Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Is it too late?

The 1971 classic “It’s Too Late” is sung by Carole King who composed the soul-searching music for the lyrics written by Toni Stern and produced a masterpiece listed by Rolling Stone magazine  as one of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

The song is about the end of a loving relationship with no hope of reconciliation:

“And it’s too late, baby, now it’s too late

Though we really did try to make it

Something inside has died and I can’t hide

And I just can’t fake it.”

There are persons who have written off the Congress of the People (COP) as dead and remain upset with its leadership for bringing the party into disrepute by remaining silent in the face of serious allegations of impropriety made against the People’s Partnership.

Pulling from the lines stated above, those persons view the intention of the COP to renew its vows of political integrity as “too late” bearing in mind all the missteps made in the past. For them their relationship with the party is over and some have gone elsewhere or become political hermits.

It is unfortunate that the COP squandered its goodwill and took the love of its supporters for granted because the issue is whether it can be resuscitated, presuming of course that it is not dead,  in time for the 2015 general election.

The filing of nomination papers by four persons for the post of political leader, with three of the contenders holding ministerial portfolios suggests that the position is a coveted prize.

Many would argue that the COP is dead, nothing more than, as first described by Basdeo Panday, a “corpse,” after the entity failed to distinguish itself politically as a force to be reckoned with.

However, there are persons who believe that the COP has a fundamental role to play in the politics because a significant portion of the population which does not belong to the base of either of the major parties —the UNC and the PNM, and which is often referred to as the third constituency, is always ready to support a party that promotes integrity, transparency and accountability in government.

 For such persons, the PNM and the UNC have lost their political appeal and lack the freshness and dynamism of a party that is moving forward with the times and adhering to a strict code of conduct for those chosen to represent the people.

Unfortunately, the COP has blown all its chances to keep its identity separate and apart from the UNC, its major partner in the coalition, and despite numerous cries by its rank and file to distance the party from the alleged and proven wrongdoings of the Government, the COP has found every excuse in the book to protect its major partner.

Let me hasten to add that keeping its identity in the Partnership and remaining true to its core values does not mean that the COP should have “mashed up the Government” and walked away, but instead, when there were instances of ministers going astray or decisions of the Government that were in blatant violation of good governance, the COP should have recorded its disagreement and reminded its partners of the terms, conditions and fundamental principles of the Fyzabad Accord.

The leadership should then have called its membership to meetings to explain its decisions and re-assure them that the party was standing firm on issues of honesty, truth and justice.

By so doing, the COP would have held firmly to its base and in the process of accounting to its membership, attracted others to join the party that claims to be the flagship of new politics.

This approach was not adopted perhaps because it would have forced the leader to account for the frequent departure from the manifesto of the COP, a matter which would not be easily excused.

The lack of trust by the membership of the leadership has resulted in widespread apathy throughout the party and there have been resignations by persons who view the COP as on its way to the burial ground.

That having been stated, the four contenders for leadership will have to explain, at least in the case of the three ministers, the reason for the apparent weakness of the COP in times when it ought to have stood its ground.

Another matter likely to be raised is the numerous times the COP promised to recommit to its core values and the explanation for failing the membership in this regard.

Very important is the manner in which each contender intends to make the COP politically relevant.

Or is the call for the relevance of the COP too late?