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Should Jomo follow Ralph and join the NDP?

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by Dr. Richard A. B. Cox

In 2005 I wrote a piece in the Searchlight calling on Jomo Thomas to participate directly in the political process by joining the ULP. He took my counsel and applied but it seems that the commander in chief and the rest of the ULP top brass have ruled that he lacks a fundamental enrolment requirement namely, absolute loyalty.

Speculation abound that Ralph is already confronted with a sometimes questioning and doubting Rene and to add a sharp-witted and frank-speaking Jomo could result in a one bad apple scenario. Word is also out that East Kingstown is earmarked for family and letting in Jomo could put a spanner in the works upsetting the dynastic plans. {{more}}Another theory is that Comrade finds Jomo’s public rebukes when the government is caught with its pants down particularly insufferable. They say that Casper and even Blazer might whisper, not so Jomo who must publicly manifest his disapproval and until he makes an about turn he will be locked out. Now all of this might just be propaganda. However if perchance there is an element of truth in any of it, I wish to address each in turn and demonstrate the folly of it all.

Jomo recognises the significance of Ralph’s premiership to the future of this country, his support of the main policies and programmes of the administration is ample testimony. But he will not see the Comrade losing focus and neglect to tell him. If Ralph accepted these non-partisan criticisms of true patriots, he might become our best leader yet, which is what Jomo and indeed yours truly desire for him. Why? Simple, SVG stands to benefit tremendously. But he needs to be wise and confident enough to have men in his cabinet who are loyal but not coward, who could carry out instructions but will reject servitude, who would listen and understand but would also reflect and respond, who would give respect and praise while not flinching in their condemnation of corruption and official wrongdoing. The only way to ensure right is to do it. And may I add that such is necessary if the Cabinet is to emerge from the absolute prime ministerial sovereignty that has prevailed since 1984.

I think Eustace has resolved the question as to who is boss in East Kingstown. That is as safe for the NDP as any of the Grenadines seats once he is at the controls. Blood connection to Ralph has not and will not determine electoral outcome up there. Indeed I am almost persuaded that even the Comrade himself would lose if he tries to test Arhnim there. At least, he would catch his royal to win. Consequently, denying Jomo in the hope that some family beat Arhnim next time is betting to lose. But then again Ralph is the political scientist, not me.

As regards public criticisms of the government, I read carefully all of what Jomo writes and the indisputable is, his is a principled stance, supporting the Gonsalves administration but not at the expense of the nation. The Bible says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” So Jomo has not always gotten it right, but nether has the government, for it is comprised of men and the George Bernard Shaw dictum holds true for all men, oh yes, including Gonsalves and his cabinet. It’s therefore logical to assume that you can’t have a flawless machine if its component parts are all imperfect. Governance is a human activity the formula for perfecting of which is still to be discovered. But when all is said and done Jomo simply means well for this administration.

While one is not sure as to the real reasons why, that Jomo has not been accepted after an eternity on the waiting list is no rumour. He must now consider his options, one of which is joining the NDP. Now wait Jomo, I know you are saying how could I suggest such a thing. After all the NDP is the party that seeks to serve the rich through a masquerade of sympathy for the poor, so there is little in common. And I know you share my view that the stench from Ottley Hall is overpowering. Well strange as it might sound, recent history has proven that in politics even more conflicting positions have been reconciled. Yes, I am talking about Ralph and Labour.

Comrade it was who exposed Labour’s antidemocratic and anti-working class nature. Vincent Beache was labelled a coconut bat not fit for test cricket. He told us that Labour had deteriorated so badly that it was beyond reform and if it refuses to die we must kill it. And this is only the shortlist. Labour for it’s part branded him communist, said he would take away people’s property, pullout their toenails, and made him the worse political evil imaginable. (Such bellicose exchanges never passed between Jomo and the NDP). But the miracle happened and Ralph now heads the ULP, which includes the coconut bat and many of the same reactionary elements.

The conquest of Labour

Jomo might have misgivings, for one Ralph had a party, he doesn’t. The fact though is that the others were largely extras, Ralph was star and supporting cast in the conquest of Labour. Second, Eustace might not exemplify Jomo’s ideal leader, but Ralph served under a “coconut bat”, and Eustace is certainly finer timber if the Comrade is to be believed. He it was who described Arnhim as a gentleman and noble Caribbean son. Then again Jomo might think that he’d be alone, but there might be fertile ground in the NDP for his ideas. I heard Leacock on radio about two years ago boasting of his UPM past. And some of Ralph’s former lieutenants such as Matthew Thomas (these Thomases seem hell-bent on causing Ralph grief) and Junior Bacchus having been stripped of their ranks for insubordination have mutinied, and are now on a down-with-Ralph crusade. Indeed some boldly proclaim Arhnim the returning saviour, while others preferring the shadows of covert operations, oil the levers backstage. But bet your bottom dollar, “lynching” Ralph is the common passion. And just in case Jomo worries about the ambitions of Leacock and or Cummings, no need to fear. Remember what happened to Stalkey and Boyea once Ralph took command of the ULP?

So Jomo could still make his contribution through the political process, the ULP door is locked, then why not open the NDP’s? The blueprint exists, so no need to reinvent the wheel. Comrade sanctified Labour he once thought irredeemable. He wrote the script and acted the part and today commands the troops. Example is still the best teacher, and Ralph, who was once Jomo’s teacher has one set, all that is required of the former student, is implementation of the same mutatis mutandis. Should Jomo consider taking up the Challenge?