THE THIRTY-NINE PERCENT
Anyone can criticise anything! They may do so for good or wrong reasons! The recently-published findings of a CADRES poll have some folks unhappy and ready to apply logic and illogic to discredit Mr Wickham. He may well deserve 'a hit', but what is the point really when we have not yet voted? We could decide to put anybody in our Parliament and accept anybody as Prime Minister. Since its 2013 defeat, the NDC ought to have had one driving cause, that is, to win the next elections.
Default conditions aside, victory is a function of process and relationships. So, if on the eve of General Elections, we find that thirty-nine percent of the polled electorate are uncommitted, that points in two directions. Firstly, the failure of the NDC in three years to do what was required to be done. Secondly, the party now has a 'rush-hour' task to convince those voters before the elections. What are their prospects?
Back in 2013-14, the NDC had a big decision to make, that of electing a successor to Tillman. The 'prepared' delegates elected Victor Burke as party leader and they had every right to do so. Some onlookers and analysts doubted the wisdom of that decision for many reasons. One view was that the party should have approached the issue from the viewpoint of electing someone who was evidentially acceptable as a national leader as against party leader, per se.
A radical view? Not really, as NDC elected Brathwaite in 1990. Some party people said that they wanted someone who could fight Keith and that "Kete 'fraid Buk"! Without trying to find a fight between the two in which Burke prevailed, no alert Grenadian needed a Bajan pollster to tell them that Burke was not a preferred leader among the people. One hears it everywhere. NDC people hear the same thing.
The NDC may be proud of the internal unity, documents and structures achieved under Burke's leadership, but will be hard-pressed to show that he made genuine efforts to build relationships among the business community and with certain significant others. Victor will not deny that. This unfortunate failure has nothing to do with any lack of charisma. It is rooted in poor judgment! On the face of it, emphasis seems to have been put on loyalty which is not a portal to victory. The posture is of hands clasping the chest instead of open arms! Woiii! Not good!
Most readers will agree that whereas character is a leadership quality, intellect is not.
'Running- down' the pollster and decrying the mischief in the poll will not add a single vote to the NDC, simply because those are not seeds for the harvest. Such may be pleasing to the base, but unattractive to potential NDC voters who are the important catchment for victory.
Those persons do not wish to be fed a daily menu of the 'bad hombres' in the Greenery! They want to hear quality proposals for improving individual welfare, the economy, governance and society. They want to see a Public Relations strategy that makes political sense and a party branding that is lifestyle-driven, not aimlessly playing with colours as in pre-primary school art and bleaching the face of the founding fathers!
They have been disappointed at a 'People's Parliament' where they could only listen, not speak! They want to be able to say that they respect the leader even though he is not strong on likeability. They want to see Burke make the transition from party leader to national leader. They do not wish to buy him as an Economist or Lawyer. They are unhappy to see the fulfilment of his vow to engage in the politics on his own terms. They do not wish to be led by a surrogate! They do not want to hear language as "struggle for the liberation of Grenada"...unhappy memories! They thirst for an image of the NDC that projects confidence and credibility.
They want compelling reasons to shift from abstention to affirmation. That is the job the NDC must do as a matter of urgency if it wishes to win the favour of the thirty-nine percent.