Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Commentary: Rattlesnakes bite because it's in their nature

There is a story that I heard back home in Canada about a First Nations person rescuing an injured rattlesnake, nursing it back to health and then letting it go in the wild. Sometime later the same serpent bit the man, who asked in amazement, "Why did you bite me, after all that I did for you?"

The snake replied, "It's what rattlesnakes do. Your kindness is of no significance; we rattlesnakes are supposed to bite people."

The story came to mind when I learned that David Abdulah was marching with Keith Rowley on Tuesday.
Express photo show David Abdullah and Vincent Cabrera with Keith Rowley
Abdulah leads the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) which had a seat the policy making table to represent the interests of labour. However his colleagues in labour, most notably Ancel Roget, the head of the Oilfield Workers' Trade Union (OWTU), duped Abdulah into walking away from government.

All along Abdulah was saying it was for the good of labour, that he was interested in advancing the cause of the working class and that the MSJ would be an independent labour party. 

But there he was on Tuesday abandoning his independence, betraying his membership and making a political commitment without their consent. What he was in fact doing, was showing his true nature, like the rattlesnake.

The temptation was too much; he had to show his political allegiance. As a member of the Oilfield Workers' Trade Union (OWTU) Abdulah is committed through collective responsibility to toe the union's line. And that line has always been clear. 

Roget never misses an opportunity to remind the nation that his mission is to bring down the government. Take that to its natural conclusion and you'll see that Abdulah's mission is the same, even if the MSJ believes otherwise. 

You will hear him defend his position and claim that his presence in the PNM crowd was not politically motivated, that he was there against injustice and a breach of the rules by the governing coalition. But that won't wash because people are not easily fooled these days. 

What is it that Rowley was doing? Why did he bring out his party faithful to wave the national flag and make the trek to President's House? 

It was to deliver a useless piece of paper that 25,000 people signed asking the President to:
  • demand an explanation from the Prime Minister as to the reasons for the decision of the Cabinet...and
  • request from the Prime Minister a written demand to revoke the appointments of the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General immediately
Rowley knows - or he should know - that the president has no such constitutional authority. The president cannot make such demands of the Prime Minister and has no jurisdiction when it comes to appointments to the cabinet; that is the domain of the prime minister alone.

So Abdulah cannot pretend that he was doing the principled thing and marching  for some noble cause. He was doing exactly what Rowley was doing: trying to show political strength and get some valuable face time in the media. 

In so doing he became undressed and exposed himself as a PNM sympathiser and a political opportunist determined to use any means - fair or foul - to bring down a government that he himself praised only a few months ago. However you look at it, he has betrayed the MSJ membership, many of whom have no love for the PNM and its anti-labour policies.

I used to think that Abdulah really cared for the working class but there is no longer any doubt. Rattlesnakes bite people because it's in their nature.

Jai Parasram | 19 September 2012

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai