|Standing Firm at the Helm|
Notwithstanding the widely held views of the dysfunctional management practices of the preceding prime minister and allegations of corruption by his ministers, the UWP barely lost the 2011 general election. An aggregate of 142 votes (Gros Islet 6, Babonneau 2 and Anse LA Raye/Canaries 134) in effect changed the government from UWP to SLP. It was not a decisive win for the SLP; many believe that the UWP gave away the elections as many of its supporters had earlier expressed disappointment and stayed away from the polls. The SLP to this day remains uneasy with its margin of victory and is more aware of its vulnerability at the upcoming election as the economy continues to shrink. The two years that followed the UWP defeat, the party under the leadership of
Fast forward to the 2013 national convention of the UWP, delegates were task with the responsibility to set the party on a new path with a breath of fresh air and accordingly elected Allen Chastanet as new leader. That decision was not an easy one to arrive at, taking into consideration that King had been a long standing member of the party, had served as a model team player and proved beyond expectations as a good minister of health, sports, youth and community development. Notwithstanding the forgoing attributes, his Achilles heel has been and continues to be his inability to manage people effectively and is seen as one who is easily manipulated thus public perception of his ability to lead has been severely compromised.
With Allen taking on the mantle of leadership, a strategic approach was adopted to rebuild the party’s image and to rekindle public confidence in a reformed UWP. In an attempt to lead the charge to implement change, Allen’s efforts have been hindered by certain elements within the party creating many obstacles that are aimed to derail the reform processes. Some operatives within the party are of the view that these reforms will undermine their influential role they once enjoyed and their future remains uncertain. That feeling of uneasiness has become more acute as the party is now in a better position to win the next general election and operatives would like to be at the right place at the right time to reap the potential benefits that comes with the "territory", so to speak.
|The Furious Four|
If the UWP is to succeed it must remain steadfast in the reform process and remain focus on the overall objectives, irrespective of how loud the dissenting voices may grow. It is naive to think that changes will come at little or no cost; often times it can be destructive process as is currently being played out within the rank and file of the UWP. At the upcoming national convention of the UWP in November, the SLP which prefers a face off against King rather than Allen as leader is hoping that Hon. King continues his quest for the party’s political leadership and is certain to present a formidable challenge to Allen. If the election for party leader is limited to just these two gentlemen, the delegates will most certainly re-elect Allen as leader of the UWP.