Is Cassius Stuart still credible?
Cassius Stuart spent much of the last decade raging against the political order as the leader of the Bahamas Democratic Movement(BDM). The BDM argued that the Progressive Liberal Party(PLP)and the Free National Movement(FNM)were not good enough for The Bahamas.
Stuart and the BDM–a fringe party–were never successful building up the clout necessary to challenge for a seat in the House of Assembly.
So after a decade trying, Stuart and the BDM have gone to the FNM.
Can you blame them?At the February 2010 Elizabeth by-election, Stuart, a’party’leader, was not even able to secure enough votes to get back his election deposit. That was clearly a sign that the BDM had gone nowhere.
We think third parties should dedicate the time necessary to build the brand. Stuart and the BDM did this and, over time, there was no meaningful connection between the organization and the people.
It is expected that at least Stuart–out of the BDM executives who joined the FNM–will be named an FNM candidate at the next general election.
His decision, and that of the other BDM members, was pragmatic. It merely demonstrates what all should know: Politics is not about ideals, but about power. To achieve the goal of being able to exercise power, the BDM realized that it needed to join one of the mainstream parties.
The BDM members should not be criticized for losing the childlike idealism they had. In fact, they should be commended for offering themselves as candidates over the years rather than merely complaining about the state of the country from the sidelines.
Stuart’s decision demonstrates that he has the sense to know when a lost cause should be abandoned.
“Today, the same message that guided us in the wilderness over this past decade is the message that has been embraced by the Free National Movement–a message we believe will touch the lives of every man, woman and child in our archipelago,”said Stuart last week when he was welcomed to the party at FNM headquarters.
Dr. Andre Rollins did the same thing. He abandoned the fledgling National Development Party(NDP)and is now a candidate for the PLP in a winnable seat(Ft. Charlotte).
What young politicians must learn is that they should not let youthful zeal lead them to make statements in the public sphere they will later regret when powerful political leaders offer them’things’and they then abandoned all they once claimed to believe and support.
Stuart and Dr. Rollins are now in the mainstream. They both will now likely have good chances at winning a seat at the election. The things they said about the FNM and PLP in the past were merely words aimed at a goal. They now have what they wanted. The words and deeds worked.