The RG contacted me concerning an article they were writing, which is in todays paper. Due to space restrictions, they obviously weren’t able to use the full answer I gave them to the question they posed, so I am presenting it below. The question that I was asked forms the title below. It was written I think on Tuesday, so it doesn’t account for the articles in yesterdays paper concerning gambling.
‘Can Dr. Brown be an effective Leader for the next few months before stepping down?’
I would say that yes, he can be an effective Leader, but not on all things. For example I doubt he’ll be able to push through the gambling legislation that he tried in the last year. I think thats a write-off. I know it was in the Throne Speech, and I understand that the Gaming Task Force report was handed to Cabinet some months ago, but I personally would be surprised if anything gets passed regarding it. Might go out for public consultation and discussion, but I cannot see any legislation being successful, and doubt he would bring it into play.
I think that the main focus of the next few months will be on tackling crime, pushing ahead on education reform, setting in place the long-held PLP objectives of making the municipalities more democratic (this goes back to decades old PLP election platforms) and some frank discussions on race. I think that is what he was saying when he said that as he isn’t being re-elected he can speak freely. I think he’s going to give his frank assessment of the race problem, of social problems stemming from education and the breakdown of the extended family system (kind of a community safety net which has really been torn to pieces due to changed economic circumstances from the mid-80s on).
The Party, despite some public spats by some members of the parliamentary caucus, recognises him as the Leader. That is a fact. Until the new Leader is elected, the Leader is the Leader, its that simple. I don’t think there is as great an opposition to Dr. Brown within the Party as one might think from various comments in the media, but at the same time I don’t think there really is as great a number of supporters (by that I mean people petitioning him to run again) as some suggest. He is the Leader and most people recognise he says he won’t run again and yes, there are some who will be sad about that, others will be relieved, but the vast majority, I think, aren’t even focused on it; they’re focused on continuity, the transition to the new Leader and anticipating the future direction of the Party. In general there will be respect for him and his last months as Leader. Even those that are critical of him are not going to use the coming to an end of his office as an excuse to sharpen knives. The opposite will be the case, people will start talking about how great his tenure has been, what was achieved in it. The negative aspects will be quietly forgotten, or at least placed on the backburner. Of course, as I said above, really controversial things like gambling, individual things like that will cause friction and be opposed. But in general people will be happy to let him cement his legacy.
Dr. Brown and I, well, we certainly have different political ideologies I think, but I still maintain he’s been a great Leader and we have made some progress under his term. We’ve had some setbacks too, the most important of which was the Uighur issue. Members will quietly learn from these things, but I don’t think your going to see anyone bringing them to the front for the purpose of conflict.
So yes, he’ll be an effective Leader for the next few months; he may even be a better Leader than we’ve seen to date.