12 Mar 2010

A letter to the editor

They acknowledge his virtues of decency, humility, sincerity, integrity and vision but they argue that he lacks “charismatic appeal and oomph”.

These latter characteristics of leadership they associate with Prime Ministers Williams, Panday and Manning, but yet they search for a new style of leadership, acknowledging that these three have not advanced the Politics of Nationhood. There is therefore un-controvertible evidence that charisma and fancy political footwork (otherwise called oomph) do not constitute good governance.

It is difficult to understand their contradictions.

Their arguments seem to be located in the false assumption, if they discredit Dookeran they will inevitably promote Persad-Bissessar.

I suggest to the “bashers” that Dookeran has made no claim for leadership of a united political movement. The focus of the Leader of the Congress of the People is to advance the unification process through examining the issues and constructing the platform for meaningful dialogue and political action for a one-to-one electoral contest.

The national community is aware that the COP, through Dookeran has already presented to Persad-Bissessar’s faction of the UNC a document entitled Politics of Choice and has acknowledged the worth of NJAC and TOP by ensuring that they too receive copies of the document and submit their views.

Politics of Choice is divided into five headings with six sub-sectors, articulating the ideas and planning which must be considered and undertaken if the unitary process is not only achievable but also sustainable.

The 16-page document under the heading Strategic Imperative for Winning deals with:

•Engaging society in open dialogue on critical issues

•Achieving consensus of the parties

•Winning the Trust of the People - direct Citizens Participation

•Opportunity for uniting the People

The document proposes that to succeed in transforming attitudes and core values of our society the next government must firstly “find support from a critical mass of our people.” The Politics of Choice states that “our ultimate goal must not simply be to win an election but create a vibrant nationhood in which all our people feel that they can contribute to the development of our country regardless of class, ethnicity, gender or cultural background.”

In submitting its proposals for a new approach to politics the COP states “it does not come to this process of creating the political vehicle which will face the electorate with any pre-conceived notions as to the precise shape and form which such political vehicle will take.”

All ideas must contend and each step to achieving the goal must “be conducted in such a way as to earn the trust of the people by engaging them in the process”, through dialogue and debate.

The United Action Congress which COP is attempting to create must be constructed on the pillars of “clarity of values, passionate commitment to nationhood and an unwavering belief in building a better future for this country.” The opportunity for change is here. Let us embrace it and unite the country and move the citizens from fear to freedom, from distress to hope. The Dookeran bashers, if they are not to be recognised as PNM closest supporters, must change their agenda for achieving unity.

Advancing positions of competition and conflict between the COP and the UNC is in fact providing ammunition for the Manning administration to proceed with the old strategy of divide and rule. That is Manning’s only hope. The construction of the Church on the Guanapo Hill is not by chance but by necessity. A political graveyard is also part of its landscape. It is a logical component of Manning’s vision.

The country will be richer with both the charm and charisma of Kamla and the integrity and knowledge of Winston. Let the people decide.

They will establish the criteria for leadership which will ensure good governance in the 21st century and their support will be assured.