Evidently both Guy Joseph and his party leader had days earlier made up their twinned minds that what was scheduled to come before parliament on Tuesday this week was indeed “a non-issue.” At any rate, not nearly as worthy of their combined attention as was finding a harbor for Allen Chastanet’s political catamaran, not vulnerable to en-rouge surprise assaults.
Already some folks were comparing the last mentioned to the homeless now occupying the derelict Central Police Station. The old line that Kenny Anthony didn’t have a constituency when he returned home in 1996 had long ago lost its sting. In truth, he had everything going for him: a distressed party that considered him its only savior, and at least three constituencies at his disposal.
Most important was that he had the respect, no, the reverence of the party that had just dumped Julian Hunte on his duff, to the extent they had agreed to make Kenny leader unopposed.
As for Chastanet, he had tested the mudholes in several environs, only to come away dissatisfied with the level of enthusiasm generated among the more important community hotshots. It had become quite evident that Chastanet’s ostensible voice in the House was far more interested in her own immediate future—including a possible raid on the party leadership at the first opportunity.
Imagine that! Even the press appeared in recent times to have abandoned all things Chastanet. Something had to be done, and fast. Frustrated insiders were talking about abandoning the not-so-charismatic Chas. Guy Joseph’s performances in parliament, once excitement-guaranteed were becoming more and more ho-hum. Some blamed it on the distractions of his recent marriage; others knew better.
True, Kenny didn’t appear to have much going for him election-wise, save the element of surprise. En Rouge had long ago taken on the look of the Compton mural on Hospital Road. Even the more established members of Kenny’s party were secretly worried about what they might say to the electorate at election time. Jobs-jobs-jobs had run its course. As had those promises of money for doing nothing. And then there was Mary. And I don’t mean the perennial virgin.
On the other hand, a party without a real leader, which is to say a leader without a guaranteed seat, and incapable of exciting the troops, might just as well stay home on Polling Day. And hey, a win is a win is a win, even if only ten people turned out to secure for it for Kenny.
And so the yellowbirds flocked at their leader’s invitation to Coco Palm on Monday but not to discuss Tuesday’s Order Paper. The only item on the Coco Palm agenda was, yes, you guessed it, where the party leader would run in the next general elections. (If you ask me, I’d say any place without bridges begging to be demolished, but what do I know?)
Among the attendees: the leader of the House opposition Gale Rigobert; Lenard Montoute (who had twice blown his own chances of becoming prime minister, in 2007 and at the time of the palace coup that fizzled at the last second); Ezekiel Joseph who had handed his seat to a neophyte named Alvina Reynolds for the privilege of chairing an opposition party; Guy Joseph and the host and party leader Allen Chastanet. Oh, and Arsene James, the taciturn Micoud South MP! At least one of those present is of the view that Chastanet had shot his bolt soon after he took over from Stephenson King and the party should be concentrating on replacing him with Claudius Preville, an obvious hit with younger supporters of the party.
Secretly Rigobert is against any move that could result in her replacement as LOO and farther than ever from the prime minister’s chair. But my sources tell me Guy Joseph torpedoed Rigobert’s ambition when he stated quite clearly that there were two strikes against the lady: her gender and her color. In straight-forward terms, my sources assured me, “Guy told her the party’s chances of winning the next elections depended on a leader of Chastanet’s color, a leader with balls.”
I could not resist. I said: “What! Guy actually said that? And what did Gale say? Did she leave the room to show them where the party’s gonads were located?”
“Those were Guy’s actual words,” I was assured. “Gale sat where she was, near Guy. All she said was ‘you Guy!’ ” Which carries far more impact told in Creole but let’s not go there. As for Ezekiel, he stood by his present leader on the occasion but I’ve been assured he’s not all that hot on the man he had helped shoot down Stephenson King a short time ago.
In any event, the meeting ended on a happy note. The sly mongoose, Arsene James, promised to step down and facilitate a by-election in January 2015 that all present expect Allen Chastanet, with the old boy’s invaluable assistance, to win hands down. But it’s a long, long way to Tipperary. As long as between September 2014 and January 2015. Even longer when measured with a political yardstick. A lot can happen in the interim, including the emergence of Claudius Preville and a general election that Kenny is planning to win, if only by default.
Ernest Hilaire? That’s for another inquiry!
—- Rick Wayne