Last update: 13-Dec-2013 3:20 am
Friday, December 13, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Voters more discerning than ever
I am curious as to whether the UNC in its elaborate display of introspection and self-analysis promised after the Chaguanas West defeat at Rienzi, has seriously taken into account that the voting pattern in that constituency has changed radically, and with the prospect of this spreading to other “safe” seats. This means that the party can no longer continue to be ethno-oriented in its appeal to the electorate, as much as the other major political party cannot.
Has it come to recognise that there is a new kid on the block, compromising not only the intelligentsia, which, in its critical approach to issues, would have always resisted that retrograde dichotomising of the politics by race, but reinforced also by the same voters who would have traditionally towed the race card but have now, ironically, rejected that approach, at least in Chaguanas West for the moment, in favour of effective representation?
Many of those present at Rienzi may no doubt scoff at this salient truth, drawing comfort from the many diehards present who are prepared to pat each other on the back and say after one senior party official that “there is no need to panic” or that “we are as strong as ever” after the leader denied the reality of Chaguanas West, like the proverbial ostrich with its head buried in the sand.
Ironically, it’s people like myself, who would have helped to put this party into power, who are displaying a more genuine loyalty in pointing to this new reality in the politics in the hope that someone would look up and see the need to impress this new voter with a real sense of good governance and service, as against those diehards who have neither the will nor the insight to recognise this new trend in the voting pattern, much less make a concerted effort to deal with it and are continuing with the same old, same old.
The suggestion by some UNC councillors to postpone the local government elections is a marker of how far removed their thinking is from the reality on the ground, for rather than the unquestioning endorsement from the tribe, what emerged from the TV was a vehement interrogation by the callers as to the motive for such a move, with everyone against it!
Even the much touted strategy to be more visible in the constituencies, commendable as it seems, must be sustained and sincere to this new discerning electorate and not appear to be a “quick-fix” for the sake of appeasement. It cannot be business as usual for the UNC nor for the other traditional party, the PNM.
Dr Errol Benjamin
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