There are some who were there when the Peoples’ National Congress was founded. It would therefore be understandable that, whether members or not, its performance in and out of government would have been monitored closely by them.
Certainly when it comes to leadership styles none who would have followed could match the inspiration that emanated from the Founder Leader. On the other hand, one reason his successor Desi’s style was so different was obviously because he had no comparable record as a ‘politician’. Leadership was in fact thrust upon him. But one attribute he had which has remained unmatched was the ability to tell jokes about himself. The humour simply reflected the fine intellect he possessed.
So many who have been entertained by that funny sense of self-deprecation, agree that we have not since shared publicly a single joke by any leader on either side of the House. Inherent in their predecessors was an innate humanity that not infrequently tempered a contrasting show of authoritarianism, so that there were times when both of these history-making leaders, by their very demeanour, insisted on having conversations on equal terms. Ask some market vendors, for example.
Amongst colleague decision-makers, there was the opportunity offered to challenge a point of view from whatever height. Even in the midst of socializing, consensus would be achieved. No one lost ground badly enough to be discouraged from engaging in the next round of argumentation.
It is against this background of memories of enduring camaraderie that some old buddies reflected on the peremptory announcement of the ‘retirement’ of the General Secretary of the PNCR, Oscar Clarke.
One octogenarian member of the party was concerned about the related decision-making process, and wondered whether the Executive Council, of which he was once a member, had prior knowledge of the decision. As a former government minister himself, he also reflected on the normal procedure which required notice of separation by either employer and employee. That in the instant case was a ‘brother’ so appropriately treated? It would have been so much better appreciated if the General Secretary were allowed to announce his retirement instead. As far as his contemporary was concerned, it would have been more palatable, more like the old days!
Then this elder colleague posed an interesting question to which none of us had answer, “If Oscar had to go on the basis of age, how come a ‘younger’ replacement needs more assistance than he ever had?”
That query was simply left hanging!
E. B. John