From Founder Leaders to Future Leaders: A case for addressing the AFC leadership imperative 

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Dear Editor

There are leadership concerns throughout the APNU+AFC Coalition. The leadership of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R) has been gaining the bulk of the attention. There are significant leadership issues elsewhere within the political marriage.

The other partner, the Alliance For Change (AFC) is fast approaching a critical juncture of its own leadership and political life cycle. A fork in the road is awaits not far ahead. Will the party ‘circle the wagons’ and consolidate its current fatigued and faded leadership cohort? Or will it take an imperative bold leap and embrace the demands of the future.

The party leadership may continue merrily on its meandering path or it could embark on a politically prolific path of transitioning from its ‘Founder Leaders’ to its ‘Future Leaders’.

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The Founder Leaders – Khemraj Ramjattan, the incumbent Leader, Raphael Trotman, the incumbent Chairman and the late Sheila Holder have collectively commanded the party’s leadership since its formation in a decade and a half ago.

There is an emerging sentiment within the party’s membership that it is time to transition beyond the Founder Leaders. There is the view that it is time to canonise the two living Founder Leaders. It is time for the party to honour them for their contributions towards the political advancement of the nation and elevate them to ‘emeritus status’ as they have previously done for former Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo.

The emerging view is that they will both retain advisory roles for the foreseeable future, but that their time at the helm of the party’s leadership has expired its shelf life. There comes a time when all leaders must confront the reality that it is time to gracefully bow out and leave the leadership mantle in the hands of the next generation.

Except for when Nigel Hughes served as Chairman during a period when Trotman was on political sabbatical, the two Founder Leaders have, ‘alternatingly’ completely occupied the two top positions in the party – Leader and Chairman. This rotational or alternating biannual leadership exchange of the two Founder Leaders as Leader and Chairman appears contrived and the membership, the electorate and the public have grown wary of it.

At this juncture the AFC is also in a political vortex of attempting to redefine its relevance while facing a series of high profile resignations. The once firebrand party has become lethargic and grappling with determining its purpose and role. Its longtime recycled leadership is unlikely to lift it out of the political morass in which it has become trapped.

The AFC requires bold, fresh, modern, sober, dynamic leadership. It is time for the Founder Leaders to step back and the Future Leaders to be entrusted with the baton. The AFC requires leadership and a Leader who is in touch with the society, not a leader who is estranged from and out of touch with the people.

The AFC requires leadership and a Leader who can build trust and consensus, not a leader who is isolationist, routinely crude, divisive and offends the sensibilities of the masses. The AFC requires leadership and a Leader in whom the people, a broad cross-section of its support base, can repose trust and confidence, not a leader about whom they are uncertain, embarrassed and suspicious. The AFC requires leadership and a Leader who exudes confidence, charisma and a calm and collected disposition, not a leader who is erratic and who the people find cringe-worthy. It would be to the party’s detriment to continue to entrust leadership to a leader who provides a non-stop diet of naïve, bizarre and inept political mis-steps and mis-direction whether it is in advocating for persons to be unconstitutionally mandatorily vaccinated before receiving the COVID Cash Grants or, as if acting as a proxy for the PPP in championing the fetid and repugnant International Republican Institute programme which is clearly and explicitly designed to keep the APNU+AFC Coalition out of government in perpetuity.

In summary, the AFC requires a credible Leader, which it would be hard-pressed to conclude that it now has. It is imperative for the AFC leadership to transition from the ‘ownership’ clutch of the two Founder Leaders and into the hands of its Future Leaders.

Regards

Troy Douglas



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