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Monday, January 13, 2014


"Kenny is King; Chastanet wants to be King; but King would have none of it!"

 This is an "imperfect article" comprising my raw and perhaps illogical thoughts (perhaps, in raw language) about the "leadership imperfections" plaguing the UWP. Some take joy from it; some are embarrassed by it; some are stunned by it! Some even claimed that they had predicted it! How anyone looks at it is perhaps dependent on his/her "political frame of reference". The POWERHOUSE opinion is simple: it is good for democracy! If the raison d'etre of political parties is to seek to govern a country, then they cannot behave like underground, "freemason societies". In that sense, the playing of what's happening to the UWP (at least, some of it) in the public domain should not necessarily be seen  in a purely "negative term of reference". It's our right to know and to have a voice on what is inside a party, especially which has been in government for a number of years and may well be the next potential government of St. Lucia again. It is against this background that I have constructed my thoughts and have choosen to share them with you.

Soldiers vs hacks
Geographically, St. Vincent is St. Lucia’s closest OECS neighbour; but, politically, they maybe the furthest apart. While in St. Vincent, the Opposition Leader claims it was “unacceptable” that his party were excluded from an emergency disaster response (EDR) meeting, in St. Lucia, the opposition is “hard heels of an apparent meltdown” over the attendance of our opposition leader at such a meeting.

No matter how facetious it may sound, St. Vincent’s Prime Minister’s response to the opposition is not only a “master shot” but it is instructive: the country was in a war with nature and “soldiers don’t wait for an invitation to join the war; soldiers report for duty.”

In St. Lucia, UWP soldiers instead of reporting for duty were fighting among themselves over the attendance of the Leader of the Opposition to a meeting with the PM to discuss EDR.

The UWP literally flayed King for “reporting for duty”; but King may be a smart kid with the wisdom of his own precedent when he invited Kenny to report to duty during Tomas.  Perhaps, Kenny might have been guided by that precedent.

Is it a Tantalus story?
Perhaps Chastanet’s “reflect action” response to King’s “autonomous” participation in an EDR meeting may be a broader issue than we may have ever contemplated.

There is a school of thought that the sale of the Chastanet’s economic dynasty to Neal and Massy is linked to the preparation of Allen for the prime ministership of St. Lucia which (based on the economic tatters we are now in) seemed imminently possible; but King’s increased “affirmative action” is seen as a major stumbling block and it is beginning to look like Allen’s fortunes in that regard may have hit an unlikely speed bump and hence his pursuit of that “fruit” may have been sincerely intercepted, if not stalled.

In that sense, Allen may now be compared to Tantalus who sees the prime ministerial fruit hanging mere millimeters away from his power-hungry grasp but despite his overwhelming hunger, that fruit continues to tantalize and elude him.

Apparently, Chastanet's overwhelming hunger for the prime-ministership is balanced by an equal and opposite overwhelming disenchantment among a vociferous UWP crew in the diaspora.

In short, Chastanet may have won the battle for delegates; but now he has to win the internecine war within the party and ultimately electoral victory. The orchestrated euphoria at the convention has apparently been melted away by the heat of the war and washed out by a huge tide of disenchantment.

Goliath meets the Colossus
There’s a view that the ongoing battle between the two “Titanic” UWP leaders blatantly exposes the reliability of the convention results; the view goes further with the assumption while support within the “UWP community” for Chastanet is vociferous, it is far more numerous for King. The general result is an increasingly growing confidence of the latter - and more and more the Leader of Her Majesty's Opposition (LOO) is beginning to look like the de facto and natural UWP leader. A further view is: although the King is longer prime minister, he, in the prevailing circumstances, looks far more prime ministerial (in word, deed or thought) than Chastanet who seeking to “displace” him.

But the complexity of the internecine war happening within the Flambeau party goes far beyond the battle between King and Chastanet and the pontifications of the vociferous pro-Chastanet faction and their bland “Jook Bois” PR which are only increasing the magnitude of the collateral damage.

As was the case during reign of the Vaughan Lewis, the UWP again has two leaders. After Vaughn lost the 1997 elections, Sir John came out of retirement and “retook the leadership” and (as he had done in 1982), he returned the UWP to power in 2006. This time around the configuration is different but the storyline is the same: two leaders (namely “LOO” and a Party leader (PL) with their respective camps) juggling for power.

