Saturday, June 22, 2024
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Steinberg Henry PhD

On April 20, 2018, Raymond Henderson published this below on Dominica Vibes. It was an Opinion titled Change Agent of Choice. Times have changed of course – Raymond was laid to rest on June 1, 2024. Many did not know his way of thinking. In this transitory text sent to me by Royette Greenaway when it was first published in 2018, we get an insight (maybe partially) into his intelligence play, particularly in a game constituted from a loaded political space. Oh my, he thought about a “Quadrille Parliament!” Here’s Raymond Henderson’s prescient text:

As a resident of Roseau, I first heard about MP Joseph Isaac’s move to the center aisle while passing by the Jackson shop in the heart of the Capital. Folks were saying he went to Guadeloupe and on his return, he crossed the floor. This made no sense to me.

I sat in chemistry class with MP Isaac at the Dominica State College for some time. There he was brilliant. I was part of the athletics team throwing the javelin. Isaac was a runner in the 100, 200, 400 meters, and other races. And he kept running non-stop on the soccer field at the various levels. He was also active with student groups and organizations. So, when he joined the race and decided to “run” as a candidate for MP, Roseau Central in the general elections of 2014, it was no surprise to me. His move across the floor, however, was a little surprising. I had to analyze it deeper.

For the entertainment value of it, I thought, what if we had a “Quadrille Parliament” and every time the “speaker” went “Boom-Boom” somebody had to bow smartly and move to cross the floor to change position on something on the “order paper”. Of course, we know who the “chief dancer” in the House is – And it is not Isaac!

But in this latest move, I am beginning to see why MP Isaac became the “Change Agent of Choice” for the ‘Chief Dancer’ and ‘key holder’ of the Cabinet of the Commonwealth of Dominica. I suggest six (6) reasons why the PM of the country and the MP for Roseau Central decided to do a flirtation down the middle of the parliamentary floor;

1. MP Isaac was elected – so he could make decisions on behalf of his people. If they do not like his style, they will let him know when they vote again soon.

2. MP Isaac’s move signals an end to the longest period of campaigning in Dominica ever! We have been in campaign mode since 2000. It is about time we stopped and joined ranks to move the country forward.

3. Crossing the floor ideologically, physically or politically is nothing new. None of us have a monopoly on political maneuvering, so we can debate forever on the virtues of how and why MP Isaac made his move.

4. Yes, he can be “independent” in Parliament, in politics, in public posturing and in private. Yes, it is difficult to be “independent in Dominica generally. And yes, politics is the only game in town with no bananas, no coconuts, and a still developing tourism product. But MP Isaac has done it in the same way that Republicans join Democratic Party governments – whether it is in Washington, London, or Tel Aviv.

5. MP Isaac is a Game Changer. Moving down the ‘center’ with the ability to fake left and shoot right, he is unstoppable. Compounding this is the fact that he seems to be in the number three (#3) position in the new team. It means Roseau can begin to move again. Let me explain.

The Capital, Roseau has been a political embarrassment for the Labour Government for decades – a block of three key seats in the hands of the opposition. The pace of development of the city has suffered as a result. This Easter MP Isaac resurrected some hope. But the truth is, the Labour Party has been salivating over the “Roseau Cherry” for a long time – too long – grabbing whatever votes they could from the North, South, and Central seats. Now they can taste it. Thanks to MP Isaac.

6. And finally, yes, there is now an official Deputy PM in the Labour Administration. One of his main functions will be Party Whip. He will be keeping the team members in check on party issues but more especially in check when the PM is out of state. However, MP Isaac is in a unique position to rock the boat and determine the weather over the government in the future. He is now an insider.

Now here is the real deal. The citizens of ‘the Commonwealth of Roseau Central’ can begin to hold MP Isaac’s feet to the fire on any issues concerning them. And if he does not deliver, he could stew in his political oil. So, the next seating of Parliament is expected to be colourful and lively. Please get copies of the Standing Orders.

Raymond Henderson was General Editor in the Ministry of Education and a part-time lecturer at the Dominica State College.