In the Grenada Elections on March 13, the New National Party (NNP) was returned to office, winning all fifteen seats. In the region, this was followed by the Barbados elections on May 24, in which the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) sustained a similar humiliating defeat, not being able to win a single seat in the Barbados thirty-seat parliament.
This seems a chilling testimony of how our NDC leadership is similar to that of the DLP in attitudes, political skills and vision.
One of the attitudes shown by the NDC leaders over time, which may be true of the DLP, is an inability to make an honest appraisal of themselves. For instance, in 2013, when the NDC suffered a similar demoralising defeat at the polls, they said they had lost the elections at the electoral office, meaning that a high proportion of their supporters had opted not to register to vote, and therefore had not voted.
An honest appraisal would have informed differently. It would have revealed that the NDC failed to attract sufficient votes because of an indifferent leadership, which led to inadequate management, and inadequate strategies.
Now, they have lost again, they have returned to playing a similar political game with the electorate, that of blaming everything else, but themselves.
We are not hearing anything about their inadequate political and economic strategies over the last ten years, which have been indicating to Grenadians that they lack the quality of leadership capable to giving us the kind of social and economic direction we badly need, nationally and regionally, at this time.
Because of indifferent leadership, the NDC has continued over time to oversimplify complex issues to make easy political gain, and has failed to capitalise sufficiently on the political opportunities offered to them recently, by the NNP’s policy, fiscal management and the 2016 referendum.
A major issue of the referendum such as the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) offered them the opportunity to be part of a movement to achieve something meaningful for themselves, the ‘nation’ and the region, but they were so firmly locked up in their posture of negativity, that they were blind to this.
In addition to this self-imposed debilitating negativity, another posture which we saw being displayed more recently, which was quite evident during their referendum campaign was something, which may be referred to as aggressiveness.
One of their political strategists may have come up with this aggression theory, and they began to posture it, despite all their shortcomings, especially from 2008 to 2013, which the electorate was still remembering, and had not yet forgiven them for.
It often takes a lot more than a posture of aggression to annul one’s mistake and shortcomings, but the NDC leadership seemed very unaware of this. This aggressive mindset went a long way in making them believe that they had had a perfect performance in government from 2008-2013, and they could sustain this flawless performance if they had won the recent elections.
This belief in the power of aggression, made them believe also that the only thing, one could fight fire with is fire.
This preoccupation with fighting with fire, blinded people like Ray Roberts to the fact, that usually water is the best thing to fight fire with, such that, had they advised their supporters to vote for the CCJ, they would have gone down in history as making a significant contribution to our decolonisation process, and ultimately our achievement of real independence.
Thus, in the general elections, they may have gained much more than just being able to maintain their support base.
The NDC leadership seemed shamefully ignorant of the fact that in addition to the decolonisation and independence issue, our exodus from the British Privy Council to the CCJ is also important for creating the new Grenadian/Caribbean person, for it would change how at present, we define and appraise ourselves.
They are also embarrassingly ignorant of the fact, that the CCJ is an important destination (what is often referred to as a rite of passage), for us on the road to self-discovery and self-determination, and a more positive social and political mindset.
Shamefully too, we noticed that many supporters of the NDC, to justify the stance their party took vis-a-vis the CCJ, during the referendum, hoped that Freundel Stuart’s DLP would win the May 24th elections and take Barbados out of the CCJ.
They failed to see that Stuart was appealing to an adolescent perception of Barbadian nationalism and Barbadian pride, in a last ditch attempt to win an election, his party did not believe it could otherwise win.
It is very hurtful to know that these NDC supporters do not know our history sufficiently, to perceive, that our trend over time is not to blindly follow others.
This has been shown over and over again by leaders such as Gairy, Bishop and T.A. Marryshow. Indeed, Marryshow is famous throughout the region as the Caribbean man, who began the regional integration movement in the 1920s.
Within the ranks of the NDC, somebody needs regularly to take up the role of devil advocate in an attempt to rescue what appears to be a drifting and lost ship.