Friday, February 23, 2018

An open letter to Dr the Hon Keith Rowley, MP


Mark Fraser

I am feeling in a good mood today so I am going to give the beleaguered Dr the Hon Keith Rowley some free advice.

I do so mindful of the fact that we live in a modern democracy and a good opposition which does its job and keeps the government on its toes can only benefit a country.

The Opposition is losing its bearings and I detect a growing sense of concern by party members that Dr Rowley may not have been the best choice for leading the People’s National Movement (PNM) into the next general election.

At the same time I detect on the other side a growing confidence that Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s stars are in the ascendancy; that like Barack Obama, she will just pull it off one more time.

So clearly, Dr Rowley, you need help and here are my five pieces of advice. Don’t worry, you will not have to pay in Canadian dollars.

Firstly, forget the hang up with “Dr”. Don’t tell me this “Dr” thing does not bother you. It has been raised several times on your platforms and more recently in a news release by your party. In politics, it is better to be known by a single name like Obama, Roosevelt or Churchill and even Kamla, instead of pompous sounding terms like the Honourable “Dr” Keith Rowley.

Are you comfortable in your own skin? Let it die.

Next free advice is get rid of Camille Robinson-Regis. She just does not fit the pit-bull bill. Twenty years ago, maybe. There are many bright, young members of your party who would do justice to your party’s efforts to present its case. Are you strong enough to let these youths shine?

So get new, better, young spokespersons.

The third bit of free advice is stay away from the likes of Ancel Roget and the rabble rousers in the labour movement. Rabble rousing is bad for the PNM.

The PNM used to be a party of erudition and analysis. In case you have forgotten, it stands alone. It wins or loses alone. It does not need hangers-on, let alone the noisy, fossilised leadership of the present trade union movement.

Eric Williams was about intellectualism and, under you, it appears to be gossip and ole talk. It does not look good watching you as captain lead a fancy sailor band marching, ringing bells and shouting to bring down the Government. You look ridiculous in that fancy sailor outfit.

Do you think you will ever see Hillary Clinton marching with the equivalent of Roget?

The fourth bit of advice is to come up with some new policies and plans to take our country forward. You have to give the country an idea of what a Keith Rowley government will look like. Right now you are not looking good with a blank slate of policies. We have an increasingly large and growing middle class who want to see some meat on the bones. I have said it before, Trinidad and Tobago will not let you win by default and govern by vaps. So show us your PhD is really worth something.

The last bit of advice is have a better strategic communications plan. Right now you seem to be using what we call “pot hound” communications. This means “running after and barking at every passing car”. Why do you have to bark at every issue? Sooner or later, people will get fed up of you; or the other side will set you up by driving many cars along the road and you will be kept busy barking constantly at moving vehicles. This will not augur well for your sanity. A Rottweiler is not a pot hound. It has pedigree.

You will recall in my first article, I stressed that you should not count your chickens before they were hatched. Kamla Persad-Bissessar is strong, determined, understands the power of timing and will take the necessary and hard decisions that will redound to good governance. She is also someone who believes in due process and ensuring all facts must be on the table before she makes a decision.

Unlike you, she does not subscribe to rabble rousing, getting angry and being a raging bull.

I wish you well. In fairness to you, I have provided my five points. But you are harden and that is why I believe Kamla will win in 2015.