Suruj: Time to usher in a new generation
By Surujrattan Rambachan
In the Hindu sacred text the Ramayana there is a remarkable and awe inspiring incident in the life of the King of the Hindu dynasty Dasratha. Every morning he would stand before the mirror to place the crown on his head. On this particular day he noticed that the hair around his ears had become grey and further that they appeared to be whispering to him that the time had come for him to hand over the throne to his son Raam and that he shouldassume a new role in the affairs of the kingdom of Ayodhya as ADVISOR AND MENTOR TO THE KINGDOM. IN THE HINDU TRADITION LIFE MOVES THROUGH MEANINGFUL STAGES, AS WE AGE BIOLOGICALLY. EACH STAGE OFFERS NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR A DIFFERENT FOCUS AND COMMITMENT. DASARATH RECOGNIZED THE OPPORTUNITY FOR A NEW STAGE IN LIFE- VANAPRASTA.
The importance of this incident is that we must all become aware of THE RIGHT MOMENT when we should voluntarily relinquish positions of authority and power and usher in a new generation for shaping the future.
Our role is to work incessantly for the good of humanity and do so with an equal eye. However we must also know that we have a responsibility to grow/OR MENTOR the next generation of competent leaders and managers, to sponsor visionaries and our youth to replace us and to develop the nation where people would be happy and where prosperity would be experienced. Elder members of Families must also grow leaders to achieve sustainably of the family legacy and heritage. Organizations including political parties must also do the same. IF WE CLING TO POWER FOR THE SAKE OF POWER, WE BECOME IMPEDIMENTS TO SUSTAINABLE NATIONAL GROWTH.
I entered politics in 1968 (fifty years ago) with the vision of creating a better country. When I joined the ONR in 1980 and became Deputy Leader to Karl Hudson Phillips I was motivated by the slogan “we must do better”. I interpreted and understood that slogan to want to do better for country and for EVERY citizen.
I lost two general elections but I was never disappointed nor was my motivation diminished. MY MEANING WAS IN THE RIGHT EFFORT AND NOT IN A GUARANTEED OUTCOME. I knew then that perseverance was required since I also understood that if you did not fill the political space to carry out your mission, that space would be occupied by someone else, maybe someone who would place self before nation.
I have a great desire to serve and to bring relief to the poor and disadvantaged. My religion asks a question as to what is the greatest pain that HUMAN BEINGS suffer. The answer given is this. There is no greater misery in this world as terrible as poverty. We need a politics in which we are prepared to Endure pain in the interest of others.
My personal vision and political mission whether as ONR or NAR or PP and currently UNC of which I have had the privilege to be a member, an MP and a Minister coincides with the UNC vision and mission to eradicate the curse of poverty through empowerment by way of skills and education. With this I fully identify.
The compassion with which the PP governed and which underlies the policies and philosophy of the UNC differentiates us from any other political party in this country. I am proud to identify with a party and leadership that promotes democracy through our respect for free speech, opportunities for all, equality under the law and home ownership that gives a stake to our people in this society amongst other values.
I have have had my battles with the leadership, with our Political Leader with colleagues but I have always tried to fight inside not in the public. I believe that conversations lead to conversion and that politics is still about the art of compromise
without RELINQUISHING with your essential life values.
You must also be prepared to move on if’ the disagreements are beyond compromise. I want to assure you that my decision to redefine my role in the politics of my country and more particularly in the future of my party has nothing to do with disaffection or disappointments in my Leader nor of any fundamental differences with my colleagues. Yes from time to time I have had my disappointments and my internal struggles. THIS IS NORMAL I am only human . As a politician more properly defined as a servant of the people, It is important to understand what the country wants, what the voters want. I humbly believe that there is a disconnect between the people and in particular the young people and the system of governance resulting in alienation from politics. Too many of our young people are much like cynics rather than participants. They live on the fringes of the society peeping in with a degree of scorn for politics and politicians. There is a frustration that is heating up In the bellies of our youths. This is dangerous for our future. We have a challenge on our hands. We need a politics of caring, a politics of listening, a politics of understanding, a politics of compassion, a politics of shared leadership and decision making. Notice that I did not say a politics of unity since that is an outcome of the vision and values I just described. This is the politics I know in the UNC, in Basdeo Panday and in Kamla Persad-Bissessar
Our Leader and my colleagues continue to live the vision for freedom from hardship and the empowerment of our people that will result in economic independence and prosperity. The achievement of this vision requires of us that we invite and welcome into the process of governance those whose lives are going to form and whose aspirations will shape the future, and further whose actions would determine how sustainable will be our future. We cannot ignore our responsibility to bequeath a sustainable future to our future generations.
