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Early in his lat­est work in progress Jimmy Fletcher warns read­ers not to ex­pect many ex­ter­nal ref­er­ences. He re­veals his in­ten­tion to of­fer a per­sonal re­flec­tion of his ex­pe­ri­ences gath­ered along the way, “not overly in­flu­enced by text­book con­cepts” and cau­tions that his rec­om­men­da­tions ap­ply “only if you in­tend to run an hon­est, open, peo­ple fo­cused, in­clu­sive govern­ment that val­ues and makes the best use of in­dige­nous re­sources.” As­pi­rants with con­trary am­bi­tions, he warns, will find lit­tle value in his How To Run A Govern­ment, a ti­tle he says was in­spired by Cicero’s How To Win An Election. (I can­not but won­der whether Dr. Fletcher, when re­port­edly he was among Kenny An­thony’s clos­est ad­vi­sors, had rec­om­mended the then prime min­is­ter study Cicero’s clas­sic text prior to his June 6, 2016 sur­prise!)

“In that very en­joy­able and in­for­ma­tive lit­tle book,” Dr Fletcher re­veals, “Quin­tus Cicero seeks to give prac­ti­cal ad­vice in a let­ter to his brother Mar­cus Cicero, an ide­al­ist, who in 64 BC was run­ning for the high­est of­fice in the Repub­lic, that of Con­sul. Per­haps in the same vein, the in­for­ma­tion in this book [How To Run A Govern­ment] is the sort of ad­vice I would want some­one to give to me—if I found my­self on the verge of as­sum­ing the po­si­tion of Prime Min­is­ter of my coun­try.” Of course, the au­thor is be­ing es­pe­cially hum­ble. Af­ter all, should he turn his mind to ad­ver­sar­ial pol­i­tics at some fu­ture time, he would do so fully armed with the ad­vice of the cited leg­endary Ro­man states­man and mil­i­tary leader!

Then again, might the above be a smoke sig­nal? Could it be mere co­in­ci­dence that even as I write the not so hush-hush word is that cer­tain in­flu­en­tial op­po­si­tion muck­a­mucks are sur­rep­ti­tiously en­gaged in per­suad­ing Dr. Fletcher to con­sider tak­ing over the lead­er­ship of the Saint Lu­cia Labour Party be­fore the next gen­eral elec­tions? Far­fetched, you say? Maybe. But I’d bet Ju­lian Hunte would dis­agree! I need add that Fletcher has de­nied all knowl­edge of such di­vi­sive talk, which could well be a strat­egy culled from the ear­lier cited clas­sic text of Quin­tus Cicero. We shall see.

Mean­while there is How To Run A Govern­ment, wherein the au­thor ad­vises that when a can­di­date has agreed to ac­cept the nom­i­na­tion to be the po­lit­i­cal leader of his party he should be cer­tain he un­der­stands the im­pli­ca­tions of that de­ci­sion: He would now be charged with the re­spon­si­bil­ity to lead the party “with its proud his­tor­i­cal tra­di­tion into the next gen­eral elec­tions.” The reader may be for­given if at this point it seems to him the au­thor is send­ing a di­rect mes­sage to a par­tic­u­lar party leader. No mat­ter, Fletcher re­minds his imag­ined can­di­date that from his ac­cep­tance of the re­spon­si­bil­ity of lead­er­ship “the hopes and as­pi­ra­tions of your sup­port­ers are now piv­oted on your shoul­ders.”

Ad­di­tion­ally: “The tone you set dur­ing the election cam­paign will send a sig­nal to the elec­torate about your lead­er­ship style and your pri­or­i­ties. You will need to ar­tic­u­late, clearly and of­ten, your plans for the coun­try. You should not fo­cus only on the ills of the present ad­min­is­tra­tion. Your goal is to in­spire hope that the govern­ment you will lead as prime min­is­ter will be em­pa­thetic, pur­pose­ful, com­pe­tent, in­clu­sive and suc­cess­ful. Your party should not come across as one that op­poses ev­ery­thing done by the govern­ment, yet does not pro­vide any in­for­ma­tion or in­di­ca­tion on how or what it would do dif­fer­ently, or bet­ter, if elected.” He for­got to men­tion the ad­vice of Hi­lary Beck­les back in 2005: Po­lit­i­cal party lead­ers should be nei­ther “par­ti­san nor vin­dic­tive,” but be ca­pa­ble of mo­bi­liz­ing ev­ery good for so­cial de­vel­op­ment!

