers people who were also associated with the UNC regime?
Perhaps the most significant question that concerns Mr Mottley's return to active politics is, what is he really about? So far, the CA leader has confined his public activities to marginal constituencies, starting with Tunapuna. Notably, he has yet to venture into the central areas. The result is a school of thought which sees Mr Mottley's role as one of splitting votes in the marginal areas. In any case, it is obvious that whatever effect the advent of his party and its participation in the coming elections can have, it will certainly not be to the benefit of the PNM which he once served in a number of ministerial positions.
If it is now Mr Mottley's aim to unseat the PNM and to support the UNC, that is his democratic right. But we believe he should say so. After all, that is what character is all about.
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