I have identified that I must as a matter of patriotism act so as to usher in the leadership of the future, the future generation of leaders. Today’s youths are tomorrow’s leaders.
Our ability to return to government depends on how courageous we are going to be in taking tough decisions about policies, representatives and accommodating diversity. Despite the perception that our party is East Indian based, the realty is that the UNC is the most diverse political Party in our country.
Leadership is situational. The current situation demands major shifts in how we will operate as a party. There will be hurts, but sacrifice for a greater good will have to triumph over personal Ambition.
In 1986 to make possible the Accommodation/ NAR Panday sacrificed his opportunity to be PM. Karl Hudson Phillips asked six of his key people including myself to step Back and not contest elections so that the NAR could move ahead. I was one of those. I know what it is to sacrifice for the larger goal. I am prepared to do so again and give birth to a new generation of leaders.
I warn however that this decision does not mean I am riding out into the sunset. Far from it. I am entering the role of a creator. No creation can take place without dissolution.
There will be those who will say good riddance to Rambachan. That’s freedom. There are those who will say don’t leave.
I am giving rebirth to my political life. I want to be AN ELDER statesman for the UNC OFFERING THE EXPERIENCE AND WISDOM OF MY PUBLIC LIFE TO A NEW GENERATION OF LEADERS.
I wish to suggest that governance becomes the centerpiece of our national cause
Our ideals must be based on five (5) principles namely:-
1. Governance that yields /THAT IS COMMITTED TO Justice
2. Governance that IS MOTIVATED BY Compassion
3. Governance that AIMS FOR National Prosperity THAT EXCLUDES NO ONE.
4. Governance that is environmentally conscious AND COMMITTED TO SUSTAINABILITY.
5. Governance that builds and sustains strong families and SAFE communities for therein lies the strength of a Nation
6 Governance that is perceived as honest and has integrity
7 Governance that focuses on as primary goals the following: home ownership, health care, EDUCATION security of the person and families as well as affordable food/BASIC NECESSITIES.
I AM GRATEFUL FOR ALL THE OPPORTUNITIES, OVER THESE FIFTY YEARS, TO SERVE MY NATION. SERVICE IS A PRIVILEGE, AN HONOR; FOR ME IT IS AN EXPRESSION OF MY RELIGIOUS COMMITMENT WHICH HAS TAUGHT ME TO SEE GOD IN EVERY BEING. ONE WHO UNDERSTANDS THIS MUST ALWAYS BE HUMBLE AS A LEADER. FOR SUCH A PERSON A LIFE OF SERVICE NEVER ENDS, EVEN AS WORSHIP NEVER ENDS. I THINK THIS IS WHAT GANDHI HAD IN MIND WHEN HE SAID THAT “‘Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is.” WHILE MANY, FOR GOOD REASONS, HAVE GROWN CYNICAL AND SCEPTICAL OF POLITICS, OUR CHALLENGE IS TO RESTORE POLITICS AS A NOBLE FIELD OF ACTIVITY. HOW DO WE DO THIS? GANDHI GAVE US WHAT HE REGARDED AS A TALISMAN FOR POLITICAL LIFE: “Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man whom you may have seen, and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him. Will he gain anything by it? Will it restore him to a control over his own life and destiny?” WHILE I WILL NO LONGER SEEK ELECTED OFFICE, I WILL NOT CEASE TO SERVE, TO HONOR GOD IN EVERY HUMAN BEING AND TO DEDICATE MYSELF TO THE WELLBEING OF THE POOREST AND WEAKEST AMONG US.
We can do better for party for people for nation
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