Of course there is al­ways to be con­fronted the mat­ter of suit­able election can­di­dates. Fletcher con­sid­ers it the job of the po­lit­i­cal leader to at­tract hon­est men and women “who are liked and re­spected” in their re­spec­tive com­mu­ni­ties. Can­di­dates for party lead­er­ship should be “per­sons of in­tegrity.” As for the election cam­paign, the au­thor de­scribes it as “a gru­el­ing pe­riod . . . It will be your re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­vide sup­port for can­di­dates with more dif­fi­cult chal­lenges and af­fir­ma­tion and en­cour­age­ment to those who ap­pear to have an eas­ier path to vic­tory. Your party must op­er­ate as a strong team, not as a col­lec­tion of can­di­dates wear­ing the same color shirts and run­ning un­der the same party sym­bol.”

Fi­nally, writes Dr. Fletcher, “while your most im­por­tant goal and pre­oc­cu­pa­tion dur­ing this pe­riod must be to se­cure the vic­tory of as many can­di­dates as pos­si­ble, it is never too soon to start a di­a­logue with your team on how you will gov­ern when elected.” He warns of “many par­ties” that had ap­peared “ef­fi­cient and well-pre­pared” dur­ing their cam­paigns only to prove “to­tally clueless in govern­ment.”

I sus­pect the sea­soned (cyn­i­cal?) election cam­paigner, the es­tab­lished party stal­wart, not to say cur­rent and for­mer party lead­ers, will at this point be ask­ing how much the au­thor re­ally knows about pol­i­tics in Saint Lu­cia, de­spite his his­tory as he wrote it in the open­ing pages of How To Run A Govern­ment. Is Fletcher sug­gest­ing lik­able Saint Lu­cian men and women of in­tegrity are un­likely to make de­mands on the party leader sim­i­lar to those of our run-of-the-mill po­ten­tial election can­di­dates?

Will the in­di­vid­u­als the au­thor con­sid­ers de­sir­able be pre­pared to risk plung­ing into the per­ilous wa­ters of lo­cal pol­i­tics out­side of pro­tec­tive cages? Will they re­quire guar­an­teed sur­vival kits should their cam­paigns fail to land them a seat in par­lia­ment? It is one thing to be­lieve our coun­try con­tains the tal­ented, self­less and na­tion­al­is­tic cit­i­zens that Dr. Fletcher says can res­cue our coun­try. It is quite another to guar­an­tee them that the arena in which they are ex­pected to do bat­tle has been cleansed of the swarms of mon­ster hag­fish that a long time ago had turned lo­cal pol­i­tics into a highly lu­cra­tive cot­tage in­dus­try.

And even if Dr. Fletcher’s game-chang­ing ideal can­di­date ac­tu­ally lives and is will­ing to take the plunge of his life, what of his fam­ily, his wife and kids? Will they also be so coun­try-first in their think­ing as to be pre­pared in the ex­ist­ing cir­cum­stances to be will­ing tar­gets for va­ri­eties of col­lat­eral dam­age, all in the best in­ter­ests of He­len? And should their hus­band, dad or brother not make it to par­lia­ment, will they be safe from the elected bunch of reg­u­lar politi­cians now at the levers of power? While it may be pos­si­ble to purge po­lit­i­cal “Saint Lu­cian­ness” out of the man can you also make the vot­ing pop­u­la­tion less ven­omous?

Dr. Fletcher is noth­ing if not an op­ti­mist. His How To Run A Govern­ment may well be tangible proof of his faith in his fel­low Saint Lu­cian. In our next episode we’ll ex­am­ine what the au­thor has to say about “the day af­ter the polls have closed”— suc­cess­fully for his en­vis­aged party.

Dr. James Fletcher presses the flesh with then US Pres­i­dent Obama.

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