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Arnhim will continue to run and hide

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Fri Dec 05, 2014

by Dr Richard A Byron-Cox

For quite some time now a few persons have been asking me to forget my hiatus from the printed press, as they like my wicket to wicket approach when dealing with issues. Truth is, my writing is part of living patriotism. Acknowledgements, plaudits or criticisms are secondary.{{more}} But Fidel’s recent reminder – while explaining Cuba’s unparalleled solidarity with Africa in fighting Ebola – of the need to answer the “call of duty,” is what conditioned this momentary renouncing of my self-imposed exile. So, whether I am praised or “nicely” quartered, carved up and peppered, this is another case of straight delivery, submitted for judgment to you, the court of public opinion.

It is standard practice in many democracies that prior to general elections, there are open public debates between the contenders. In the USA this is a “condicio sine qua non” for those seeking residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It’s no accident I highlight the USA, for Arnhim is always concerned with “what would America say.” But let’s stay home. Practically from the day he became leader of the NDP by deed of gift, there have been calls for a debate between him and Comrade. Indeed, the latter offered (without caveats) to single-handedly debate founding leader James, hand-me-down leader Arnhim, and self-appointed leader-in-waiting Linton, (and they could even bring rude-boy leader Cocksure), all at once. Most regrettably Arnhim, using arrogance to camouflage cowardice, flagrantly rejected the call, believing he can win by hiring mind-benders; telling fairy tales of phantom investors who perform magic tricks such as creating 20,000 jobs in two years; and leading paltry marches, which even most NDP diehards frown upon. While he is involved in these pointless tomfooleries, we had three elections and are virtually on the doorstep of a fourth, without him ever having confronted his nemesis Ralph, directly by way of debate.

One may argue – and generally rightly so – that not because others have these debates that we should. However, since the people handed the reins of power to the ULP in 2001, the NDP has been conducting a continuous attack-on-all-fronts battle, determined to wrest power from the incumbent. In this quest, the preference seems to be for Bad-John-styled politics, where Parliament is often placed under siege, and threats are issued against important institutions of state, including the Commissioner of Police. Graver manifestations, such as uprisings, are prophesied (or is it promised) for 2015. And, needless to say, the “Lynching” of Ralph has developed into high science and a fine art.

It’s important that we recall here that peaceful conduct is a fundamental part of our creed, a central column on which our socio-political and civic architecture stands. Our Anthem underscores this declaring, “May peace reign from shore to shore…” The Coat of Arms proclaims our motto to be “Pax et Justitia.” Consequently, promotion of violence in any form is corruption of the moral fundament of the state. This, therefore, is the first reason why Arnhim should debate Ralph and refrain from using language like “uprisings,” which will inevitably lead to dangerous and bloody disruption of the peace. Of equal importance is the need for Arnhim and his team to lock horns with Ralph and his. Through these exchanges, Joe and Joe-Ann Public will be better able to differentiate the Men from the boys, and the Music from the noise, and select persons of competence, intelligence, commitment, determination and patriotism to navigate the development course of beautiful Hairouna.

In the eyes of many, Arnhim is at best a yesteryear economics technocrat. Giving him political leadership is making reality of the fable about the ass in the lion skin, full stop! Some say James now cries bitter tears looking at the folly he knowingly forced on his party. Others are adamant that Comrade will make mincemeat of Arnhim anytime, anyplace and Arnhim knows it. While I don’t necessarily hold to these views, preferring proof over speculation, there can be no disputing that Eustace is ducking from Ralph. This is puerile and must stop!! Somebody must show him the error of his ways. And I note in passing, that a behaviour of crude arrogance to mask incompetence, negligence, laziness and ignorance seem to have emerged as a best practice in NDP politics today.

But back to the case: As I am sure that Arnhim will not be moved from this infantile stubbornness, I have wagered EC $500 against Cecil Ryan that Arnhim will never debate Ralph. Cecil, in taking the bet, lives by the spirit and letter of our Anthem as regards faith. Sadly, Arnhim will make sure that Cecil’s faith does not see him through. Some, including Ms Sandra Davis and Ms Yvonne L Williams, are so hopeful that Arnhim will take up the challenge, they have sweetened the pot by offering to add $500 each. I think even Voltaire’s Dr Pangloss would be profoundly impressed with their optimism! They have my admiration, for even if Arnhim fails to man-up and spar with Comrade, all monies generated shall be presented to a charity of Cecil’s choice.

You may be surprised, but Arnhim was known as Nippy, so he might be biting and quick, suggesting an advantage. In a debating Ralph however, you need facts, experience, rationale and reason, and of course, charisma. Stories about chicken-back juice, unpatriotic statements about the Community College and “non-ideas” of following Barbados and lay off 3,000 public servants will only have Arnhim running for cover when Gunsie “starts to lick shot,” to use figurative local parlance.

Considering all supra dictum, I will win the bet, as Arnhim will continue to run and hide. No coaxing by Cecil, Ms Davis and Ms Williams or even the majority of the electorate will make him show spine and face Comrade. And, this naturally leads to these questions: is it that he cannot show what he does not have? And where does that leave us with him as PM? This court of public opinion must of necessity consider the merits of my case as presented herein, and, if only for the sake of SVG, pronounce on the debate.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I rest.

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