A few days ago in a presentation, I spoke of the need for collective unity in working our way out of Montserrat’s current stagnation. I mentioned in that off-the-cuff discourse, that there are great minds on the island that need to park the political fighting and form coalitions of progressive intent, practice and execution for the greater good of Montserrat’s economic resurgence.
Surprisingly, it was some of the younger political aspirants who shouted loudly that they have no desire for any unified structure to take this island forward, but instead they championed that they should be allowed to abuse the platform of our democracy to contribute even more of the political chaos and their obvious grab for power.
I understand that they have a need to protect and preserve their party apparatus, but it is alarming that these people who say they are seeking to lead Montserrat towards a brighter future are offering nothing new in terms of their political engagement. They respond with churlishness and frivolity rather than seeking to be the champions that push the ideals of a new way of doing things politically, and economically for Montserrat.
Tell them bring forward their plans to show their difference, and they state that the people must "wait for their manifesto." The same manifesto that they presented electronically ONLY, but a few days before general elections, 2014. Should citizens take such persons seriously as real lovers of Montserrat, or should citizens see them as being only interested in the attainment of power?
What I note is that there are some political aspirants who wish to bring the raucous and distasteful Antigua style, St Kitts styled type of continuous political pushing and pulling for power to Montserrat’s shores. These are the examples they site as being great and good.
They then shroud their lust for power under the guise of "this being their democratic right."
I will submit to them on that basis, that the Montserrat contextual argument towards redevelopment is one where political sparring for 21 years has done us no good!
I will further submit to these young political aspirants that this should have been the opportunity for them to showcase their brand of political engagement that signalled a break from the past, and the party brand towards which they associate themselves with. A brand that was resoundingly rejected at the polls in a massive protest vote I might add.
Have they atoned?
Are they any different in their ideologies towards development practice, people empowerment and governance?
Are they changed?
The rhetoric from some members of the new camp suggests not.
Montserrat does not require future leaders and present ones too – who are coming with tried and tested political practice. The people should reject that ultimately and seek instead for an uplifting type of politics. One that brings fresh, challenging but potentially rewarding ideas and practice to the table.
I speak often of inspirational and transformational leadership, for this is a fundamental philosophical grounding towards leadership practice and example that I subscribe to. This type of leadership is one that is centrally about breaking past moulds and incorporating fresh impetus into the people; but also the varying institutions that comprise the state, and helps to push it forward.
Coming on air to repeat how awful Romeo is, is purely cyclical political chatter. The people, en masse, already know this of their leadership.
As an Editor, people share their stories with me – both solicited and unsolicited. Listening to the many instances of people voicing concerns and frustrations with the state of the country so far, there is also another common theme in many of the discussions I have had – and that is the people want to see a core set of people who come to them with a showing of unity to get Montserrat moving. The people are bored of the party political fighting and are simply seeking sound leadership.
We already know Romeo is not the man to lead the future as many had hoped. Core supporters are fed up with him, from what they have voiced and want him removed so the country can move forward.
Removing Romeo to replace him with the same self-styled; vested interests; party-first type of politics will not serve Montserrat any better. If Romeo is to be shown the door towards easing his leadership burden, then a core of unity members is required who recognize that a break from the past way of operating in development practice must be instituted.
Some will say the people are not ready for it.
I will respond however, that this is where great leaders are formed; in taking the challenge, and leading a new way and a new course towards prosperity. Read history, and look at great leaders such as Eric Williams, Dame Eugenia Charles, Michael Manley, Llewellyn Bradshaw, VC Bird, and John Compton et al. These inspirational leaders broke old conformist systems, and led a new era from the frontlines.
So let not these political aspirants here on Montserrat use democracy as an excuse to engrain chaos and futility upon the people. That is poor engagement, and limited exercise of political will for genuine and life-altering change for the people.