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Friday, March 8, 2013


St. Lucians may be now becoming increasingly aware that Kenny may not just be a good PM but also a master strategist! It is apparent that he knew from "Day One" where the negotiations were headed – a stark contrast to King in 2010 who was clueless and subjected himself to all sorts of manipulations unfitting of a prime minister.

The TUF initially seemed to have a long term sustainable strategy to deal with the ongoing wage negotiations; however, it became obvious with time that either that plan crumbled under the weight of its own anomalies or was frittered away because of apparent “technical insufficiencies” of the TUF. We can take the argument one step further and even assume that TUF perhaps didn’t know how to execute its own strategy or were perhaps overwhelmed when it discovered that the calculus if Kenny's strategy was as impenetrable as Gros Piton!

While the TUF wasted time forging a strategic alliance with an ineffectual opposition, Kenny proceeded to win the hearts and minds of “critical stakeholders” including but not limited to general public, the press and now the police while the TUF seemingly continued to be lose ground exponentially, even among its rank and file membership.

As a matter of opinion, it is now even being claimed that the majority of the 9000+ public servants may well have become massively disillusioned with the TUF’s unsustainable histrionics. A public servant told the POWERHOUSE that they are being made pawns in a TUF presidential power game between the incumbent and his challenger, who is the current President of the CSA”.

If this is true, then it is sad state of affairs for the public service to allow the political campaign for the TUF presidency to spill over as a dirty “Hawthorne effect” into the negotiation process, holding the TUF membership and the nation as a whole to ransom.

Another CSA member suggested that “there might well have been closure to the negotiations were it not for the infighting for the prestigious TUF presidency”.

No doubt, the TUF made history during King’s tenure as PM; they bypassed the negotiations process - which they ironically now claim that they so cherish and respect - and went straight to King who insensitively gave them exactly what they wanted, irrespective of the country’s ability to pay. That coup de grace – despite landing us into the current fiscal "red zone" we are now in - conferred upon the TUF leadership an ego, an air of invincibility and they rode blissfully on that high horse, deluding themselves into believing that they had found a lasting formula for success . . . Well, Kenny easily pulverized that myth in just one blow!

But the strange underlying paradox is – despite riding high - the TUF is essentially a weak “advocacy” coalition with just a strong front. They couldn’t even put forth a sound technical case to convince a technically-inclined GNT that the increases they sought were justifiable; they couldn’t convince the public or the press (or even some of their own members). Moreover, they didn’t even have the testicular fortitude to admit they had embarked on industrial action but instead choose to hide behind a “mystery illness”, depriving the nation's children of their legitimate education and the wider public of their goods and services. Yet they earned their full salaries even they didn't deserve it. They lacked intellectual honesty.

In conclusion, the TUF will come out of these negotiations a badly bruised and seriously wounded animal incapacitated by their own mystery illness and permanently haunted by ghosts of it. Not even their UWP consultants working behind the scenes can save them. Yet, we have to be wary of that wounded animal.  It can decide to surrender defeat with its tail between its legs and lick its wounds; or it can become erratic and unpredictable. In the case of the former, it can do two things: it can accept government's wage offer or go to arbitration. In the case of the latter, it can become irrational and continue on its path of industrial unrest designed to destabilize or even sabotage an already sick economy. In either case, it is caught between the horns of an unprecedented "black hole" type dilemma. Let’s see how they get out of it!

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