By Phillip Edward Alexander
Mere months after his party's candidate defeated the government's choice for the St Joseph by-election the leader of the opposition and political leader of the People's National Movement (PNM) has found himself in a heady space, discarding his Viagra for the man sized testosterone charge only a slim victory in a hotly contested battle can bring.
Phillip Edward Alexander is a social and political activist, a feature writer and columnist, the founder of the Jericho Project and the chairman of the Citizen's Union of Trinidad and Tobago
And like others before him all through history, this infusion of 'aphrodesia' has him behaving more 'mannish' than usual if rumours of the impending shake up at Balisier House are to be believed, but there are a couple of things old Keithos needs to take into account before he releases his restraints and I thought I would give him some advice before he got around to playing fast and loose with that zipper.
In no particular order:
1) The party's victories are not his own. In fact, many have speculated that the margins are so small despite the size and number of the opposition forces arrayed against the government, the mind boggling campaign spend and the open, biased hostility of certain sectors of the media, one can only assume that he (Keith) is not even seen as the default option. And despite the bragging of four victories, even the under-educated know that were it not for the push back against the government over Section 34 and the impact of the now waning Jack Warner-fueled split in the government support, he may have already been packing up his few remaining possessions to join old Patos in forced retirement.
2) Old Patos. Few men tote like Patos is toting, and were it not for the presence of media cameras on San Fernando hill that fateful afternoon that hug might have ended badly for Keith. He knows and we know that, after the 1986 decimation of the then Williams/Chambers PNM, there were so few diehards left the party could barely convene an all fours match much less a National Council, and but for the sheer obstinate and bullheaded will of his former leader, the party he now leads would be dead. One thing that needs to be noted here, what Patos built out of the ashes of the People's National Movement became, and for the most part still is Patrick's New Movement, and Keith would be wise to move cautiously regardless of what is stirring in his pants.
3) Trinidad does not like him. Not even a little bit. This is why (and I give him credit for recognizing it) he needs the distractions of David Abdullah, Kirk Waithe, Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj and anyone else willing to stand near him so that he could hide in plain sight. On his own in a straight up fight against the United National Congress he would become limp and flaccid in the face of sure defeat, and his worst nightmare scenario must see him standing on the battle field, alone, face to face with Kamla Persad Bissessar.
4) He is hard to sell. The Arab coalition that has divided his testicles between them are only too aware of the size of the mountain a general election with Keith Rowley as leader would be and, despite Rahael, Gabriel and Company's best attempts, they too know that the battle begins and ends in their candidate's shoes. They have learnt the old farmer's tale to be true: that you can put pearls, a dress and lipstick on a pig, and still, in the end all you have is a well dressed pig. Some makeovers don't work, in this case they can't.
Who to look out for: Browne and Browne. Amery Browne has been waiting to play Brutus to Rowley's Caesar since May 24, 2010, and Marianno Browne has been groomed by the Manning-ites to step into old Patos' shoes from when the king retired to be kingmaker.
Who has the most to lose: Faris and Faris. Having bet everything he has, Faris al Rawi may yet lose that bump in his step when he realizes that the horse he bet on cannot go the distance. Unless he can manage to meld into the re-emerging shadow of Patrick Manning, even his incandescently rising star may yet plummet to earth.
No, the truth is Pennelope Beckles is the future of the PNM and everyone in the PNM knows it. What they don't seem to know is how to make it happen. I believe the coming unforced storm is going to decide it once and for all, and since there is only so far bravado can take you if you lack the substance to sustain you, Keith Rowley's turn at bat may be all but out of time.