The leadership opportunity was squandered! The leadership promise was stillborn! Whether by surrender or by ouster, the resignation might well be a necessary evil. Party political leadership is more about stamping a brand in the mind of the public than about re-arranging internal institutional matters. The ‘leader engine’ must communicate a vision for Grenada; be dedicated to building relationships; be comfortable with eyeballing people and pressing flesh; and purposefully ensure that all players understand cultural and demographic factors in order to do well at the polls. Of course, raising resources and establishing a cohort of enablers are also particularly important. There must be a buoyancy surrounding and flowing from the leader. Inspiration triggers passion and energizes members and supporters.
An ordinary party supporter upon learning of Franka’s resignation whispered despairingly, “Meh blood run cold”! The supporters of the NDC are hurting! Their leaders have let them down once again! They are hemorrhaging and some have begun to lose hope and to look at other options to align themselves with. It is foolhardy to think and to say that NDC has the support of forty percent of the electorate. Its’ share of the vote in 2018 was never a constant and has already entered minus territory given what has happened or not happened since the 2018 elections.
In the circumstances, discharging the task facing the ‘house- keeping leadership’ begins with understanding the impact on the supporters and ordinary members and resolving to take decisive and smart actions to stop the bleeding and attrition.
It might well be considered sadistic to beat up on those who are trying to hold the party together, but they must understand that as they ‘mind the gap’ they must also mind their ways.
Instability induced by a rapid turnover of leaders cannot be good for NDC nor is it good for Grenada. The NDC should not be limping to the ‘center cemetery’, there to settle as ‘yellow ashes’! Those in the hierarchy must feel and understand that the base has been rattled! Acknowledge the pain and speak to it! Stop speaking to yourself about yourself!
The Press Conference held on November 28 has evoked mixed reactions and the participants might have celebrated achieving their objectives. But they clearly omitted a critical objective, or, if they did not, then an aspect of what transpired was potentially damaging. They tried to project confidence, but it was hollow for not realizing that confidence in a party- political context calls for capacity, commitment, consistency, and conviction supporting the primary political ‘engine’, the leader. As they sat in that Press Conference, there was no leader!
Specifically, therefore, they needed to tell supporters and public that a serious process would be undertaken to find a new leader. Instead, the Deputy Leader, judging from some of his utterances and demeanor, appeared to forget that he was not Party Leader! Troubling! Better to suspend judgment and encourage the Executive to embark upon a process of finding a successor to Franka and to let the public know as much. Frankly, this might be NDC’s last opportunity to get it right! A negotiated leader on a trial basis for one year is not only insulting, but also politically suicidal! The new leader must be one who is good for Grenada.
One would think that the party must now turn with urgency to its young members and seek to establish them as the voice of hope. Hopefully, they have had the preparation; now let them possess the runway!
The time has also come for the party to open the door to people of talent and relevant capacity who could make an important difference to its work and public relations. There are many who are willing to contribute and are not driven by an expected payday, as such.
In management, there is a rule of thumb that you recruit your weakness. Obviously, it begins with a recognition that weaknesses exist at various points in time relative to the vision for the organization. The NDC, in recent years, has been guilty of a closed- shop approach to its politics, not understanding that the weaknesses and limitations of the Executive become the weaknesses and limitations of the entire organization. And all those weaknesses are projected onto the public yielding negative consequences.
A common feature found in the demise of all regimes in Grenada since the seventies is this thing called character; not lack of proper group dynamics as has been contended elsewhere. People bring to groups two basic qualities; expertise/capacity (what they have) and character (who they are). It is character that impacts group dynamics for good or bad. So, it is time that some in the hierarchy of the NDC look in the mirror! It is also time that they come to understand the times and know what is good for Grenada. Individuals should not be afraid to ask themselves the questions, “Am I good for Grenada? Do I understand the times?” To be ambitious is not a crime. But there is a condition Shakespeare referred to as, “vaulting ambition that o’er leaps itself and falls on the other side”. That type is dangerous to both self and public.
Resting now unhappily at the vortex of bleeding hearts and sorrowful grief, people of goodwill towards the NDC are crying out for common sense and good politics. They hope that their leaders will not let them down or mislead them for the third time since 2000. Self- dealing often has a chilling effect, but a transparent process will enliven the blood so that it never runs cold again!
William Brian Joseph, The Patriotic Vine.