by William Joseph
While there is a reasonable expectation that one’s higher education should be reflected in one’s work and public utterances, there is no certainty that that would be the case.
The duty to ensure a visible and positive connection falls heavily on the one who is trading in the politics on the basis of one’s university degrees.
Monday’s press conference of the NDC, at which its leader spoke ill-advisedly, set me thinking that I had heard and read many political statements in my time, but much of what Mr Burke said beats the life out of me!
To begin with, the context for the press conference must be taken to be the imminent general elections. That being the case, the NDC’s PR objectives should be to attract votes and/or block votes from flowing to the NNP. Therefore, all intended statements should be tested for relevance and impact on the voter. Will you base your voting decision on the non-issue of the PM holding certain appointments and glorifying himself? It does not appear that Burke bothered to apply his scholarship in this way, but opted to plunge himself to the bottom of the barrel. Those who locate him in that blurred habitat may well question his fitness for the prime ministership.
Burke’s line of attack was that the PM, although being a boastful character, was not an ‘economic manager.’ He relied on the evidence of lacking in relation to people’s needs and the shortfall on grant revenues. From that premise, he called on the PM to show how his many appointments at regional and international levels were benefitting Grenada. It is here that he appears to have totally lost it!
Domestic revenues will never be sufficient to run the state. Therefore, government leaders must go out to build relationships and occupy strategic positions in order to attract resources. That is economic management 101.
The experienced among us know that attracting official resources to one’s country is largely a function of diplomacy. That is why Grenada has embassies abroad. They also know that access to funding is often based on positioning. Presence creates opportunities and opens doors that may otherwise be closed. Ask former PM Thomas what being Chairman of AOSIS achieved for Grenada.
Should Burke be called upon to answer his own challenge, would he tell Grenadians that as PM he would refuse ‘appointments’ to regional and international bodies? Does Grenada have an image worth profiling worldwide or should our PM turn up only where and when a few dollars are available?
Grenadians have never considered boasting to be a social crime; neither have they regarded massaging the truth as being a political crime. So where is the indictment? Where is the takedown?
What about the notion of economic manager? Burke must have mirrors in his house! Did his economic management put food on the table throughout 2008-2013? Did not the public finances collapse in 2012 under his stewardship? Give the global recession a break! To his credit or otherwise, he kept his habitual silence regarding his own record for obvious reasons. But a bright politician would never have gone there to begin with.
So, in his attempt to give the PM a black eye, Leader Burke blinded himself with a salvo of political dunceness. Another October tragedy!