Congratulations to the PNM on their victory at the polls under the leadership of Dr Keith Christopher Rowley. Congratulations also to the ongoing Leader of the Opposition Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
Unless the results in the marginal constituencies are in the single digits, it would be a foolhardy pursuit to seek any recounts. I hope that as the sting of the defeat recedes, this idea will also fade from the memory of Mrs Persad-Bissessar—therefore sparing the population of this aggravation.
Mrs Persad-Bissessar’s biggest obligation is to provide the UNC with an opportunity to re-imagine what the party can look like on Election Night 2025. The first step in this process is to provide a clear path by resigning as MP and anointing a suitable successor to run in the Siparia By-Election which will be triggered.
From the historical patterns, that person will be successful— so it is a relatively risk-free activity which also has the potential to help the party heal, re-create itself and signal a different role for the Opposition in Parliament.
It can happen that a loss may be a better teacher than a win, especially since the winner is not likely to change strategies. This loss provides the UNC with a tremendous opportunity to think deeply about our society and how future elections can be conducted.
Unfortunately, the 2020 campaigns continued the focus on an ‘us versus them’ strategy and not on messages which spoke to: ‘we, the people…’.
My subjective observation is that the electioneering and dirty tricks have reached a new low with attacks and counter-attacks. Some believe that it is entrenched and all we can expect is the continuation of gutter politics, but I am not convinced.
I still believe that there are citizens who want better and are interested in the social transformation that is required to make Trinidad and Tobago a place of excellence. If we can transform the political parties, there is hope for our country.
A re-imagined UNC has an opportunity to embrace a digital strategy as it rebuilds itself, using platforms which allow it to keep in touch with members in real time. The UNC might take the lead on targeting different segments of the voter population directly and not having to rely on third party platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which currently appear to have their own filters, biases and priorities.
A properly re-imagined UNC will be able to identify new areas of focus and therefore keep its membership continuously engaged around its plans and activities. If this is done, a permanent change in the election game might occur and this can steer the country in a new, beneficial direction.
The UNC has been given an opportunity to analyse, adapt, build and prepare for 2025. Unfortunately, the pattern is for parties to use that time in opposition to tear down and have a mad scamper to appeal to the electorate in the final months before the subsequent General Election.
For the love of your country, please Mrs Persad-Bissessar, go in peace!