Let’s briefly turn our attention to the rationalization of the tension between the camps.

The pro-Chastanet rationalization of the tension between the two camps emanate from the LOO’s failure to succumb to the PL. That rationalization may well be a battle-weary indication, if not an open admission, of the extent of Chastanet's impotence as PL or equally of the extent of the “omnipotence” of the LOO within the UWP Empire.

The omnipotence of the LOO with the UWP Empire is a compelling argument in favour King. As LOO, does he really have to succumb to the PL, especially in the context of the St. Lucia constitution which is officially silent on recognition of the latter? Further, why did that dichotomy apparently worked so well for the SLP (during Kenny and Louisy) and why isn’t it working for the UWP under the leadership of Chastanet? Did the SLP have a policy of “separation of powers” which allowed the LOO to fulfill his constitutional function with autonomy, independence and integrity? Before the Chastanet faction went to work on King, it should have done its necessary research on the antecedents and weigh the "pros and cons" consequent.

Goliath vs the Colossus
If the electoral contest between Dalson and Chastanet was seen as a battle between David and Goliath, then the leadership struggle between King and Chastanet must be seen as a battle between Goliath and the Colossus with each is wearing his own crown; but despite losing the “political leader” crown, it looks like the Colossus (perhaps having taken a page from David's Book on how to slaughter Goliaths) is rapidly closing in on an unlikely victory; but despite the imminent possibility of Chastanet’s doom, the little victims like Arsene laugh at their fate.

Does Goliath lie so low?
The ongoing battle between Goliath and the Colossus has left many of us dumbfounded! After such an impressive first knockout round, how could Goliath who is endowed with all his faculties of brilliance allow the Colossus with a corresponding deficiency of those faculties make him “lie so low”?

Paradoxically, it must have been that impressive first knockout punch that paved the way for his downfall. As the UWP “FACTORS” suggested in their missive to the PL, the answer must have been in the PL’s convention game plan which must have been based on a case of mistaken identity. Because “Kenny is King”, the radioactive knock-out punch was probably designed for Kenny but thrown at King by mistake, resulting in irreversible internal division and bitterness within the UWP empire.

But like the Phoenix from the Ashes, the Colossus and his protective belt of underground soldiers miraculously rose again; no doubt, Tucker and the Lion Heart were/are the field marshals; and with them around, it won’t be a walkover the Colossus.

What is currently happening to the UWP is not without precedent in St. Lucia! During Compton’s reign, the SLP crumbled under its own anomalies until Kenny ushered in an era of rock-solid stability. Which new Flambeau leader will emerge to remove Flambeau from the doldrums? Chastanet has yet to demonstrate that he is that leader. If anything, he seems to have captained the UWP Titanic closer to the iceberg of political destruction than King ever did.

It is evident the Flambeau fracas has an irreversible fatal tone. The normally minor post-convention political cracks seemed to have become a major geological “strike-slip fault” and it does seem to represent a precursor to an imminent major 10.1 political earthquake coming UWP way.

If this were to happen, then does the party hierarchy have the requisite tension and compression to withstand the earthquake? If it does, then it surely would have passed a major structural litmus test. The question is: what would be equivalent to a “pass”? Would it be the removal of King as LOO?

Another question is: Suppose King is removed, then who and what? The tenacious Richard is definitely out! The popular assumption is: if you remove King, then you also remove Richard! Dr Gale Rigobert has said she's not interested. Mr Arsene James (a former Opposition Leader) said he is not ready yet. That leaves Guy and Estaphan for the job.

On the surface, Guy is playing an ambivalent game; but I believe his ambivalent posturing is just a smokescreen. I am sure that I’m not the only one who is of the view that Guy will do anything to please his master. Hence, I wouldn’t be surprised that he would allow himself to be railroaded into the position by default!

A downgrade from a King to a Guy may have catastrophic consequences for the UWP and I suspect the displacement of the King as LOO may well be a fatal faux pas that may well represent major moral victory for the Colossus over Goliath.

But whatever happens in the end will be good for democracy in the sense that it will give the spectator “voters” a sneak preview of a political party’s internal stability and readiness to assume the reigns of power.

Meanwhile and on top of all that is happening, Kenny remains King; Chastanet desperately wants to be King; but King would have none of it!”

Over the Calypsonians!

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