By Denys Springer
The greatest curse of our political age is the craven obsession of party managers unable to manoeuvre from the narrow pre-determined line, hitherto, in Saint Lucia today, the outcry for dynamic leadership: ‘PIP’ opposition leader Philip Pierre is expressed in song, literature, and endorsements locally, the diaspora and beyond.
Leadership is a fashionable subject and it is becoming more fashionable. Still, if there is one sure-fire winner for an aspiring political leader, it is theories about how to lead.
In our West Indian politics, there is a shortage of real leaders, more so in Saint Lucia at this juncture. However, leader of the opposition and the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP), Philip Pierre, in my view, is cut out to be a leader of some stature. So far, he is proved and tried and best prepared, based on his proven track record in government, his personal life and corporate enterprise.
Leadership contenders in the SLP and/or that of those aspiring from the government (United Workers Party (UWP)) are presumptuous and simple hierarchy outliners. Repeatedly, far too many senior politicians have the insight and self-confidence to contend with “outsiders” to complement their void, to draw inferences to the present. And further, a true leader cannot afford to have around him men and women that are flatterers.
Management theorists distinguish managers, “the implementers of strategy and leaders, the strategic formulators of a vision who inspire and lead”. Leadership is what counts in any organization to move forward and that is no different in politics. It, therefore, means having the ability to envision a future that is discretely separate from the present, and then position and lead so that the organization or government can survive and prosper in the future. It is an exercise in imagination and inspiration alike. In the modern global world, the traditional leader has been taken over by the transformational leaders who are now more aware that engagement is fundamental in the success of the organization and/or government.
If we apply this thesis to the present leadership of the government of Saint Lucia, we will find that leadership in those terms is conspicuously lacking. To reverse the current decline, a wholly different policy framework for the future is required, to formulate a vision and to inspire the people. Regrettably, the field is empty in reference to the presumptuous and simple hierarchy outliners that are unprepared to deal with an environment of petty-bourgeois, con-merchants, corrupt politicians, and so-called investors have replaced the colonials.
What many have witnessed with the government of Saint Lucia is the abundance of inept politicians, compromised leaders, bad policy, and consequently terrible application. The government is lost in the wilderness because they have no vision, beyond lining their pockets and a possible destiny with the wrong side of the law.
At at the last virtual meeting of the labour party, we heard outlines of a vision and policy from opposition leader Pierre, “Saint Lucia’s PM the great pretender”, published by Caribbean News Global (CNG). Interestingly, a vision was implanted in the minds of readers – an exciting one, with the potential of putting together a government that is real and attainable, built with content and substance; along with the democratic tenants of rights and freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing.
At this juncture of our democratic political life, we are presently crying out for leadership that can bring this country back from the brink to post COVID-19 prosperity. In my view that will not happen if this UWP government stays in power at the next general election.
Should this, unfortunate nightmare happens, we will witness the poor getting poorer and the petty-bourgeois, con-merchants, and corrupt politicians, establishing a third-world tinpot-dictatorship and an impoverished country. And regardless of what is forced-fed by the UWP government irritant communication outposts, their alternative version of reality, will not suffice to remedy the impurities.
Opposition leader Pierre is better positioned with the accredited skill, mind-set and policy direction to pull Saint Lucia through the hard times ahead. He is a man of humility, polite and astute. A politician who cares for his constituency and Saint Lucia. A leader who understands purpose, values, and good principle.
In contrast, the present UWP government operates within extraordinary narrow tramlines – a consensus built around a series of non-ideological propositions, to scratch each other’s back.
The task ahead is to defeat a mode of governance that is increasingly about the execution of Saint Lucia’s historical underpinnings for the creation of an illusion (practising magicians – OJO Labs; Desert Star Holdings (DSH); Cabot St Lucia ) – ‘building a new St Lucia’; on a ‘reverse mortgage concept’ using the land as collateral while borrowing from pensioners funds at the National Insurance Corporation (NIC). Albeit, by any formulation other than ‘impropriety’ is a distant cousin to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Perhaps, the UWP government should explain, given their assumed prowess about the sense of fairness, rights and privileges, ethics, and core values to the above-mentioned transactions towards Saint Lucia’s national development?
The labour party and a new government of Saint Lucia must move away from the ethos of re-colonialization, greed, and indecency. Saint Lucia needs to look towards Pierre’s leadership – alongside a vision that is tangible with achievable goals – “Putting People First” – alongside, a government that is dynamic, innovative, and creative.
Leader of the opposition and SLP, Pierre, has my support, and that of many progressives in the local sphere and worldwide, capable and available to correct gross inefficiency, assist with a forward agenda, and affix remedial measures to the perpetrators of corruption.
We cannot afford not to, explore the extent to which Pierre, is best prepared to lead Saint Lucia from the brink (not those that are presumptuous, simple hierarchy outliners and flatterers) however, procrastination is the thief of time.