Friday, November 15, 2013

Clearing the way for February 2

THE opposition National Democratic Congress -- well effectively the Nazim Burke faction -- is holding a retreat this weekend, as the wing plans the February 2 "coronation" of Burke as the leader.
  The party  which said -- conveniently -- during the last election that "no Tillman, no NDC" -- is moving full speed ahead inspite of what Patrick Simmons, or Livingstone Nelson, or Allie Dowden -- or for that matter William Joseph might say; to a post Tillman era dominated exclusively by Burke.
  His forces are hoping for a "negotiated settlement" with Thomas, but are preparing to fight him, if he does not stand down.
  Typical Tillman, he has given no indication as to exactly what he would do. In fact he has at times given conflicting signals.
   There is even real pause in the George Worme camp as to whether Burke's leadership might be a good thing for the NDC.
  He has been making loud noises about that lately. (Well if Worme is fretting: I will wager a strong bet Tillman is too -- for that is his adviser).
   The problem with Worme, Simmons, Dowden, Joseph and the like though -- is that they have no power to stop Burke's march.
  You heard it here first -- whether they or Thomas, like it or not, his team lead by the likes of Jenny Rapier -- have now effectively "harassed" enough people out of positions of influence inside of the party -- that people with a dissenting view have become largely politically impotent.
    The people promoting either Franka Bernadine or Simmons, do not have the numbers to pull it off -- and the Bernadine nor Simmons the political belly to fight for it.
   Truth be told, they'll only accept if literally given on a platter.
   But the people who would have otherwise fight for them, are in no position to do so -- systematically sidelined since the last election by the Naz crew.
  A recently letter sent to Burke by one of those people -- and I will withhold the name for now -- complained that "the NDC is no longer a party that cares about it own. Its companion is ingratitude."
  Now this is not 2010 or 2011 -- this is 2013.
  So what has changed? May I ask?

I am publishing two e-mails of complaint that were sent in recent days to Burke, the effective NDC political leader in waiting.  I am doing so with no editorial comment.
  I do not necessarily agree with every point the authors make -- only that they highlight in a general way some of the points I have been making for NDC for three years.
  And that the problem with NDC was not Peter or Glynis, or even Tillman for that matter -- but that they were more complex than people have argued they were -- and they won't get fixed soon because there is still an absence of genuineness and regard.

One final point -- as one good executive member of NDC asked me the other day -- why do I care about what they do about the leadership.

Well its frankly because of this. NDC is more than just its members. It is not a boy scout club. It is a party that is seeking to run the country -- and so what it does have broader implications for people who are not even members of the party.

But here we go.

email one:

Dear Mr Deputy Political Leader

I am directing this note to you on account of our exchanges on this matter by e-mail over the last few weeks and your leadership in that regard.

You will be aware that an invitation has been issued to me, as a member of the Strategy Committee, to attend a Retreat on Sunday.

Curiously, the invitation does not say what the subject matter of the Retreat is, nor what is the expected role of members of Strat. This is highly unusual !

I do believe that the Retreat may well have  emerged due to very strong representation made by myself (and others) for the Party to begin to address the important matter of its future following the elections.

Please know that I require to have some knowledge and clarity of the focus of the planned Retreat so that I may finalise my own personal planning in relation thereto.

Further, out of an abundance of goodwill for what is in the 'BEST INTEREST' of the NDC, I do hope that the Retreat is not laden with intolerance of divergent views, nor a perceived need to organise things so as to virtually side-line any such views or the holders of any such views.

I wish it to be known by all that I will not lend myself to any process that is packaged to suit any individual player in NDC politics. I am hopeful that the recent lessons of division within the NDC are foremost in everyone's minds and that we are all driven by the 'NDC CAUSE' and not by personal preferences, claims or dreams. The future of the NDC is not to be tied up with the future of individuals, big or small. What is at stake and the work to be done are too important for us to engineer a new round of in-fighting, born of differences of opinion or interests.

The depth of my feeling on this matter is so strong that I would have no difficulty if the invitation to attend is withdrawn. Similarly, if a constructive  response to this e-mail is not received in good time, I would not attend the Retreat, as a first step.

