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Communication in Tourism
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UWP Leadership Question
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Why Marpin Was Rejected
Sanford Now In Barbados
Hotels Threaten Shutdown
Urban Baron to Cross Floor
Lestrade & Stabilisation
Urban Baron Did Not Cross
PM Charles Tightens Grip
Search for New President
Tension at N.D.C.
New Independent Party?
AT & T in Dominica
Curtis Matthiew - DFP?
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DFP Virtually Dead
PM's Fiscal Adjustment
Dr Etienne to PAHO
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Sam Raphael Resigns
Tour de Dominica Politics
PJ on Independence
Politics 25 Years Later
Cure For Aids Mooted
DSS Stymied by IMF
New Development at CTO
The Silent Killer
Grenada & Hurricane Ivan
Regional Tourism Security
Making Millions on Haitians
UWP Falling Apart
© Johnson JohnRose
PM Charles Tightened Grip on Leadership of DLP
Prime Minister Pierre Charles has tightened his grip on the leadership of the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) within the past few months with hardly a dissenting voice emerging from among the ranks, several party sources have told the Sun.
So secure is Charles' position at the top that when the DLP holds its annual convention in Paix Bouche on December 29, he won't face a single challenger, the sources said.
"There isn't any challenger at present. He is unopposed," DLP executive member Cecil Joseph told the Sun. "Since the Prime Minister's statement on Independence Day that the stabilisation programme will definitely go for one year, and based on the opposition's (failed) effort to get rid of the government, it is clear that he has won round one."
Another view that emerged was that there was no one else capable of taking over the mantle of leadership from Charles.
"There is no alternative within the party. He is it, basically," stated David Bruney, who was attorney general in the Pierre Charles government before he was sacked earlier this year. "He has to lead the party. You can't change your leader at this time (when an election is near)."
Charles' hold on the leadership of the DLP was shaky up to recently, DLP officials have said. The then minister of finance and deputy party leader, Ambrose George was seen as a serious contender by many within the party, and so were "one or two of the young brigade", the officials said.
By mid-year, with Charles suffering from medical problems and the economy on the brink of collapse, some within his cabinet were getting edgy and were quietly calling for him to step aside.
But it seems he has survived the storm surrounding the introduction of a five percent stabilisation levy imposed to steady the economy. And there is one other consideration - - a general election is due in 2005.
"The man is party leader and Prime Minister. As difficult a period as he has had, he has been able to weather the storm and you are entering an election period, so it would be stupid to challenge the leadership," said one of those who had earlier suggested that Charles should step down.
And one of Charles' most vocal defenders, Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan said it would make little sense for anyone to challenge Charles for the party leadership. In any event, Astaphan said, there was no one prepared to take the steps that Charles took to ease the country's financial burdens, despite the political implications.
"Why should anyone challenge him? The government and the party are doing exactly what they have to do to get the country out of the morass and financial crisis (that it is in). He has been courageous and brave enough to take the necessary step," Astaphan told the Sun.
It was Charles' brave and courageous efforts, said a one-time potential challenger, that forced the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) on the back foot and has made the Prime Minister a potent force.
"Even if people are not satisfied with Pierre as a leader, we have an opposition that is on the back foot. The only thing that makes UWP believe that it is a force to reckon with, are the six or seven people who call the (Kairi FM morning talk show) The Heng every morning," said the source.
Despite the apparent display of satisfaction with Charles coming out of the DLP camp, there remain concerns that some of the very issues that led to the earlier jitters still persist, several sources have said.
They said that he continued to isolate members of his cabinet by failing to engage them and to open up to them.
"I think that his style of leadership does not endear him to certain people. He has taken the lonely route and isolated certain people," said Bruney.
"He has his confidants, his advisers. He tends to go outside of cabinet for his advise. A lot of ministers feel isolated. I think he doesn't have confidence (in his ministers)," added the former attorney general.
Bruney, who gave Charles credit "for the strength of character that he's shown" and the "bold move" that he took to cure the country's economic problems, said the DLP and the government could have problems winning the next election if the party leader did not attract fresh and talented candidates.
"A lot of the Labourites have defected. Are these talented people going to be part of his campaign? I don't think so. I myself certainly won't be," he asserted.
But those who defended Charles' leadership style said that people were being unfair to him by comparing him to his predecessor, Rosie Douglas.
"We must not confuse personality with ability. We must not expect Pierre Charles to become Rosie Douglas," said Anthony Astaphan. "Every single person in the Labour Party who knew Pierre Charles in opposition knew that he wasn't the expressive and explosive person as Michael (Douglas), or Rosie Douglas or Eugenia Charles."
"We as Labourites measure him against Rosie Douglas (and) once you go down that road you are going to run into trouble because there is no comparison," stated one of Charles colleagues who was among those suggesting earlier that he step aside.
And Cecil Joseph, the DLP executive member admitted that "a number of people are unhappy with the leadership style of Pierre Charles." But, he said, these very people agreed that "he brings honesty and he is away from corruption."
In any event, stated Joseph, the next election would not be about Pierre Charles but about the DLP and what it, along with its coalition partner, the Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) had been able to achieve for the country.
While neither party has started discussing how they will approach the election, Joseph said he anticipated that they would work even more closely in order to secure a victory.