Letters & Opinion, Politics

Wannabe Lady Candidate: Rosa Parks or a Joan of Arc?

By  Earl Bousquet
By Earl Bousquet

AS someone who has defied the political odds all my life, I like it when others do likewise. I particularly like to hear young people buck the trend.

Early in my day (just before the third quarter of the last century of the last millennium), the major political parties boasted ‘youth arms’ that presented the likes of Stephenson King and Mario Michel.

Back then, there was no internet and no global on-time TV coverage. Instead, the political debate was in defence of and opposition to the ideological factors underpinning the political outlook of the parties. It wasn’t exactly strictly about Socialism vs Capitalism, more about how the SLP saw itself as putting ‘People before Projects’ and the UWP doing the reverse.

Young people found youthful arguments to toe and sell the party’s line. But in time they emerged from the youthful shadows and took their places on the public political platforms, many becoming candidates who won elections.

I have long grieved at the fact that the social media has so robbed the minds of most of the current generation that they have less time than ever for politics. Discouraged by what they see, hear and are told, they instead use the searching and fingering skills at their fingertips to have fun – or to seek adventure in another world.

In 2015, the two major parties are nowhere near marshalling their young supporters as they should, far less the ‘too numerous to mention’ who live on Facebook and tweet their ‘selfie’ ways through instant tabs. I don’t know when last I heard anything from the SLP Youth Organization (SLPYO) or the UWP Youth Arm. (Same with their Women’s Arms, which is another matter deserving its own time and separate attention.)

With another general elections pending, I’ve already been contemplating yet another campaign without the youthful input of the likes of Christopher Hunte’s ‘Lucians’ Party, one of whose candidates in fact polled more votes than George Odlum did in his last electoral contest.

I almost fell for the call by some in the National Youth Council to reduce the voting age to 16 to get them more involved. But I asked myself, if they aren’t ready at 18, what’ll make them readier at 16?

I’ve actually been calling on my various shows and in articles for young people to get more involved in the politics – and urging the parties to do more to find ways of getting to them and winning their ears, even not all of their confidence. I’m told by some the parties need to meet them on Facebook, but all my life I’ve had a thing about talking to invisible people. I still believe our small society can count a lot on eyeball to eyeball contact in politics. I also know more young people have cell phones than older folk – and that less actual voters will be driven by political internet messages.

With 66.6% of Saint Lucians alive today on island born after 1979, we should have an active youthful electorate. But we only do on paper. Most young people still find lining-up (for any time) “to simply put a cross on a piece of paper” less attractive than playing Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty.

For all the reasons stated above, I was not at all vex when a young government employee and a young doctor took to the airwaves virtually begging to be selected as UWP candidates for the next General Elections.

I said from the beginning it was silly to think so early about firing the young mother at GIS for simply making public her hitherto unforeseen political ambitions. Since then, the lady has done and said things that confirms she’s very calculated in what she does, even if she can also well tie herself up by what she says.

Now she’s waving the Constitution in one hand and waving it to challenge the Standing Orders guiding her job. Now she’s being ill-advised that the Constitution out-rules and outlaws Standing Orders.

Of course, the Constitution does allow for the rules that guide the public service. But her advisors have her so set on a collision course with the hope of milking political mileage from the consequences that they simply refuse to see the fallacies in their contemplations.

I hear those who know advising the GIS missus that she’s way out of line and should be careful. But, notwithstanding the negative backlash already coming her way and only her acknowledged partner (and co-aspirant for a chance at a UWP candidacy) willing to put his neck on the block for her, the lady seems to have decided she will rather fight a losing battle than retreat or surrender. She’s been told by those sacrificing her that she’s a Rosa Parks, while others are getting ready to refer to her as a Joan of Arc.

I said at the beginning of my political outing that Mrs. Corneille should not be fired for simply expressing a wish in the wild. Events since have hardened my view that hers is just a brief odyssey into the unknown. But even if what seems impossible now happens and she is selected, the lady would simply have to smartly resign from her job and go her chosen way.

And if she doesn’t win selection or election for her Opposition dream job, she’s also smart enough to know she should not expect to return to her job requiring that she make the government look good every day.

1 Comment

  1. Wow, you are more astute than Pontius Pilate in refereeing as in appellate adjudication of this delicacy.
    Good call and excellent reference to your background of political authenticity.
    It is possible to make a top bookseller or movie short of the “most outrageous moments “cheating employment role time, and absent -minded disregard to potential accidents while performing for a SELFIE”
    Too many youth do no engage technology to LEARN / develop rather they use it for copious repetitions
    of self amusement and rabid consumerism.
    As a result these non learners become drama masters at talking loud and saying nothing as in NOISE!

    Thankfully, there are a viable segment that have Looshan gifts of metacognition, each one teach one, and the ability to navigate longfellows’s “footprints in the sands”- of time.

    Thanks for another delicious read.

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