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Tuesday, February 17, 2015


After listening to Senator Mary Isaac and her pedantic sidekick Wilford Pierre on RCI’s NewSpin with Timothy Poleon on Monday, I vaguely recalled the story of Don Quixote!

With all due respect, the embattled president reminded me of Don Quixote and Mr Pierre reminded me of his knight companion Sancho Panza.

Mr Pierre argued that at the last CSA election of officers, his Madam President won a whopping 800 votes out of 3100. From that premise, he went on to conclude that 124 out of a paltry group of 150 petitioners who voted in favour of her removal from office was therefore a sham, a mockery when compared to her president's margin of victory when she won the presidential vote! 

Despite the quixotic nature of Mr Pierre's analysis, we should not underestimate its inherent propaganda potential and its ripple effect especially on un-nuanced listeners.

Mr Pierre’s argument was an intuitively powerful one; but it was also loaded with a dangerous Hitlerian logic. Indeed, Adolph Hitler once wrote that “The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. . .”; hence, Hitler suggested that when you wish to reach them, then your strategy should be based on oversimplified slogans and myths disguised as "simple truths".

Let me debunk the quixotic Sancho Panza myths peddled by the former DPS, EU’s National authorising Officer and “economist extraordinaire”. 

Firstly, he claimed that Mary earned 800 votes and that this represented 42% of all CSA votes (n = 3100). Let's forget about Sancho Panza's reckless error and agree that 800 was equivalent to 42% (even if the correct answer is 25%). We can therefore argue that she didn't get the support of the majority (which lies between 58 - 75%) of the membership who either didn't vote for her or abstained. 

The second point is: 124 out of 140 petitioners (83%) voted for her resignation as president. Hence, while a whopping 800 voted her in, a paltry number as small as 75 (or 2% of the total membership) can remove her from office. Therefore, even if all the 800 members who voted for her were to submit a post hoc vote of confidence in her (in the form of another petition) after the first petition, it is immaterial and cannot in law supersede or neutralise the petition by the paltry 75 members.

Hence, the strange paradox is: the same constitution which legitimized her elevation to the presidency consequent upon the 800 votes she received can also legitimise her removal from that office by a petition of a paltry group of 75 members.

It is important to note that Mary has not objected or even debated the “substantive” legitimacy of the petition; all she has indicated is she has issues with is the procedure, arguing that the agenda for the meeting was not sanctioned by the executive. Technically, that may mean she may well have capitulated but she is perhaps only playing political games by seeking to counteract her imminent removal from office with her own version of an illegal counter-petition and seeking a second vote.

Indeed, the first petition supersedes the second petition; and, if her contention that the first petition was illegal had any merit, then the blame can be laid squarely at her feet for dereliction of duty to the point where her attempts might be construed as sabotage and "complicity" to deny the petitioners their constitutional right. So, Mary and her entire executive can be found to be culpable from many angles. 

The public utterances of Mr Pierre and her embattled senator-president give many clues that there are many things are not right within the CSA. Firstly, why should the president (who is also a UWP senator) in contravention of the CSA constitution officially replace the general secretary as a paid employer for six weeks, allow the vice president to act as president, and thereafter upon the expiration of the six weeks, return to the chair of president? That does not make moral, ethical or logical sense to me and I hope the general council, the executive and the general membership move to regularised that anomaly. If it were a precedent, then it is a bad one and it is one that is in contravention of the CSA constitution.

The pioneers of the first petition need not worry about Mary’s and Wilfred’s diversionary tactics. Time is on their side. In the context and spirit of the CSA constitution, the president's temporary appointment as General Secretary is not only a conflict of interest but equally should be declared null and void. Technically, she would have voluntarily vacated the office of president when she takes up position of general secretary. If I were the petitioners, I would go further and seek an injunction either way.

The nation as a whole does not seem happy with the direction of the the CSA. Listening to Mary and Pierre on NewSpin (on Monday), I get a clear impression that CSA is beginning to look like a plantation with a highly politicised superstructure plagued by deep conflict of interest problems, corruption and a polarised membership. The CSA president’s migration to the UWP with one foot (along with a pro-UWP executive) firmly planted on that plantation has created a "humpty-dumpty" organisation. It is now incumbent on the CSA intelligentsia and membership to act proactively to avert this impending catastrophe before it's too late.

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