Politics Of Change Necessary
The Caribbean Is One Nation.
The late Prime Minister of Jamaica, Mr. Michael Manley, in his outstanding book, The Politics of Change, said there are three approaches to politics and therefore there are three approaches to the use of power. According to Manley: “There are men, perhaps the majority, who see power as something to be acquired for its own sake. Then there are those who see power as something to be used for the purposes of minor adjustments in the society. Finally, there are the idealists who seek to arrange fundamental change.”
While we cannot for certain say why our current group of political jokers, masquerading as leaders in our region entered politics, we are convinced that the majority of them falls into the category of self promotion and they feel entitled to strut about this region behaving as if they are the new slave masters or the direct descendants of the colonialists. Their egos appear to be slightly bigger than the globe. We are not going to apologise for calling a spade a spade and we cannot support laziness and outright stupidity as the standards for our people.
As committed regionalists, engaged in battling for a unified Caribbean Nation, we never expected the struggle to be easy. After all, we do have elitist educational systems, running throughout the region and we are aware that those who were identified as the crème de la crème may very well feel a sense of entitlement. Amazingly, those academics that leave these islands for developed countries are rather productive while some of those who hang around the region are not known for high levels of output. Many of them are really inferior political touts pedaling their intellects to the political parties. It’s an irony of great import.
We are convinced that leaders such as Eric Williams of Trinidad and Tobago and Michael Manley of Jamaica were actually prepared to use their great intellects for the development of the masses. We will also venture to give P.J. Patterson (Jamaica) a pass but we certainly do not recognize any of the current group to be deserving of such tributes. They are: constantly switching parties, forming parties and engaging in all manner of political party shenanigans while the region cries out for progressive leadership.
The argument that intellectuals or academics cannot reach the masses is pure intellectual snobbery and garbage. Eric Williams turned Woodford Square into the Peoples University and exposed the colonialists. He wrote books and turned down lucrative jobs overseas in order to contribute to the upliftment and independence of his people. Michael Manley, a superb communicator was also constantly trying to further the cause of the region by embracing Cuba and venturing into a more enlightened political path. Fidel Castro clearly showed America that might does not mean right.
Today we are saddled with bold face opportunists, who do not even know the history of their own political parties. They are totally into a brand of politics which mirrors the reality shows seen on American television. There is a serious lack of understanding the region and what is needed to catapult us into sustainable economic growth. We therefore find ourselves swimming in an ocean of political /leadership mediocrity and unless we get people who enter politics to make a difference in the lives of our people, we would not go forward. That is why Manley wrote about the politics of change. He recognised the dilemma that now envelops the region.
We end this piece by quoting Manley again: “In the first case, men who pursue power for its own sake usually do so, either because it satisfies something in their own egotism or because they want for themselves the fruits of power; and of course, it is in this stream that the great tyrants of history are found.”
We hope we are not breeding tyrants.