In Antigua, that period leading up to a general election is termed “the silly season”. Some might posit that we’ve been entrenched in this season since the last election almost five years ago, but it might be longer than that, since the losing party went into campaign mode the day after the majority of the electorate dismissed them – nine years ago – and like a runner poised at the starting blocks, they have remained there ever since.
All of us who live in the Caribbean know that while there is a leader in the form of a premier or a prime minister, he or she comes as a package deal, because the leader has a set of people who come with him or her, and once in, so are twelve or so other people whom you may not necessarily like.
And although there may be some casualties (assuming no landslide victory for the winning party), those candidates who don’t win aren’t normally left out in the cold – only the voters are.
With the elections due to take place within the next two or three months, the first round of the season is under crank.
So why is it called the silly season?
Probably because one political party promises jobs aplenty but won’t tell you how. They’re claiming that they aren’t telling, because they don’t want the other side to huff their ideas, but that’s just silly, because it makes one suspect that they really haven’t got a clue.
Because one party blames the other entirely for the island’s poor economic situation, which is silly because it’s something that not even developed countries were able to avoid.
Because one party not only wants you to believe that as soon as they’re elected that investors will start swooping in, but that they’re the only ones the investors want to do business with. Now that’s not only silly – it’s a little fishy too.
Because the winning party wants more time to finish the work you already gave them enough time to do. Which is silly, because in the real world, that’s called failing your performance evaluation, and admitting to your failings is the mature thing to do.
Because one of the parties, mindful of the fact that some of their candidates are facing lawsuits stemming from their last go-round in government, still retain them on the ticket, and it seems silly that they would think that all they need to do to restore the voter’s confidence is to rebrand the party by simply adding one letter to its name.
Third parties generally don’t do well in Caribbean politics, so the voters are left to choose between a rock and a hard place. But I don’t fault others for trying.
A breakaway from one of the major parties is seeking to contest the upcoming polls, but besides the fact that some have questioned his mental capabilities, it’s kind of silly of him to think that the voters will believe that his heart is really in it, since the only difference he could muster up was to add the word “new” to the old name.
And another new “party” has recently emerged. This party’s leader said that the people in his industry aren’t being represented by the government. It’s silly of him to think that other voters aren’t going to tell him that his complaint isn’t exactly a new one, and that he should probably get in line – behind the rest of us. Because in the absence of lobby groups, I’m afraid that the only thing he accomplished was to be the subject of a headline – for one day.
But you know what the silliest part is? That some of us will actually buy what they’re all trying to sell us.