Why both parties must reorganise and reconstruct their parties in the interest of the national unity. They are both desperately aspiring to achieve.
The 65-year-old PNM number one priority must be to vigorously strengthen its base in the East/West corridor, San Fernando, the deep South and Tobago. It must stop taking Port-of-Spain, Laventille and its environs for granted. The party cannot be satisfied with the voter turn-out in the East/West corridor.
The party’s structure in the East/West corridor, San Fernando and the deep South must be revitalised/reinvigorated and reorganised. The party cannot continue to permit its main operational officers to engage in elected politics at the expense of its election machine. Balisier House is the centre, the heart of its political gravity. Its number one responsibility is to ensure the maximum efficiency of its election machinery at all times.
The general secretary, assistant general secretary and the secretariat must operate with the precision of modern technology. This certainly was not the case in the general election of 2020.
Fortunately, unlike 1995 when general secretary Martin Joseph was selected as a candidate, he won but the party lost the Government. The general secretary of the party and the secretariat are like our energy sector. It is the heart of the party fully responsible and accountable for its the electoral survival. The results of the election provide the political directorate with all the evidence to put this wrong right.
The questionable voter turn-out in many of its strongest constituencies as against the turn-out of its main opponent, whose base “regardless of” continues to make maximum use of their franchise —they complain but comply on election day.
There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that something went wrong in Tobago. Over 10,000-odd Tobagonians, including some of its most recognised elders were prepared to sacrifice “Ah we Boy” and the prime ministership for a comrade of serious questionable credibility, our equivalent of Dotish Donald. I draw no conclusions except to say in the words of George Chambers quote: “What went wrong in Tobago must be put right.”
As I stated on many previous occasions “never take the electorate for granted.” The party almost took Tobago for granted. It is no secret that with more credible candidates the results might have been different.
The political leader has indicated his intention to retire at the end of the term. Whatever his mistakes he successfully returned the Party to power and continues to keep it in office. His greatest legacy must be like Lee Kuan Yew to ensure a successful transfer of power. That can only be achieved by strong effective and responsible leadership. He and the party’s political directorate have five years to plan and prepare for his departure, to ensure that with his departure they will continue to shout “Great is the PNM and it shall prevail.”
The opposition unfortunately continues to depend on its traditional loyalty of its 67-year-old base—from Bhadase PDP in 1953 to Kamla’s UNC in 2020—hoping to capture the elusive and unpredictable marginal seats, and/or the turning of the political tide in Tobago.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work in 2020. The undecided deciders, decided that the incumbent was the better choice.