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Is The Major eroding his political capital?


Major St Clair Leacock needs a vacation and the sooner he takes one, the better.

He seems stressed, and one year on, has not come to terms with the fact that he was passed over for leadership of the New Democratic Party (NDP).

The most recent emotional outbursts by ‘The Major’ on various radio stations come exactly one year since a period of similar outbursts in 2016, just after Dr Godwin Friday was elected President of the NDP and Leader of the Opposition.

In last year’s case, The Major took issue with the process by which Dr Friday was elevated to the position of Leader of the Opposition, before being made to compete among the delegates for leadership of the party. Then, this week, his anger was reportedly provoked by the decision to retain Marcia ‘Zita’ Barnwell as an Opposition senator, instead of installing Israel Bruce, the party’s declared candidate for the South Central Windward constituency. From all reports, Mr Leacock, a vice-president of the party, was not consulted about that decision.

In both cases, one senses that Mr Leacock feels disrespected, undervalued and that he has been treated unfairly by the leadership of the NDP. He may be right in his assessment, but the way he has been reacting is not helping his case.

He has repeatedly spoken of his years of service to this country, his track record in various capacities as a leader, and his experience and success as a politician, which on paper should have made him the most obvious choice to succeed Mr Arnhim Eustace as party leader.

All of this is true, but the Major needs to be careful that he has not embarked on a political suicide mission with these frequent outbursts, in which he hints at leaving the NDP, followed by a complete reversal of position seemingly overnight. Although he comfortably won his seat in the 2015 general elections, with an increased margin no less (the only member of the NDP to do so), this vacillation speaks to instability, which could result in an erosion of the political capital he has built up over the years. He may end up in a virtual no man’s land, with neither the NDP nor the Unity Labour Party wanting to have him on their side.

So, The Major needs to step back for a few weeks, make a sober assessment of his situation and try to come to peace with the status quo. Another outburst of a similar nature may surely be his undoing, politically.