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Arnhim Eustace, Mr. Negative

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by Oscar Allen 07.DEC.10

Arnhim Eustace is no Ralph Gonsalves. He is no James Mitchell either. That is one way to picture Mr Eustace. When we paint the Leader of the Opposition with these broad negative strokes, the portrait that faces us is bleak. Here is a nobody; this person is not worthy to be considered for leadership of the community. Try somebody else. Of course when we say of Mr. Eustace that he is not Ralph Gonsalves nor James Mitchell, we then should ask ourselves what makes these two other men our models or our criteria for leadership.{{more}} We should investigate these positive leaders to observe the principles and practices of community leadership. I leave that investigation to you, dear reader.

But I will share with you this observation that my friend Cyp (not Neehall) made some time ago. For a quarter century, he said, we have had a commander performer in charge of our politics. First, Son and then D Comrade have been running the show. Our elected representatives became – some efficient, some hapless- messengers of the Commander. We, the citizens, accepted our roles as cheerleaders, supplicants and discontents at the performance of the Great one. For 25 years, this has been so. One day, in the future, we will shake our heads and wonder: how come for a whole generation, we mek weself so dotish, we couldn’t see the 2 commanders enslaving our minds and enriching others? That day will come.

To return to the point that we are considering, Eustace is no Ralph and he is no Son. He is no commander performer with a drive to command, control and turn citizens into cheerleaders. He seems to be a team manager. Now, to face a changeover from a command politics to a teamwork politics is not a simple thing. Is not just taking down a Ralph or a Son and raising up an Arnhim. Nothing so easy.

We have to know if we are ready to change our roles in our politics and become part of the power team instead of the background chorus. Let us look at Mr. Negative more closely. He did operate as a team player and manager when he worked at the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for some years.

We never heard of him there as a lead actor/star boy. It seems that the Commonwealth Secretariat wanted his team skills in London, so they approached him quietly to ask if he would offer for the position of Deputy Secretary General at the Commonwealth Secretariat. He said no. He had his eyes on joining another team, nearer to home.

It is clear that Mr. Negative has said “No” to the temptation to practice a pompous dazzle-the-eye commander politics. He walks away from Son’s and from D Comrade’s style. He is trying a paradigm shift away from 25 + more years of “one-manism”. I have 3 or 4 questions to ask us. How has he been handling his party team over the past few years? Instead of taking all the design and performance energy out of himself, will he lead a new explosion of creativity and energy out of a political Team SVG – both NDP, ULP, Green or others? Will he enable diverse ideas to flow freely, rather than stifle alternative voices and generate fear? Will he become the cultivator of new dreams and visions among “all flesh”, in SVG?

I am fully convinced that our social and political landscape needs a Mr. Negative, even a “team negative” to call us away from tribal psychology, loss of tolerance, low productivity and “me and my interest” first, second and third, others last. Election Day will not bring those changes to us, but those who say that Mr. Negative has nothing to offer should think again.

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