Monday, September 17, 2012

Guest commentary: PNM has lost its way

File: Diego Martin residents challenge their MP Keith Rowley to do more for them
A rather interesting email from a longstanding PNM member has given me cause to pause and reflect on that party modus operandi of late and, I must confess, it does appear to have openly abandoned its founding principles: be "a democratic party of men and women of honesty and incorruptibility, of all races, colours, classes and creeds, with a coherent and sensible programme of economic, social and political reform aimed at the development of the community as a whole, dedicated to its service, appealing to the intelligence rather than to the emotions of the electorate whose political education it places in the forefront of its activities."

Rowley, since becoming leader of the PNM and of the Opposition, together with several of his frontline elected MPs and all his Senators (he, exclusively, chose the latter), have been consumed with running here, there and everywhere, in pursuit of every negative they could invent or find about the Kamla-led government.

He has taken particular aim at the star acts of her Cabinet: Warner, Ramlogan, Moonilal and Suruj, while lashing out at Kamla personally, over every inconsequential thing: from her hairdo, her dress, her choice of personal assistant, her religious practices, her long hours of work. 

Like raging bulls, Rowley and his clique have been swinging wildly on everything: from the state of the economy, to the pace of public sector wage negotiations, awards to heroic citizens, ravages wrought by the intensest rainfall in 50 years and, the worst cut of all, the golden anniversary celebration of our Independence from Great Britain. 

Now, Rowley's even talking about bringing down hundreds of thousands to march against the government.

The PNM's behaviour and approach are all rather bewildering, given the humiliation visited upon it by the weight of its own many misdeeds and the present and foreseeable reality that it has, at best, only a very ultra-thin prospect of returning to government any time soon. 

One would think, against such a backdrop, the PNM, under non-Manning leadership, would've by now been well embarked on a course designed to shift it out of the depths of irrelevancy and way from the accustomed PNM path of divide and rule. 

But then, maybe, despite his braggadocio, Rowley is still fighting to gain the respect of his party. 

Even so, his conduct both as PNM and Opposition leader demonstrates a lack of the discipline and conventional wisdom needed to guide him away from the world of bluster and reshape him as someone equipped with the people-friendly skills and moderate outlook required of national leaders in countries aspiring to developed country status. 

Kamla possesses such attributes; it is for that reason her acceptance levels remain certifiably high, while Rowley's fluctuates even within his own party.

If the PNM doesn't quickly begin to show some contrition and substance, its recent and ongoing agitations may very well be interpreted as the involuntary fluttering and twitches normally indicative that fear of an unwelcome fate is present or that death is very near. 

Perhaps the impending Budget debate will be viewed by them as a very good place to start, for, despite the many reservations about the PNM, the fact is, democracy is better served when there are alternatives from which the population may choose.

Given that the PNM has been around for nearly six decades and that, for most of that time, due to division in the anti-PNM camps, it had control of the government, now that all the serious forces arrayed against are formally united under a common banner, for sentimental reasons it seems best to keep it going, since, once the partnership holds, there is no hope of the PNM ever returning to Whitehall again.

On the other hand, the PNM refusal to heed the commendation its founder gave to it in one of his seven lectures as the party was being formed: "that it must do good, not upon a calculation of interest, but in the confidence of freedom and in a frank and fearless spirit" is what led to the PNM bequeathing a sorry record of graft and corruption as detailed in many records of official enquiries, court hearings and our national parliament is a much better reason to have the PNM abide with us awhile. 

Perhaps that is a much better rationale for arresting the PNM's fibrillation.

Semper Veritas (George Augustus-Clarke) |Valsayn North, Trinidad

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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