The launch of the 2020 general election campaign for the coveted prize of the prime minister’s seat has now become more interesting with the announcement of the participation of the newest political party, the Patriotic Front, to contest all 41 seats.
The party’s leader, Mickela Panday, is the offspring of a figure who has been synonymous with local politics since 1966. Basdeo Panday contested that year’s election on a Workers and Farmers Party ticket, losing his deposit in the process. That defeat did not deter the elder Panday who ten years later would become the leader of the opposition in the Parliament. And 24 years later would become the fifth prime minister of this nation.
Mickela Panday has a monumental task in making her contribution in creating a new horizon in the political landscape of our country where many of our citizens have resigned to a feeling of hopelessness and disenchantment, having been governed by a crop of politicians, on both sides of the political divide, who have all failed to engender any ray of confidence in the future of our twin-island republic.
What does the entry of the Patriotic Front, and by extension Mickela, bring to the table?
As the youngest of all the leaders, she brings youth and dynamism to a mix of the old and experienced. Her entry will serve to inspire the fresh minds of our nation’s idealistic youth to see the future as a time to aspire and to achieve.
She can attract young professionals, many of whom are qualified as doctors, lawyers and engineers, unable to find gainful employment and are wasting away valuable talent. They can take to a young leader who can empathise with their desires.
To the supporters of the Opposition who are disenchanted and are rudderless, but are reluctant to change allegiance because of their primordial instincts, there is now a chance to break away from the burden of the messianic leader and still feel at home.
When the senior Panday took the oath of office as opposition leader in 1976, the ULF (United Labour Front) having won ten seats, he addressed a meeting in Woodford Square following the swearing-in ceremony in the Parliament, saying, ‘Today marks the death of the DLP, may they rest in peace. The era of the Capildeos is now history. On to a new incarnation, the ULF.’
The young Mickela is hoping that soon, she too can say the same of the UNC (United National Congress). With all the internal wrangling in the UNC over the allocation of seats to contest in the forthcoming election, don’t be surprised that the disenchanted supporters of the UNC are swayed to throw their support for the new kid on the block. After all, she is a Panday and a promising star, but most of all, they can feel at home.
We may soon see the repeat of the 1976 Woodford Square speech where there can be the latest incarnation of the DLP (Democratic Labour Party) and no more of the personalities that have dominated opposition politics for decades.
Facing the likelihood of a loss in the general election, the UNC will have to find a new leader, and with the hope of inheritance of the mantle her father once held, it would be an easy transition for the young Mickela, having emerged as a leader of a national party just after the election.
Is history about to repeat itself?
We wait with bated breath as the politics develops, with the election soon to take place.