PNM win a double-edged sword
Sincere congratulations to the PNM which has demonstrated, once again, its resilience in the politics of Trinidad and Tobago. Despite the specious statements by the People’s Partnership about being successful, the unbelievable statement by the Congress of the People that they did very, very well and the hopeful statement of the Independent Liberal Party that it performed well in its embryonic stages, the PNM really performed at the recent local government polls.
In leadership, results count. Not whining about obstacles.
This victory can become pyrrhic, as bad as those defeats the UNC and ILP suffered, if the complaints which the PNM has been making over the past three years that their corporations and PNM-controlled areas were being starved of resources—if those complaints go unheeded. Diego Martin springs to mind whenever it rains heavily and Laventille comes into focus regarding employment.
Now that the PNM has gained control of the majority of regional corporations, the people will expect it to perform, where previously they believed they were being neglected. This is a golden opportunity for the PNM to perform and for the people to judge its performance. If found wanting, it can cost the PNM the next general elections. Alternatively, good performance will solidify its case to be returned to government.
Despite the seeming continuation of tribal voting, these two major constituencies have been diminishing over the past few years, owing to the increasing literacy of the population, especially the youths who have access to very many sources of education. The shrinking tribal pools have resulted in an increasing constituency of “undecideds” or “fence-sitters” which is a very important consideration for any political party wishing to win power. These undecideds or fence-sitters usually vote on issues rather than rhetoric or mauvais langue.
The sticking to the issues policy no doubt favoured the PNM, which is quite a good start to it reinventing and distancing itself from other parties, including the “old PNM”. This is what is required to put pressure on the other parties, which will have to improve their game for the next general elections.
The PNM’s victory augurs well for the entire country, as all parties will fall over themselves in trying to prove that they can perform for the people who will be able to judge the performance and attitudes of all parties, come the general election.
Given these considerations, the PNM must be prepared to hit the ground running and demonstrate to the people, certainly its constituents, that it is the government-in-waiting. Missteps will jeopardise its chances at the next general elections.
Leadership is about getting results and the PNM must demonstrate its worthiness as an all-inclusive political party that can fairly and objectively govern the entire Trinidad and Tobago or else it will fall on its own sword and have no one to blame but itself!