By Harvey Cenac
It is said of candidates and elections that an ideal political candidate comes around once in a generation, maybe even once in a lifetime. For example, in the Americas, we have had in Barbados-Errol Barrow, Cuba-Fidel Castro, Guyana-Forbes Burnham, Trinidad and Tobago-Dr Eric Williams, United States of America – Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama.
For Saint Lucia, no one since Sir John Compton has risen to the height of people’s expectations and hopes. That is, none, until now. It is important that Saint Lucia finds herself – with not only an ideal candidate but also an ideal, perfect political storm as a backdrop to usher in this candidate. The candidate of choice in my humble opinion is Dr Alphonsus St Rose.
This is an individual with strength and dignity, a highly educated and professional man, yet a man of the people. Dr St Rose is a consultant physician, a specialist in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology and one of our best and finest from Choiseul, and Saint Lucia has produced.
He has engaged in eminent leadership roles as a distinguished past president of the Kiwanis Club of Castries, as well as a past president of the St Lucia Medical and Dental Association. Many would no doubt remember his passionate advocacy for social and healthcare justice, two vital areas of human existence in dire need of a fairer and more compassionate outcome.
One party seeks a second consecutive term without any full promise of leading the nation toward its full capacity and capabilities. Another party sits in disarray, fractured and unable to even lead within let alone lead the country. The people crying out for new leadership that will not fall into the hands of corruption, as well as new opportunities for economic growth, healthcare, education, and development.
There is, today, the need for a new vision that offers hope, security, and represents the heart of the people. This is an ideal time for an Independent Candidate to emerge as the country’s brightest alternative to the candidacies that the existing parties have to offer.
The question then becomes how? How will one man take on the establishment and emerge as a national leader?
The answer is, not alone. Certainly, not without a team that must include the youth of Saint Lucia as well as professionals to help guide the way. In essence, Dr St Rose needs to emerge as a national leader with the legitimacy of an organic movement, with Saint Lucia’s youth at his side to usher in change and to give our young people their first political party borne in the 21st century.
Saint Lucia has a second and third party that was borne out of the 20th century United Workers Party (UWP) and the Saint Lucia Labor Party (SLP). We need a third party for our citizenry which will reflect lessons learned from the shortcomings of both UWP and SLP.
There is certainly no quick answer to deconstructing power in Saint Lucia, and the various approaches to our development may often run into different cross-purposes with one another. Our youth must be inspired to develop a new level of self-esteem, and self-determination, and increase patterns of emancipation to help them make concrete political decisions. Our youth cannot survive under this constant mortgaging of their soul to the brokerage of a foreign power. The future of Saint Lucia is in the hands of our youth and the current generation of young leaders. It would be wise of us to set them up for success to manage our country’s future.
In the promotion of deconstructing power and resistance for effective change, our youth must understand the need for new solidarity in leadership for human development through politics. I believe that there are relevant characteristics that should be part of the democratic framework for Saint Lucia’s new leader.
Leadership is a vital force when it comes to development. Without effective leadership, no nation gets very far. Understanding the structure of leadership and realizing that it can be an inclusive label we apply to a very broad group of people.
What style of leadership does Dr St Rose possess that our nation needs? I believe Dr St Rose’s leadership style encompasses the following:
Visionary: The new leader’s vision should bring hope and goodwill for a fair and equitable Saint Lucia.
Courageous: One who is willing to take risks to achieve a set of specific objectives.
Decisive: Commanding presence of style – of leadership that behaves with a clear sense of knowing what he is doing.
Coaching: Coaching leaders are transformation-minded.
Collaborative: Emphasizes inclusion and cooperative leadership and is at odds with dictatorial and other autocratic forms of leadership.
Consultative: Invites input or contribution from others before decisions are reached.
Global: Has intellectual capacity, developed cultural and personal competencies that allow him to operate effectively on the global stage.
Intellectual: Focuses on leading by reference to clear intellectual principles and bases arguments on critical thinking and analytical skills.
Participatory: Seeks the involvement of others when it comes to making decisions.
Servant: A style of caring where the leader voluntarily takes the role or position of servanthood to his followers. The primary emphasis is not on self but on serving the needs of others.
Transformational: Bringing out the best in people, bringing the best out of his followers.
In deconstructing power and resistance, Saint Lucia’s present reality provides an incredible story and platform for the emergence of a new leader with a new construct for a new movement. For the first time in Saint Lucia’s history, our citizenry will be able to benefit from a proper healthcare, education, and social transformation system unlike any other in the Caribbean region.
We need to democratize health and education for they must be seen as a right and not a privilege. We need a fair and equitable approach for the benefit of all Saint Lucians.
There must be an improved approach to participatory democracy in our parliamentary system. The organic nature of this must arise from among our young people to form a fair and equitable Saint Lucia. This new movement could be the conduit to provide solid candidates to run in the next general election.
Saint Lucia’s two-party system has made us less accepting of new possibilities or options for progress. There must be a radical escape from power to possibilities, thus, resisting traditional politics within our two-party system must be the first order of the day. Our youth must become the new political weapon in deconstructing the current political construct that has not answered the many questions within our democratic system. Hence the need and case to be made for this new movement.
The historical myth that the two-party system must always rule has been under siege in our democracy. Hence, the political nihilism associated with being anti-establishment is replaced with a multitude of Antis: Anti-poverty – Anti-corruption – Anti-underdevelopment – Anti-apathy – Anti-ignorance – Anti-status quo.
Anti-status quo is not the same thing as anti-establishment. Our youth being an enemy of the status quo is another way of deconstructing power and affirming their support for change. We must redirect our energies to more useful developmental pursuits where fairness can be measured in economic, political, and social improvements.
We must also recognize that the road for these pursuits will not be paved for this endeavour. It will require hard work and a thoughtful and knowledgeable approach with professionals and experts to execute a disciplined and effective outcome.
In closing, on deconstructing power and resistance, the following words of Archbishop Kortright Davis ring loudly in my head:
“It must be borne in mind that the tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goals. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It isn’t a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream. It is not a disaster to be unable to capture your ideal, but it is a disaster to have no ideal to capture. It is not a disgrace not to reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for.”
It is time to dream of a better Saint Lucia. Just imagine what Saint Lucia could fully become. We only need to act.