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Thursday, February 26, 2015


Ideally, a nation is expected to “fight for” not “fight against” her “freedom”; therefore, was something intrinsically wrong with the twin-peaked Helen of the West (the island who is now renowned as the Land of Nobel Laureates) when she “fought against” her freedom from colonialism in 1979?

Was it unfortunate that Helen attained her political freedom from Britain under a massive cloud of industrial unrest? Was it true that the electorate was genuinely pitted against "freedom" to the point that three months after its historic achievement, the heroic “Father of the Nation” who led us into it was booted out of power with a vengeance by a margin of 12-5.

As untenable - and as unlikely - as the electoral loss by a margin of 12-5 was, it seemed to have signalled the beginning of the end of an infinite, unfolding “anathema” in a finite time and space.

At the height of SLP’s electoral euphoria, the news of a “secret pact” between the new Prime Minister (Sir Allen Louisy) and his magnetic deputy (George Odlum) surfaced and exploded like an IED when the former (who was a former High Court Judge) refused to relinquish the prime minister-ship resulting in a crescendo of national chaos.

The Government of the SLP eventually "self-destructed" and three years later in 1982, fresh elections were held resulting in the easy return to power by the Father of the Nation for another 15 years.

Despite all the irreversible chaos that characterized the reign of the SLP between 1979 - 82, it was believed that workers (especially Public Service workers) made unparalleled gains by way of better salaries and improved conditions of work.

There are parallelisms and lessons in 2014/15 which suggest we may have gone full circle.

Firstly, the deep divisions that characterised the SLP government now seem to be haunting the opposition UWP, seemingly exerting a greater “centripetal push” than “gravitational pull” on members and supporters.

Since Stephenson King was ousted as political leader, a series of major “fault lines” has emerged and continued to fracture the UWP causing apparently irreversible displacement from its central axis. Hence, stalwarts like ex-prime Minister Hon King and Mr Michael Floyd; indomitable dynamos like ex-minister of Housing, Hon Richard Frederick; thinkers with proven intellectual expertise like Dr Preville and now even the women like the Catherine Sealy are all pushed to the periphery by Chastanet’s centripetal force.

Secondly, trade unionism (this time the CSA) is in the limelight again. The CSA which was an overwhelming force on the battlefront in 1979 is now subject to self-destructing “anathema”. The politics which seemingly empowered the organisation in 1979 is now haunting it and threatening to bring it to its knees - thanks a fatal political miscalculation by its president to join the UWP and become a senator.

Let’s not deceive ourselves: invariably, there has been strategic alliances between the Unions and Political parties. However, thirty six years after Independence, Mary Isaac (by her acceptance of a senatorial appointment) took a crazy political quantum leap resulting in the crystallisation of the historically “strategic alliance” between a trade union and political party into a public love affair with the UWP.

The intensity of the dissensus among the rank and file CSA membership caused by Mary’s senatorial quantum leap in 2014, perhaps approaches the intensity of the national strife between the Unions and the government in 1979, if not greater.

As drowning Mary strives to clutch at a straw using a counter-petition designed to breathe fresh life into her presidency, the fault lines which characterise the UWP seems also to be rocking the CSA with Mary being the epicentre. The CSA is riddled with problems and issues and Senator Mary and her executive are apparently the two prime ones.

Mary’s tenacity may well not only hurt her; but equally her party. Her actions are providing boundless energy and ammunition to her distractors and not helping the cause of her party. The Labour Party must have completed the an effective and comprehensive campaign dossier on her and despite her contrived “testicular fortitude”, she has not shown that she has the right hormones to guide and sustain her intellect in a political death bull fight with the SLP.  

Unlike her predecessors like Calixte George, David Demacque and Raphael Kingsley St. Hill, Mary amply demonstrated that she is not much of a thinker; but more of a “grabber”, (grabbing a senator position, acting as General Secretary while president, etc). At the rate she is going, it's a matter of time before she begins to contend with her own self-destruction.

The outcome of the CSA meeting today was predictable; and it will be the outcome which will finally nail Mary on the Cross.

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