PLP and the politics of deception
Extra! Extra! Read all about it! On Thursday, July 24, 2003, the Progressive Labour Party sealed its second election victory with a very clear eight-seat majority. But, by the very next morning the voting public would learn that there was very serious unfinished business.
Instead of the typical election victory coverage, The Royal Gazette contained a headline that no ordinary voter could have possibly predicted:
“Premier faces leadership crisis”
The crisis actually had nothing to do with the election result. Instead, it had everything to do with rebel MPs deliberately misleading voters about the state of affairs within the PLP. Whereas voters went to the polls believing that the PLP was satisfied with its first term in office and was united in purpose, the reality was the complete opposite. The July 25 headline put it quite simply:
“We had to mislead you”
That article contained an excerpt of a speech given by Warwick West MP Ewart Brown, which sought to explain what had happened:
“We did mislead you before Thursday by posing as a united front on Tuesday. We did mislead you — individually and collectively — on Thursday at the polls by smiling and being quiet about our level of discontent with the leadership and our intended action on Thursday evening.
“We misled you because we had to — because our greatest goal before Thursday was for the party to win the election.
Some might say, “that was then and this is now”. How ironic it is then that last Saturday's Gazette spilt the beans about the major rift that still exists within the PLP. According to the e-mail chain, now is the time when the PLP should be “working to dismantle the OBA government”. However, the party leader is being accused by those within of bullying the PLP caucus and central committee. Per the RG headline:
“Bean branded ‘wild, psychotic and disrespectful'”
Unlike 2003, readers were given a glimpse into what is really going on behind the façade of unity and nationalism. The language in the e-mails was threatening, insulting and dictatorial. Quite frankly, it defies belief that a party leader would believe that he could give an interview that attacks his colleagues and then refuse to answer questions from anyone.
Even more absurd is that Marc Bean, Zane DeSilva, Derrick Burgess and Wayne Furbert all declined to comment on what is now a very public matter. So much for transparency.
It should come as no surprise that an anonymous senior party source would step forward — yet remain in the shadows — to dismiss Saturday's news report. This time the headline read:
“No challenge to Bean, says source”
According to this anonymous source, e-mails criticising Bean's performance had “sounded harsher than the reality”. Supposedly, voters should not be concerned because “e-mails within caucus are meant to be as frank as possible”. That is, we should pay no attention to whether or not there are any issues to be addressed because what we are witnessing is just how politicians express themselves when they believe they are speaking in private.
There's nothing to see here, according to the source. We are supposed to believe that the PLP is united and ready to retake the government.
Surely voters learnt key lessons from 2003. Retaining power under Alex Scott did not result in an ideological shift that benefited voters.
The same was the case under Brown. Despite all of his nationalistic, racial rhetoric, his political legacy leaves far too much to be desired. Some might even say that Paula Cox was destined to fail, given the mess that Brown left for her to clean up.
The unfortunate reality is that all of this party infighting has not been about what is best for the average voter. History quite clearly shows that it is all about who gets to reap the benefits of being in charge of the PLP once an election has been won.
Thus, the PLP puts all of its effort into obtaining power for a chosen few, and this has been at the expense of figuring out what really needs to be done for the rest of us once it actually has power.
Consequently, as was the case in 2003, its first objective leading up to the next election is to deceive us.
To reach out to Bryant Trew, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org