With a full slate of candidates already announced by the DLP to contest the next general election, the nation awaits with bated breath those who will line up on UWP tickets across the country. For the folks of the Vieille Case Constituency, several names have surfaced and disappeared almost instantly in recent months as if to suggest that the labour political marksmen are taking a direct hit and kill each time. But to my great surprise, one name continues to resonate and even in hamlets across the constituency where unquestionable allegiance was the order of the day, heads are nodding in approval that this time around, the UWP has eyes on a formidable and charismatic candidate. I have kept my ears to the ground and the echo is reverberating louder and louder. I am baffled as to why the opposition marksmen have not been able to stamp out this name. Were they caught by surprise? Or is it that the old political ammunition is just too outdated? Maybe the cat is too far let out of the bag or the time of change is here. Whatever it is, there is excitement or resentment depending on who you talk with.
Whether true or untrue, Clement Marcellin Jr of Penville is the choicest of the lot. This is Penville’s best chance of having their ‘homeboy’ and a constituency tri-cultural icon who understands and embodies the values and aspirations of the peoples of Penville, Vieille Case and Thibaud wholeheartedly with class and distinction. If in fact Clement agrees to run on any ticket, there is no doubt that he has the principles, youthfulness and zest to bring about the much needed change that these communities so rightfully deserve. The fatigue syndrome of labour has taken a toll and these days a hush has fallen on even the loudest mouthpieces. I guess everyone in the other camp is praying that Clement does not run.
As a boy, Clement was as we say- ‘troublesome’ but he could troubleshoot on almost any problem. Clement carried his troubleshooting skills right through his adolescent and early adult years with an eagerness to fix real life problems not only for himself, but for the community of Penville as a whole. In 2014, Clement earned himself a Bachelor of Science Degree in Technical Management from DeVry University and only two years later, a Master of Science Degree in Project Management from Keller Graduate School. He worked hard as a single parent to care for his daughter, maintain a fulltime job, and study. I continue to admire his determination to succeed. To the best of my knowledge, he understands the principle of hard work and self-sacrifice. Junior as he is commonly called, worked for 14 years as the District Environmental Health Officer (DEHO) for Vieille Case and Portsmouth Health Districts and acted as Senior Environmental Health Officer with responsibility for vector control. In 2019, he left the government service to join the Dominica Cooperative Societies League Ltd as a Business Development Officer. He lectures part time at the Dominica State College but also finds time to run his game shop and to chill out on the block with the guys.
None of these accomplishments qualifies him more than his personality and contributions to community life. If Clement decides to contest the upcoming election, the constituency will for the first time have a ‘many men in one man’ advantage-a father, an educator, a businessman, a community leader, a counselor, an ambassador and some people even say a hero although I would be less inclined to confer this on him but I know eventually, the community will. In fact his shyness for self-admiration is the only hold back for this bestowment. Whether fact or opinion, no one can dispute that he stands tall on values, self-discipline, and love for community.
Clement embodies youth and youthfulness and has a unique way of connecting with seniors. His delicate side comes alive when he interacts with kids and infants. He is always keen to listen, empathize, and offer himself to others. I believe this young man has seen so many unfulfilled dreams lost and the growing unemployment problems within the communities have surely kept him up for long hours at night. I am sure his entry into politics or devotion to public life would be motivated by a desire to create opportunities for all peoples of the community. He once told me casually, “nothing I want to see more than youth employment, the best quality of healthcare for all and the implementation of social programs which empowers all”. It is his love for young people and the time he devotes to talking with them that led to the “big brother” nickname. For those who really know him, he would shy away from praise and admiration. During his tenure as DEHO, Clement went to every house and every home, high or low, rich or poor. He remains a familiar face, though with a spectrum of smiles and emotions to touch to every heart. I am really not sure how he did it. In fact, no one knows, unless of course it’s just naked in your DNA. Clement has the DNA and the natural ability to connect with people.
And to speak of Christian values, let me just say who he is without reservation. Clement was brought up entrenched in Christians values and have not departed from its core principles. He is a man of faith with tolerance for all beliefs and unbeliefs. While everyone may not agree with his Christain philosophy- hardly anyone can question his honesty or love for people and country. And yes, there are things Clement despises: injustice, dishonesty, opportunities for some and not all, suppression of freedom to expression and the lies, deceit and crude dirty politics. Clement hates intimidation with a passion.
Even more outstanding are his contributions to community life. At the tender age of 16, he became the youth leader of his church and subsequently was elected as the Public Relations Officer (PRO) for a community-based youth empowerment group: Penville Ambitious Youth (PAY) which embarked on several community projects. At the age of 21, he became an ambassador for Penville and served with distinction as Area Youth Representative on an adhoc committee of the then Vieille Case Cooperative Credit Union and went on further to serve on the Supervisory Committee and shortly thereafter, voted as the Chairman of that committee. This journey opened new doors and landed him on the Supervisory and Compliance Committee of the National Cooperative Credit Union Ltd for two consecutive terms as chairman. In 2016 he became a director on the B.O.D of the National Cooperative Credit Union Ltd whilst simultaneously serving as the Chairperson of the Credit Committee at the Dominica Cooperative Societies League Ltd. Clement can be many persons in one man- a talent that he so effortlessly personifies!
Clement also presently serves as a Director on the Dominica Cricket Association and as Second Vice president since 2018. He is the founder and president of the Gladiators Cricket Club since 2014. He has represented his community at various sporting tournaments especially cricket. Very dear to his heart is reggae music, drumming, motorsports and a good lime on the block. Clement is a community coordinator in chief.
Even though I have not spoken to Clement myself about his intentions, I think the public has a right to know and vet their candidate. The question of whether he will run or not is just not going away and with every passing day the interest in his candidacy is becoming more a staple at the dinner table than a bedroom discussion. Could there be a blue undercurrent that is moving the tides to his shores? I guess time will tell.
I posed the question to a group of guys on the block and asked- what if what I am hearing is true and Clement Marcellin runs this time around? Without any thought processing, the answer came out clear and simple- “we will embrace our guy” As if not satisfied and wanting to appease my own ego, I pose the same question in Thibaud. “Oui man, monsieur se youn bon boug” which in Standard English means, yes man, this guy is a good man, a clear indication that he already has the Thibaud endorsement. Across Vieille Case, the silence speaks louder than words. There is just uneasiness. Most people do not want to talk about it- either because they are ideologically loyal or they are just too unsettled and afraid to think of the prospects of real change. Right now the ball is in Clement’s court- whether he decides to dribble it around, kick it off field, or take a direct hit at the goal post, is a decision he has to make now and fast.
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