With every good wish


(name omitted)

e-mail 2:


I am taking this unusual approach to clarify my position on this subject as the situation appears to be rapidly deteriorating.
For some time now, I have been aware of all kinds of gossip and conjecture within NDC circles as to why I do not favour Mr Burke as leader of the NDC. There has even been a laughable view that my disfavour is due to “jealousy”! About two months ago, I also faced a threat of physical harm which I described to some of you then as “goon politics”. But when I was reliably informed, on a first-hand basis, of a downright fabrication by Jenny Rapier that I told her I wanted to run in St George North-East, as candidate, I was completely floored. The line has been crossed! I understand that she is a fierce promoter of Mr Burke and I respect her right so to do.
Mrs Rapier would know that she and I have never had any conversation on any subject matter, far less one regarding political ambitions on my part. The truth be told, I have no such ambitions. So to tell people what she has been reportedly saying is a deadly lie.
Let us understand this well. Coming from the same village, I know who Jenny is, but I don’t ‘know’ her. I have known and admired her family for many years and so I am taken aback by the display of a character trait that I would not have associated with her. It is one thing to speculate and to search for explanations about my position, it is quite another to propagate an untruth, and to do so in my name.
Just as an aside, I was the one who stood up to Mr Burke at the Pearls’ elections-eve rally when he was determined that Jenny be removed as the MC, because in his view she was ineffective. He contended that people were calling by phone to ask that she be replaced.  When challenged about the latter he could not maintain that he had actually received any such phone calls. Think of the embarrassment and other consequences that would have caused!  Faye Thompson and I had to locate ourselves in the enclosed area in front of the stage to give encouragement to Jenny to press on.
Resuming, everyone should know that I have no duty to explain why I do not favour Mr Burke as leader. I believe that each person has a right to support whomsoever they wish, without having to explain themselves to others. As far as I know, no one has approached me to explain why they support him. We must all enjoy this right. Nonetheless, I am prepared to openly share my reasons, if that becomes necessary. In all of this, I am driven by what I believe to be the best interests of the NDC.
I consider myself to be a first- generation NDC-ite. I was the first man to be victimised by Mitchell in 1995 on account on my sympathies for the NDC. I have worked as hard as any other, perhaps harder than most, in the NDC’s cause, especially since 2001. So my NDC credentials are impeccable. My brother knows well how many years and in how many ways I have stood with him since he became an MP and as Minister.
What has become bothersome to me is the discovery of behavioural clones of Mitchell, Coard, Peter, Glynis, Arley, Joe, Church, Hood and Chester in today’s NDC. I shudder to think what would happen if some persons had political power at their command.  My humble appeal is that all those who have the best interests of the NDC at heart should seek to influence positive change before another round of ugliness hits the NDC.
The genesis of the current unease is to be found in Mr Burke’s shockingly inexplicable response to a view I expressed in a closed meeting of the PR Committee just after the elections. On that occasion, I said to Burke and Glen that coming out of the campaign they were “raw meat” in people’s eyes and therefore we should find new faces and voices to speak for the NDC, for the time being. That was my honestly held view, containing no malice. In fact, it was a view held by many people at the time, even to this day.
Since then, I appear to have been declared ‘PERSONA NON GRATA’. In fact, this was what informed the spirit of duplicity which surrounded preparations for the party retreat a few months ago. I raised my voice very strongly then because I knew the background and context of what had been planned. Some people thought that my response was harsh and arrogant, which I do not deny. However, they were unaware of the ‘provocation’, its nature and purpose, in the first place. The advice and caution that one should not just listen to what Mitchell says, but pay attention to what he does, applies full-square to Mr Burke himself.
  I am aware that efforts by a well-positioned lady member to have the matter ‘nipped in the bud’ were flatly rebuffed by Mr Burke. I remain disappointed that no other person on the NDC Executive has thought it fit to intervene in this unfortunate situation. This speaks volumes by itself, as apparently the NDC is no longer a party that cares about its own. Its companion is ingratitude. Practising discrimination and the uninformed or biased taking of sides cannot be right.  We seem to be quite ready and willing to make enemies of one another. This cannot be good for the party. Organisational reforms without personal change will not bring success. I urge all those who truly love him to speak with him.
My considered opinion is that if Mr Burke does not re-settle his ego and pride, and if others do not lift a finger to help to resolve this matter, things will not get any better, publicly and internally. Any such development will not be in the best interest of the NDC. If I am entitled to certain rights as an individual and as a member of the Party, then I expect such rights to be respected.
Intolerance and good governance are irreconcilable. Indifference and good governance are also irreconcilable.  

(once again, name omitted).

For what its worth, I just thought those two made interesting reading.

There are some issues there I used to be very familiar with.

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