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All eyes on Central Leeward


Tue Mar 17, 2015

Editor: The move to recall Sir Louis Straker to be the ULP’s candidate in the upcoming general election can only be described as a poker move. It is high risk, but every gambler knows that high risks mean potentially bigger returns. Going into the ULP’s Central Leeward Candidate Selection meeting over the weekend, no one had any idea that events would have unfolded in such a way, at least outside the party’s hierarchy.{{more}}

It is inaccurate to conclude that the ULP had trouble finding another candidate, as incumbent Maxwell Charles and long-time hopeful Dunstan Johnston were waiting in the wings. The only credible consideration must be that the party feels Sir Louis’ cameo role is a winning strategy. Still, what the move suggests is that Central Leeward will be the decider in what is expected to be a very close general elections.

With all eyes on Central Leeward since the swearing-in of the Government in 2010, it is not hard to think out loud that incumbent MP Maxwell Charles has failed miserably. It has been a long time since the country has seen a one-term MP whether by choice or electoral defeat. It is for the party to tell us what about MP Charles’ performance is so disappointing that it feared going to the polls with him as the standard bearer. After all, just a year ago, no one was eating “Exeter corn beef!” Lest we also forget, even Central Kingstown had re-elected Conrad Sayers, who held no real ministerial portfolio or duties during his time in government.

No doubt, MP Maxwell Charles will be promoted as someone who has done an excellent job in Central Leeward, but for reason X or Y has chosen to bow out gracefully. Interestingly, Sir Louis Straker at a time when the ULP was branding itself as undergoing fundamental changes, including renewal, would declare that he has heeded the ‘voice of the people.’ The spin doctors on both sides will wrap this latest electoral manoeuvring in gold garb or tissue paper.

What about the general population of Central Leeward? Sir Louis Straker 2.0 in my mind represents the real challenge that our country has ministerial politics rather than representative politics. After promising to reward Central Leeward for at least mathematically returning the party to government in 2010, the ULP has by all appearances hitherto abandoned the constituency. Its plan in the upcoming general elections to speak about the party’s record cannot incorporate the last five years, as little has be done post-Straker period.

Whatever problems that the ULP is now having in Central Leeward must rest solely on the shoulders of the leadership of the party. The best defense is offence and in politics, this transliterates into hard work, looking out for your constituents and living communally with them. The leadership never accorded the Central Leeward seat or its representative the same type of prestige that it once held. The smart move would have been to appoint Minister Charles to a more visible portfolio a year or two ago. What is a Ministry of National Reconciliation? The party sent cockroach in fowl party ,with Central Leeward being a battleground seat.

This writer cannot write off the ULP in Central Leeward, as to do so would be foolish. Yet, I am convinced more than ever that politicians would do anything to stay in power. The problem for most politicians is that they don’t learn their lessons well. One of the major themes of the last St Kitts and Nevis general election was the need for politicians to recognize when to leave on their own terms rather than to sacrifice all on the altar of political expediency.

Around this gambling table in Central Leeward, only Maxwell Charles has won. He has wisely followed Kenny Rogers:

He said, “Son, I’ve made a life, out of readin’ people’s faces And knowin’ what their cards were by the way they held their eyes So if you don’t mind my sayin’, I can see you’re out of aces For a taste of your whiskey I’ll give you some advice”

So I handed him my bottle and he drank down my last swallow Then he bummed a cigarette and asked me for a light And the night got deathly quiet and his face lost all expression Said, “If you’re gonna play the game, boy, you gotta learn to play it right

You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em Know when to walk away and know when to run

You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table

There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealing’s done.”

Adaiah Providence-Culzac