IN 2010 the country witnessed a phenomenon called Kamlamania which emanated from the ascension of Kamla Persad-Bissessar as political leader of the UNC in her defeat of Basdeo Panday who practically owned the party and prior to that epic moment of his toppling was thus seen as invincible as a consequence.
Kamlamania would gradually lose its Cinderella magic because of mistakes associated with nepotism, cronyism and other politically incestuous appointments that were made regardless of the eligibility and competence of those handpicked by the boss(es) of the party.
Defeated five years later and suffering many other electoral losses after 2010, Kamlamania soon became Kamlamildness, if not phobia.
Her replacements, however, have so stumbled, fumbled, and bungled their way in the past five years that although they have spent the equivalent of what the United National Congress spent in their five years in office, they have almost nothing to show to answer the question, where the money gone?
Thus, Kamlamania has been fed intravenously and unwittingly a dose of life support by this Government’s incompetence and today it is alive again but not with quite the same euphoric passion of 2010.
But it could be rekindled if Kamla takes the bull by the horn and transition the UNC from being labelled a rural party to an urban party by simply opting to fight the San Fernando West seat thus making it the epicentre of the UNC.
Some might say why should she leave a safe seat that is Siparia and go fight where it might be an iffy situation. The question is why win Siparia and lose the general election.
The moment Kamla announces her candidacy for San Fernando West that seat immediately would become a UNC safe seat. Then Faris Al-Rawi could not defeat Kamla. Kamla in San Fernando would so put the PNM on the defensive, on the run – not only there, where Faris might make a dash for cover to some other seat – but across the whole country as the reigniting of Kamlamania would send them in retreat as in 2010.
What would this mean for Kamla is she would become the first leader to leave a safe seat and go do battle in what is normally viewed enemy territory. That decision would so electrify this country by its boldness that while election would be fought in 41 constituencies, San Fernando West would be the focus of the entire country.
Further, for all who felt she was a pretender to the throne, she would dismiss that in one and would rise as a Joan of Arc figure in our politics.
It makes no sense, Ma’am, to go back and just win a seat, which is what Siparia would be for you, but to win San Fernando and make it the UNC headquarters would be so pioneering that the new politics people talk of and dream about would happen almost imperceptibly by this act of daring and vision by you.
Not only that, but its reverberation would be so seismic that it would cause the PNM’s psychology that this is their country to disintegrate as confetti in the wind.
L Siddhartha Orie