Trinidad and Tobago: A Political Tragedy
|Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar|
Occasionally, we at the Mahogany Coconut Think Tank ,have to endure some pain in exposing the truth. Almost five years ago, Mahogany Coconut was formed because of a group of Caribbean thinkers existing in the Diaspora. The group was mainly internet based and comprised a significant number of Trinidadians and other Caribbean islanders. Many of them have returned to Trinidad and Tobago, to make contributions to their wonderful island state, and they remain committed to our cause of truthfully informing the Caribbean and world of events relevant to our development.
The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, has recently celebrated fifty years of independence and nationhood. At the peak of its economic performance, Tand T was generous to its Caribbean neighbors, and is a second home to many Grenadians who have a long history of seeking economic progress in TandT.
Many of our most erudite and creative thinkers, artistes and sportspersons are Trinidadians: Dr. Eric Williams, C.L.R.James, Lloyd Best, Slinger Francisco (Mighty Sparrow), Brian Lara, and V.S.Naipaul are some of the Caribbean’s most illustrious citizens. The Mahogany Coconut Group owes much of its thinking and perspective to these luminaries.
Trinidadians are legendary when it comes to their warmth, hospitality, humor and their natural ability to make a stranger feel at home in seconds. Even in these difficult times the Trinis remain dignified and carry their disappointments with their well acclaimed grace and never ending wit.
Against this background, we are pained to comment on the nefarious political activities of the current government - the so-called coalition- which has been christened the Peoples Partnership. We have given Prime Minister Kamla-Persad-Bissessar, the longest honeymoon to get her act together. The recent attempts to use parliament to interfere with the law known as the Section 34 Affair; her inabilty to free herself from shady Minister of National Security, Mr. Jack Warner; appointing party hacks and admirers to sensitive positions and the inability of her government to reduce crime, paint a failing grade. We are disappointed to say the very least.
On the other hand, we can see no real hope in the main opposition, the Peoples National Movement. Its Current leader, Mr. Keith Rowley, is an opportunist of the highest order. He spent considerable political energy undermining the former Prime Minister, Mr. Patrick Manning. As one who was so vehement in undermining his party’s leadership; he has now inherited a fractured party that shows no signs of mending. Rowley was crippled before he assumed the leadership, and his only way forward is to demonstrate to the public, that he has the leadership qualities necessary, to move the country forward. He is finding that a very tough assignment.
However, the architect of the current state of political malaise that has invaded the country is the former Prime Minister, Mr. Patrick Manning. He was given more chances than any other modern political leader to bring good governance to Trinidad and Tobago. On every occasion, he squandered the opportunity. He along with former Prime Minister Mr. Basdeo Panday have much blood on their hands. Panday came from the trade union movement and his charismatic personality endeared him to the voters. He triumphed, like Manning, on more than one occasion but he like Manning (Hart) jumped in the bed of the rich (Duprey). Corruption will be their collective legacy.
As we watch Trinidad and Tobago sink into a prolonged paralysis of: corruption, crime, political skullduggery, and general malfeance, we can only declare it a political tragedy of monumental proportions. We urge the good people of Trinidad and Tobago, to rescue their democracy. We implore them to continue their vigilance by making all their political and corporate leaders accountable. However, our fervent hope is that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, does not end up ,on the garbage heap of political corruption and broken government. We will not say it is too late but time is running out. If the great ship of Trinidad and Tobago sinks to the bottom of the Caribbean ocean, we will all drown in its aftermath.