Sep 04, 2017 Letters
Concerning this larger issue, Mike Persaud’s and others’ unfortunate dismissal of the pioneering efforts (e.g., Kaieteur News 8/28/17), of “previous Guyanese-born candidates Trevor Rupnarain, Dr Taj Rajkumar, Dr Dhanpaul Narine, Attorney Albert Baldeo, Dr Robby Mahadeo they have all failed. Richard David, in my opinion, is the most qualified,” is symptomatic of the egotistical, myopic and judgmental armchair mentality of delusional and hypocritical West Indians living in the overseas diaspora. https://www. kaieteurnewsonline.com/2017/ 08/28/richard-david-for-city- council-ny-city/
It costs time, money and sacrifice to put one’s name and reputation to scrutiny in the treacherous reality of politics-blood, sweat and tears. Each of these candidates Persaud diminishes deserve the thanks and appreciation of even the meanest person, because they tried to change the status quo of moving Guyanese, West Indians and other immigrants in the US from second class citizens upwards.
All except Dr. Dhanpaul Narine and Dr. Robby Mahadeo, who split their votes 3 ways in the 2005 election by declaring their candidacies after Albert Baldeo had declared his, thereby ensuring that the incumbent, absentee Councilman Tom White was re-elected. Baldeo lost only because they siphoned votes unnecessarily from him, and the fact that they did not run again after that confirms the sad reality and “crab mentality” that they only ran to spoil their community’s best chances.
Instead, David should seek the endorsements and positives of these candidates to coalesce and unify the Caribbean votes around him. Having the endorsement of the shrewd Republican Councilman Eric Ulrich is a start, but is more of a strategic tactic that benefits Ulrich more in his future quest for higher office. Ulrich’s Republicans cannot vote for anyone in a Democratic primary.
Mike Persaud, and others, must also realize that one swallow does not make a summer. He, and all the other so called political experts must do much more than the isolated campaign task. They must do the work! Albert Baldeo was the first to launch professional and spirited campaigns, and spent a small fortune in securing a near victory in the larger State Senate elections in 2006, when his announced victory on NY 1 was rolled back to a “narrow defeat” of 500 votes in his groundbreaking fight against a 30 year old incumbent Serf Maltese-the then Chair of the Queens Republican Party. Ironically, Baldeo was targeted as “too independent and maverick” to fit in to the Old Boys political club, and he was hounded out of office.
In contrast to the City Council election where candidates benefit from matching funds, Baldeo’s Senate and Assembly races were mostly self-financed. In a community where the diaspora are selfish and hardly give any meaningful contributions or efforts to their own, and support their duck curry festivals, material pursuits, lavish parties and Guyanese politics where they do not have any stake, more than a more meaningful cause like political empowerment, Baldeo’s election efforts are unprecedented and groundbreaking. To this day, the disapora regrets that 500 of them did not make the 5 minute gratuitous walk to the polls in 2006 to cast that vote for Baldeo which would have given them a seat at the table of government and ensure that their voices and needs were met. Unlike all other groups, including Haiti, Ecuador and others, they still languish without a voice.
Richard David must take counsel and precedent from Baldeo, Rajkumar, Rupnarain and other former candidates who have institutional knowledge and experience of local politics and campaigns, and still have a large following in New York. He also has to explain why he failed to help the same community he now seeks to assist, when, in his previous 10 years in 3 influential government agencies-the Chief of Staff of the much criticized ACS, former Vice President of the politically controlled NYC Economic Development Corporation, and others, where he managed over $1.2 billion worth of funding in neighborhoods across NYC, he failed to bring any benefits or changes to his own. He must credibly explain why, for 10 years, he refused, neglected and or refused to assist the very constituents he now claims he wants to help.
Again, David’s claim to a honesty and integrity is severely undermined by his brash claim of largesse that he voluntarily resigned his city jobs to empower his community, a disingenuous claim considering that anyone in his position must resign their government employment before running for or taking up elected office in accordance with City law ethics, conflict of interest laws and the Hatch Act. The truth is that, should David lose-God forbid, he will return to his executive position within the City agencies without any loss in wages, position, portfolio and benefits.
His position as President of the Indo-Caribbean Alliance, which failed to attract any support within the mainstream Indo-Caribbean diaspora apart from a few youths, is also at severe odds with his claim that “he is the only candidate in the race that can represent both sides of the Van Wyck Expressway,” especially given the fact that only 25% of the diverse district consists of Indo-Caribbeans. His claim to represent such a generic group of people in the first place was transparently misconceived in the first place. He must confront these issues of public importance with sincere answers.
However, David still has the best opportunity to win the seat, because he is the only Indo-Caribbean or Caribbean candidate on the ballot, hence he will not have the hurdles the ethnic candidates of Harpreet Singh Toor, Narine and Mahadeo caused in previous elections, which resulted in Baldeo’s and the community’s loss. He must reach out to and secure the endorsement of Albert Baldeo, the only person to be elected District Leader in the community, one who fought and defeated institutional barriers and put the diaspora on the political and economic map with 80% of the same votes David now seeks.
SE Queens Leadership Alliance
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