New CTO Appointment
Economics of Going Green
State of Caribbean Media
Passport to Paradise
Death Sentence in 2 Years
Priest Thinks Twice
Charges & CounterCharges
Communication in Tourism
Moves to Oust Savarin
WIBC Settles with Gregory
UWP Leadership Question
Threat to State College?
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?
Sonia Williams - Indep...
SARS in Toronto, Canada
Bobby - Independent?
Casino Gambling Begins
Formal Opening of DSC
End of Douglas Dynasty?
Wage Bill Cut
DLP Want Theodore Fired
DFP Virtually Dead
PM's Fiscal Adjustment
Dr Etienne to PAHO
Relations with China?
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
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UWP Question Edison James' Ability to "rally the people behind him"
The ability of the United Workers Party (UWP) leader Edison James to "rally the people behind him" is being questioned by some senior members of the party, although they admit that he continues to command majority support within the party.
There have been quiet rumblings within the UWP about James' leadership style and his ability to connect with people since the party lost the 2000 general elections.
Although the party has done a good job of keeping its differences away from the public domain while painting a picture of a party that is totally united behind its leader, party members now seem more willing to "speak out" against James, with some calling for his removal.
"I don't think the party can sell Edison anymore. The only place they can sell Edison is in Marigot," a founding member of the UWP told the Sun. "Dominicans will not settle for Edison as their leader (and) they should change the leader of the party."
The member, who spoke to the Sun on condition that he is not identified, complained that after 14 years at the helm, it was time for James to step aside and make way for someone who is "younger and more likeable."
"They (the party supporters) must educate themselves politically. They don't want to change things," said the source who stressed that although Dominica's tough economic situation has made the governing coalition vulnerable, the UWP could not expect to win the next general election if James remained as leader.
"If we don't change leadership in the UWP, Pierro (Prime Minister Pierre Charles) will win the next election (especially if) the outside agencies start giving money to the government and things start to improve," the founding member said.
But it is the economic situation that the UWP is counting on to help return it to power, according to another founding member and senior officer of the UWP.
"There is a view that 'do not rock the boat' because no matter what the party will win anyway. That is probably the predominant view," the official said.
The source, who also spoke to the Sun on condition of anonymity, said the issue of James' leadership and the party's ability to win an election under his stewardship, has been "the subject of widespread discussion" within the party but there was a "reluctance to change."
"You sense the dissatisfaction with Edison James (but) once you have an incumbent…they are reluctant to change," the senior party member said.
The source admitted that James "has the majority of the current support" within the party but that there were some who were convinced that he did not have the "incremental support" and the ability to attract voters beyond the party's current base.
The sources who spoke to the Sun also referred to the bugging scandal and his performance as leader during the UWP's one term in office from 1995 to 2000.
"I will not go on a platform and say it but we made some very serious mistakes," one senior member of the party told the Sun.
The source admitted that there were many instances when James placed narrow political gain ahead of the country's interest, resulting in decisions that eventually hurt both the party and Dominica.
The source gave as an example, the Public Works Department, which "some responsible people" in the UWP government felt should not have been run as a semi-independent institution, but rather should have fallen "under the director of audit."
"(Former Communications and Works Minister) Earl (Williams) said no and he showed up with a whole lot of party supporters and gave them jobs and we were stuck with it," the source complained. "We had a lot of those kinds of things."
The source felt that if James were to lead the UWP into the next election, incidents like those would hurt the party.
The person seen as the most likely replacement for James is the deputy political leader, Julius Timothy, although Laplaine MP Ron Green has also emerged as a popular choice, party insiders told the Sun.
"They are clearly looking at Ron Green. He portrays the picture of stability but Ron is too weak," one source said.
But sources also said that Timothy was seen by some within the party's hierarchy as unwilling to play the "down and dirty" politics required to win an election in Dominica.
James would not discuss the whole question of leadership of the party except to stress the process by which the party elects its leaders.
"The leadership of our party is to be determined by the members of the party within the provisions of the constitution of the party," James told the Sun. He explained that a Delegates' Conference met every year to deliberate on the issue of leadership and to choose the party's leaders.
"I am subjected to the decision of that body and I will abide by the decisions of that body," the UWP leader added.