Stinging lesson from the voters
I have observed the recent THA election campaign with a great degree of interest, and at times amusement. The political offerings during the campaign and after the elections have run the gamut from the sublime to the ridiculous.
However, what astounds me the most is the apparent refusal of the People's Partnership to accept that their party — TOP — could have suffered the ignominious defeat that it did, losing all of the 12 contested seats, a complete and utter rejection by the electorate. That it did so in spite of, some may say because of, the unfettered mobilisation of the Partnership's substantial financial muscle together with the high profile canvassing of its heavy hitters, has confounded the leaders of the Partnership even more.
There is a risk/reward trade-off for such a heavy and naked investment — you claim the spoils of victory or take the ashes of defeat in the public relations arena depending on the outcome of the fight. The Partnership bought the Tobago fight – big time – and now they are covered in ashes.
Rather than try to fathom the reason for so massive a rejection, their leaders are offering paltry excuses while noting, not so subtly, that Tobagonians have chosen (again) a failed, corrupt and long-tenured administration over one of professed hope and prosperity.
They are in a state of denial, but stinging defeat cannot yet mask the bitterness and resentment.
What seems so elusive to these politicians is the understanding that the electorate is now more enlightened and politically aware. No longer can they be bought for "ah food". They are now prepared to "eat ah food" and still vote you out!
They are demanding that trust be a fundamental part of any political agreement. What good is a promise of jobs and houses when you can't be trusted to fulfil campaign promises of fairness and fair play? They are not prepared to pretend that Section 34 did not happen; that the Reshmi affair was an aberration.
They frown upon the "is we time now"mentality that seems so pervasive and are indignant and intolerant of the Partnership's arrogance and high-handedness, just as they were to that of the Manning administration, which they eventually tuned out, then turned out.
They are showing not just who (or what) they vote for, but equally important, what they vote against.
They are prepared to vote in and out successive administrations without any pretence to loyalty until politicians understand that trust matters.
Dave L Marshall