Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Ferguson warns 'young, bright and disrespectful' hurting PNP

Published:Monday | August 1, 2016 | 8:00 AMErica Virtue
Fenton Ferguson

People's National Party (PNP) Vice-president Dr Fenton Ferguson has charged that a disrespectful campaign to remove some of the stalwarts of the party could do more harm that good.

Ferguson, who will be seeking re-election to the post of PNP vice-president come September, has issued a warning to young Comrades to "cease and desist their disrespectful campaign to remove party stalwarts to make way for the young and bright".

According to Ferguson, there is a "young and bright syndrome" in the PNP that is blowing an ill political wind that is divisive rather than inclusive.

Quoting Benjamin Disraeli, former British prime minister and writer who said the "youth of a nation are the trustees of posterity", Ferguson argued there is tremendous responsibility that comes with youth, but they must display a willingness to serve and a desire to work their way to the top.

"I believe in an apprenticeship system. That system does not mean holding down any youth. If you remember, I had the responsibility for youth between 1995 and 1998. I was the one who brought back the National Youth Service in 1998, and on the instruction of former Prime Minister (PJ) Patterson in 1996, I led the rebuilding of the People's National Party Youth Organisation when we had some difficulties. Therefore, when it comes to youth, I believe in them," said Ferguson.

"But let me tell you what I have a problem with. It's that every young person now is 'young and bright', and this 'young and bright' syndrome means that because you are young and bright, you can disrespect anybody you want, say anything and don't know that the very people who are being disrespected are the ones who fought for the democracy which allows you to speak. It cannot be right that 'young and bright' means young, bright and disrespectful."

 

NOT A PANACEA FOR RENEWAL

 

In sending a message to some in the PNP, he said being young and bright was not a panacea for renewal, and change cannot come with disrespect.

"You can be strident. Make your point, but be respectful, because when someone has given 30 or 40 years in that kind of service, because you are young and bright, it gives you no right to assume any position. Always remember that to have a future, whether in political parties or other institutions, there are governance arrangements. So if you come in, almost in an anarchist way, start cussing everybody and believe that you will be awarded for bravery in politics, that's not how it goes," said Ferguson.

"People don't forget what people say, especially in critical times, and especially in politics. What, how, and when you say is critical, and if you don't remember, your surrogates will. So I say to young people entering politics that they should be mindful, despite the democracy allowed. You cannot cherry-pick something and decide that I want this to happen so I can benefit and everyone else should step aside."

Ferguson, the PNP's longest-serving vice-president, said he believes there is a space for young people in the party.

"Education is not a process for you to walk around with your degree on your forehead. It's preparation for living. Respect is a core value. Some of the brightest people we know cannot keep a job, because they are disrespectful. Because the individual who is their manager may not have the same certification, they believe they can speak to them any way, and anyhow. People will destroy you for that," warned Ferguson.

He said it takes time for persons to rise in an organisation, unless they came in at the top, which was highly unlikely.

Ferguson noted that he served as a parliamentary secretary in 1995 and was minister of state up to 2007, some 12 years. He said during that time he was busy honing skills of political involvement, learning the ropes of several institutions and organisations, and gaining experience.

Ferguson is in a five-person race for the four vice-presidential positions in the PNP.

erica.virtue@gleanerjm.com