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A bold step by Dr Ferdinand


Tue, Nov 6, 2012

The biggest political story of the past week was the announcement that Dr Jules Ferdinand is to enter the political arena, as a candidate in the next general elections. The story, carried in the local media last weekend, has set off much public discussion, especially in light of the impressive career credentials of Dr Ferdinand, detailed in last Friday’s SEARCHLIGHT.{{more}}

Besides his outstanding academic and professional achievements, Dr Ferdinand also has experience in social work and is considered one of this country’s leading motivational speakers, especially for young people.

Typically, very few persons of such calibre choose to join political parties and face what can be an unforgiving electorate at times. More often, they chose to be “behind the scenes” – advising, strategizing and giving support to the party of their choice.

As a consequence, we have had a proliferation of lawyers, teachers, public servants and small business people in the front ranks of our politics. Only rarely, as in the all-too-brief flirtation of Ken Boyea, do we get business people who have operated at the top level putting themselves forward. Will Dr Ferdinand’s candidature inspire others to come forward as well?

There are good reasons why citizens shy away from political representation at the highest level. While our country has progressed greatly since Adult Suffrage in 1951, it seems as though our politics is still stuck in the past. Thus, a prospective candidate can suddenly expect to be personally assailed, on the airwaves, on the political platform, and even in Parliament under the protection of Parliamentary privilege. He/she may find persons of long association suddenly cold at best and hostile at worst, based on the politics of choice. Worse, is when these personal attacks are extended to family members, with no one spared, not even mother, wife or children.

Dr Ferdinand cannot be unaware of these facts and must have borne them in mind in making his decision. It certainly is a brave one which we applaud; God knows how we need many more like him entering the fray.

His choice of party indicates how he sees the future of this country and the general public is eagerly awaiting his opening political pronouncements. We do hope though that he is jumping in with eyes wide open and not being naïve in the process. Politics can be a dirty game and sometimes animosities and jealousies are not only on the “other side”; they sometimes surround you. What effect he has on the approaches taken to issues and direction of his political party is left to be seen.

We can only hope that Dr Ferdinand’s bold step encourages more of our outstanding citizens to get more directly involved in lifting the political game in St Vincent and the Grenadines.