Be Wary of Political Opportunists, UWI Lecturer Tells Caribbean Voters

UWI political scientist Dr Tennyson Joseph


KINGSTOWN, St Vincent, Monday August 14, 2017 – Caribbean voters must stay clear of “political opportunists”, a leading University of the West Indies (UWI) political scientist has warned.

Dr Tennyson Joseph, who heads the Department of Government, Sociology and Social Work at the UWI, Cave Hill Campus, is concerned that while Caribbean citizens are looking for change because of the failure of traditional politicians, they could be setting themselves up for further disappointment.

Delivering a lecture under the theme, ‘Any Cook Can Govern: Plato, Donald Trump and the rise of Caribbean Businessmen Politicians’ in Kingstown, St Vincent, Dr Joseph took particular issue with the entry of businessmen into the political arena.

“There is much evidence in the politics of the USA, the Caribbean and elsewhere that the election of persons with business experience, and the election of persons who fail to understand that political leadership requires a specific nobility of character, has compounded, rather than resolved the challenges of governance or development.  It is clear that not any cook can govern,” he argued.

He argued that what the region really needed was a “professional politician”.

“A professional politician is one who makes politics his profession. It is not a part-time job; it is not something you do as an offshoot. A politician is somebody who is involved in public life,” Dr Joseph said.

He suggested that in St Vincent, for example, there were people jockeying to enter politics but their contribution to national development was non-existent.

“The word I will use for that is their political opportunism,” he argued.

Dr Joseph insisted that the true politician must have a deep love for leadership.

“It cannot be described and explained, it can only be experienced,” he insisted.

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