October 24, 2016  antigua observer Feature

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A noted political analyst from Jamaica Richard Dickie Crawford said failure on the part of political parties to have a succession plan in place could hurt their chances at general elections.

Trevor Walker of the Barbuda People’s Movement has indicated his willingness to step aside should a suitable candidate emerge.

The United Progressive Party’s Dr Jacqui Quinn, who unsuccessfully contended the St George’s seat in 2014, recently submitted her resignation from the Senate and as deputy political leader of the party. This came after the former education minister said she would not be throwing her hat back in the political ring following two go arounds.

Crawford, while speaking on the OBSERVER Radio’s Big Issues programme said the UPP should have been grooming young minds to fill the vacancy.

“That is part of the problem: they do not want to use the opportunity of succession planning to groom others and young people   to eventually take over leadership positions of the party and the country. There should have been a deputy being groomed for leadership because it is not only a matter of leaving the party, but what if there was an emergency and the leader could not step up to the plate,” Crawford posited.

He said there are negatives of this common political thinking of Caribbean leaders, and young people interested in leadership often see the political journey pushed back due to the stagnation of politicians holding onto the reins, in some case, for decades.

“At the rate that I see people in there for 20, 30 and 40 years, young people are thinking why am I joining that for, when will I ever be a leader,” the political analyst said.

Meanwhile, Associate Professor of African and Caribbean Studies at the Arizona State University, Dr David Hinds, said political activism in the Caribbean is on the decline.

“The space for nourishing political activism and learning politics has shrunken considerably. Often, it would be the youth arm where the young people would become radicalised and integrated… political parties do not groom new leaders, and the fact that society itself is not throwing up new ideas and leaders. We have this dearth of new leadership in the political process,” Hinds said.

Regional Pollster and political analyst Peter Wickham emphasised the need for term limits that will allow those who are interested an opportunity to give of their time and efforts.

(More in today’s Daily Observer)