Bouncers or bouncing back?

Dr Maurice Cure must be turning over in his grave at the latest twist in the saga of the Labour Party. He would never have imagined that the party that he founded on such noble principles would one day sink so low.

This is a party that was practically trashed at the last general election in December 2014. The government lost no time in carrying out its agenda of exposing the outgoing prime minister and his friends. By design or by default of the present dispensation, but primarily because of the past wrong doings of its leader, the Labour Party has been weakened considerably.

After handing over the conduct of its affairs to a front bench led by Arvind Boolell, designated the official spokesperson of LP by the leader Navin Ramgoolam himself, the party started to pick up some strength. It took some courageous stands on several matters that were in the public sphere, namely the Bramer Bank closure, the BAI insurance schemes, etc.

There was some consistency and coherence which gave its adherents a glimmer of hope that all was not lost, and that with an infusion of new ideas and a re-ordering of its manner of functioning the party could rise form the ashes afresh. After all, it was the leader’s own decision to take a holiday while he was sorting out his tangles with the judicial system. And that was the right thing to do.

However, whatever little goodwill had started building up has now received a setback by the ugly episode at Guy Rozemont Square a few days ago. Navin Ramgoolam’s making a surprise appearance and his mea culpa has not been well viewed by the public at large, including the saner elements among Labour adherents too.

He may think he has washed himself clean, but this is not a religious confessional with a forgiving judge-god sitting somewhere else. The god down below is the public, and it can be unforgiving. It showed its teeth on in December 2014, and it will not hesitate to do so again. Good groundwork was in progress for the forthcoming municipal elections.

At a time when there is an urgency about demonstrating party unity and gathering the forces to present a genuine alternative in line with the spirit of the Constitution, what is happening is the exact opposite. This is no good for the party, and worse for the country. Will the good groundwork that was in progress for the forthcoming municipal elections now grind to a halt?

Bouncing back, yes; bouncers, no. The choice is clear. Otherwise, at all levels we will have to fear dictatorial tendencies, as the President of the Bar Council Mr Antoine Domaingue has expressed in an interview in a Sunday paper.

In this column last week we had asked ‘What future for Labour?’ And had given extracts of warning signs to which attention had been drawn but that had been ignored, with the consequent debacle in December 2014. There is a need for deep introspection, analysis, synthesis and charting the way forward collectively at the party level.

At the very least, the struggle of Dr Cure must be the guiding spirit for the party. Will it?

TP Saran

*  Published in print edition on 15 May 2015

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