Sunday, October 28, 2012

Half a loaf - the Peter O'Connor commentary

We must wonder at the riotous behavior everywhere in our society these days. From the streets of East Dry River, to Guapo in the deep south, to the shouting and character assassination in parliament and the senate, and finally, among our top luminaries of the legal profession, in their publicized letters of insult. 

What are we doing to ourselves in this land? What is the purpose of all of this rage, much of it being fanned by people who pull back into their shells (as before) when the flames begin destroy our city again, and the blood flows more copiously in our streets?

Having been given nothing at all by their PNM patrons for 56 years, the people of Laventille are angrily cursing, burning and blocking the streets because they have been offered half a loaf now. 

In a way, and if I believed that the protests were truly spontaneous, I would sympathize with these citizens. They were led to believe that it might be more than a half-day work for $69.00. Even if, as was desperately being suggested, it is, by the hour significantly higher than the minimum wage, it still is, at the end of the day, or half day, just $69.00. And that, in today’s world, is really very little in terms of purchasing power.

So, once again we see a poorly thought-out initiative about to blow up in the faces of the government, and being exploited by everyone with an axe to grind, and many who have neither axe nor opinion, but who just like to shout. 

The difference between this government, and the PNM which preceded it, is that this government at least takes initiatives, tries different approaches, and therefore creates “missteps”, and even failures which could never have occurred under the PNM. 

And the reason such initiatives never failed under the PNM is obvious: they were no initiatives! They never even offered a half a loaf. They handed out a t-shirt and a balisier frond, and the poor, abused people came out and hypnotically waved and wined.

Now there are three possible motives for this anger suddenly being vented in the streets of Laventille.

The first is that the rage is spontaneous and from the hearts and heads of the people who have realized that half a loaf is not what they were expecting. If this is the case, then the government needs to listen to the voices, because something is not sounding right in this offer.

The other two reasons being suggested for the rioting are more sinister.

The second possibility is that the PNM, desperate to keep the PP out of their suppressed colony, are stirring the trouble and even paying people to keep the fires raging. This is neither new nor unexpected. The PNM has watched with considerable alarm, the inroads made, particularly against violent crime, in Laventille. 

Before the details of this current employment initiative were made public, the PNM was condemning it, and their concerns were not for Laventille (how could they have been? They have never had that concern) but for the potential of actually losing their control over Laventille and seeing the communities actually begin to thrive. 

Having now been handed the additional ammunition of the $69.00 half a loaf, the PNM is raging more virulently than ever, hoping to increase the level of disturbance.

The third possible motive behind the riots is that the PP government is causing them, so that they can declare a State of Emergency and deny Rowley the 100,000 marchers he is supposedly mobilizing for November 2nd. Hmmm…. ? Well I did see this posted as an item for discussion, so I include it here, and accept it as a possibility, but not in my mind as very likely.

It would seem to me that the disturbances began out of genuine disappointment with the compensation offered, but are being fanned by PNM interests, but I am admittedly not on the ground in east POS. 

This is, after all, an opportunity for the PNM to once again pretend that they have an interest—other than retaining their seats there—in the welfare of Laventille. And we all know that they do not, and indeed, never had. 

How else could Laventille have remained so depressed, so outcast from society for all of these years, except to acknowledge that the PNM has kept them so for all these years.

The hypocrisy of the PNM can only be matched by the ongoing mistakes of the government. And we all wish that both sides, and indeed others in society would begin to accept some responsibility for governing our country instead of pointing fingers everywhere. How can any of us hope to get more than half a loaf of governance out of the choices before us?

No comments:

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