The AFC cannot talk the politics of change and not walk it
When will Messrs Ramjattan, Trotman, Nagamootoo, Patterson et al show the testicular fortitude to ask Nigel Hughes to leave? He is a liability. He is immense trouble to a small party desperate for growth and barely clinging on to its constituency. Mr Hughes has been scandal-plagued and the latest legal wrangling over a property does not help his or the AFC’s political image. I find it irresponsible for Khemraj Ramjattan to call the PPP’s bluff on its election posturing knowing the party he leads is exposed because of Mr Hughes. The AFC now seems to be a cake shop cabal no different from the PPP. It should have accepted Mr Hughes’ resignation when the Sithe Global conflict of interest matter broke. Instead, it held on to a man whose liability continues and will damage this party. This is moral weakness on the part of the AFC leadership and its supporters. Most AFC supporters remain painfully silent on what has happened. To stand by one man to the detriment of the party and the country itself confirms how morally failed the AFC leadership is. This is increasingly appearing to be about defending the indefensible rather than seeking party advancement or national interest.
In the political arena, appearances and impressions count. For a party dependent on morality for its leverage, clinging to Mr Hughes is a dangerous philosophical turn. It will disgust some AFC supporters and cause them to turn away. Plus, Mr Hughes brings no votes to the AFC. The African constituency he was supposed to appeal to have no moral cause to back him when David Granger presents a more morally palatable option. Some Africans will prefer to back neither. How long will the AFC continue to hold on to Mr Hughes while it loses grip on some of its supporters? When are AFC supporters going to challenge Mr Ramjattan and other leaders over this fiasco?
The only saving grace right now for the AFC is the fact that the PPP is seen as comprehensively worse on all moral fronts and whatever the AFC loses in terms of votes the PPP is losing at a faster pace and in bigger volumes. But that is no justification for Mr Hughes to be protected when it jeopardizes the AFC’s ability to profit from the PPP’s faster descent into political oblivion. The AFC cannot talk the politics of change and betterment but don’t walk it. I am no supporter of the AFC but I recognize the need for a third party to plant that wedge between the two race parties. As long as the AFC holds on to Mr Hughes, the wedge will become no different from the two failed political institutions on its sides.