The prime min­is­ter must cau­cus with se­nior stal­warts of the party, to can­vass their views on mat­ters of party and na­tional in­ter­ests. He should also or­gan­ise in­for­mal talks with key party af­fil­i­ates here and abroad.

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT - By Peter Josie

In her book ‘The Se­na­tor Next Door’ Amy Klobuchar’s gives an ac­count of her early fam­ily life and her climb to se­nior Se­na­tor of Min­nesota, in the United States Se­nate. It is an in­ter­est­ing read even though the Se­na­tor re­serves the gem and touch­stone of her ac­count, to the very last pages – the Epi­logue. There, she re­lates a fam­ily visit to Slove­nia, the home of her an­ces­tors, and the story of a writer who was dy­ing of cancer and who de­cided to write her own obit­u­ary to leave be­hind for her chil­dren. In that story the writer left to pos­ter­ity this wis­dom: ‘May you al­ways re­mem­ber that ob­sta­cles in the path are not ob­sta­cles, they are the path.’

This rev­e­la­tion may not sur­prise those who have had the ben­e­fit of wise coun­sel from par­ents, guardians, teach­ers and en­light­ened lead­ers. Per­cep­tive par­ents and guardians teach chil­dren to ‘stay the course and don’t give up; re­main com­mit­ted and sur­mount the ob­sta­cles of life’. What­ever the chal­lenges, per­sis­tent ef­fort, prac­tice and fo­cus can help over­come them.

En­light­ened lead­ers in­clud­ing gifted priests, pas­tors and civil so­ci­ety ad­vo­cates teach the in­fi­nite wis­dom that ob­sta­cles are tests of faith, grace and en­durance. In­deed, ob­sta­cles are the path which leads to the place where God de­sires us to be.

On re­flec­tion, there­fore, ob­sta­cles are a sort of bless­ing – ob­struc­tions that lead to the path of knowl­edge and greater un­der­stand­ing. Get­ting through ob­sta­cles is of­ten a chal­lenge that re­quires courage and pa­tience. Not sur­pris­ingly, the more dif­fi­cult the ob­sta­cles, the more phys­i­cal and emo­tional pain they in­flict, the sweeter the victory. Later, when the val­ley is crossed and the moun­tain top is reached, one may look back at the ob­sta­cles as real bless­ings – the path! One emerges from such ob­sta­cles chas­tened and cleansed. A new mind-set emerges view­ing the jour­ney as unique and in­ter­est­ing, not as pre­vi­ously per­ceived.

Un­for­tu­nately, a mind wrought by fear and mis­giv­ings can of­ten mis­in­ter­pret ob­sta­cles as ‘no-en­try’ zones. But the road of life is never without chal­lenges; one there­fore con­tin­ues to walk or climb even where ob­sta­cles abound. Such is the path to a ful­fill­ing life – and dis­cov­er­ing so­lu­tions.

If I were a bet­ting man I would wa­ger that many se­niors here could give sev­eral ex­am­ples in which ob­sta­cles led them to a bet­ter and more se­cure place. From my own ex­pe­ri­ence I can truth­fully say that the ob­sta­cles I have en­coun­tered, some de­lib­er­ate and ma­li­ciously thrown in my way, have led me to where I am to­day, en­joy­ing a peace­ful life and rea­son­ably good health. Look­ing back I see few of my for­mer neme­ses among the liv­ing. It is as if God cleared the ob­sta­cles, one per­son at a time, whilst giv­ing me the courage to stay fo­cused and keep walk­ing by faith along the path He pre­pared for me. To say that He is a lamp at my feet and the light in my path would be a gross un­der­state­ment. He is ev­ery­thing! That is my tes­ti­mony.

Still, I do not carry re­li­gion on my sleeves, ex­pos­ing it to vul­gar eyes, as I do my pol­i­tics. And at the men­tion of pol­i­tics let me di­gress a mo­ment to say how happy and proud the del­e­gates at the United Work­ers Party (UWP) con­ven­tion in 2013 to 2015 made me feel by the way they over­whelm­ingly cast their bal­lots for Allen Chastanet. It was even more grat­i­fy­ing when the elec­torate of Saint Lu­cia turned out in June 2016 to give Allen and his UWP team a well-de­served elec­toral victory. The ob­sta­cles thrown in his path were all cleared that day. One hopes and prays that he can fi­nally bind the coun­try to­gether us­ing his vi­sion and God’s guid­ance to over­come all new ob­sta­cles in his path.

His sup­port­ers must be pre­pared to stand up, de­fend and pro­mote his vi­sion and val­ues. They must stand their ground and clear away ob­sta­cles de­lib­er­ately thrown by ob­struc­tion­ists aim­ing to frus­trate the gov­ern­ment and its work­ers. One ought to re­mem­ber that the op­po­si­tion is do­ing what it does best – op­pose, op­pose and op­pose! The prime min­is­ter must take into ac­count the con­sid­er­able cun­ning and cal­cu­lated mis­chief, prompted by politi­cians who op­er­ate mostly in se­cret be­hind closed doors. The idea of a ne­go­ti­ated com­pro­mise only works in pol­i­tics when men of good­will are pre­pared to stand and speak can­didly. The gov­ern­ment would do well to re­mem­ber that to pla­cate his foes and over­come ob­sta­cles through com­pro­mise will de­pend on his es­ti­mate of its worth to the coun­try. There is a time for war and a time for peace, a time to love and a time ...

It’s bet­ter for the PM to break new ground for new in­vest­ments and job cre­ation rather than wait for the ob­struc­tions in his path to dis­ap­pear. He should con­tinue on the path of trans­parency and ac­count­abil­ity. He must keep his party sup­port­ers and the gen­eral pub­lic in­formed of his so­cial and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment plans. In 2016 the peo­ple turned the SLP ob­sta­cles into a path of victory. Per­sons who do not sup­port the vi­sion, the trans­parency and his open­ness must learn to see that th­ese qual­i­ties are the new path. No in­di­vid­ual is big­ger than the party, the par­lia­ment, or the peo­ple.

The prime min­is­ter must cau­cus with se­nior stal­warts of the party, to can­vass their views on mat­ters of party and na­tional in­ter­ests. He should also or­gan­ise in­for­mal talks with key party af­fil­i­ates here and abroad. Spread­ing and de­fend­ing his party’s man­i­festo vi­sion is still a nec­es­sary and es­sen­tial job. Help­ing Saint Lu­cia climb out of the deep ditch into which the SLP placed it should be the job of ev­ery se­ri­ous and ded­i­cated worker. Stal­warts and sup­port­ers must find a way to con­vert the ob­sta­cles cre­ated by the SLP into a path to­wards growth and de­vel­op­ment for all Saint Lu­cians. ‘One Love’ pol­icy must be seen and felt.

If Prime Min­is­ter Allen Chastanet does all th­ese things and does them well he will suc­ceed in pulling his peo­ple from the jaws of eco­nomic dis­as­ter and en­sure that a brighter fu­ture bea­cons re­gard­less of the ob­sta­cles in his path. Then we shall fi­nally dis­cover that ob­sta­cles are the path - to the New Jerusalem.

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