Saturday, October 20, 2012

Letter: Rowley's failure and the PNM's irrelevance

Ambassador Hotel Declaration.

1. Oddly, the evening prime time newscasts of October 18th 2012 did not begin with what is perhaps the most significant event since Kamla Persad-Bissessar led her partnership team to a resounding victory over the People’s National Movement (PNM) on May 24th 2010: communication that the PNM is no longer controlled by persons of reason, meaning: the PNM has abandoned the rules of democracy, dignity and decorum in the pursuit of its objective to regain ruling office.

2. Approximately eight minutes into the broadcast, the anchor announced there was a meeting of several political organizations and pressure groups, at the Ambassador Hotel, Port of Spain, all of which, with varying intensity, are opposed to the People’s Partnership administration (PPA) and which, during the meeting, decided they must formally be wedded to accomplish their objective of aborting the PPG’s five-year term.

3. The PNM was the only aggregation attending which, prior to, during and since, the meeting, had and or has national appeal of meretricious mention: the others were a hodgepodge of entities and or personalities that, up to 2010, the PNM would never allow to come anywhere close to it, except to exterminate afterwards, à la Manning-meeting-with-gang-leaders-at-Crowne-Plaza-and-Whitehall. So, the following need to be wary…not right now…the day the PNM returns to office:

a. Country First,
b. Trinidad and Tobago Democratic National Assembly,
c. Trinidad Youth Council,
e. Sou Sou Lands,
f. Jericho Project,
g. NUFF (National Union of Freedom Fighters),
h. “members of the Joint Trade Union Movement”,
i. Movement for Social Justice,
j. People United Respecting the Environment (PURE),
k. “Section 34 Group”.

4. Questions need to be asked (and plausible explanations given) as to what could have prompted the PNM to make such a monumental realignment or shift aware from moderation and self-reliance; after all, since it was formed, the PNM’s motto, behaviour and track record conjoin to confirm the PNM needs no partners in pursuing or accomplishing its political agenda…indeed, the PNM’s policy has always been the exact opposite: divide and rule.

5. In the runup to its birth, the man traditionally accorded the title of founder of the PNM (Dr Eric E. Williams) went to great lengths to distance both himself and “his baby” from politicians whom the then establishment had long deemed or come to regard as demagogues or of nuisance value: neither Tubal Uriah “Buzz” Butler nor Albert “Bertie” Gomes, nor Adrian Cola Rienzi (the three colossi whose individual and collective resolute struggles before and after World War Two are what made Trinidad and Tobago a democracy), nor Bhadase Sagan Maraj …furthermore, when the PNM did eventually capture the lion’s share of the elected seats in 1956, rather than seeking to partner with the trio to give our nation its first truly popularly-elected government, the PNM instead “negotiated with Massa” to keep them from exerting any influence on the fledging PNM (they certainly would have, given the preponderance of their negotiating skills and popularity).

6. One cannot forget that, in putting together his party, Dr Eric E. Williams craftily invited several luminaries with whom the colonial powers had no qualms to join him: C. L. R. James, Learie Constantine, Isabel Teshea, Elton Richardson, Eustace Piggott, Donald Granado. He did so to gain a foothold in the Afro-Trinbagonians communities with which these personalities had long been associated. However, his eventual treatment of such outstanding individuals, once he got into power, confirmed he had merely used them as pawns to accomplish what still remains the PNM’s main focus: winning elections, no matter the cost to the country.

7. Despite his already-established prowess as a historian (particularly Caribbean history), Dr Williams moulded his PNM along lines which history records are more suitable for mono-ethnic, mono-cultural societies: Dr Williams, despite his eloquent rhetoric, sought out and cultivated his political base among Afro-Trinbagonians. 

His viewpoint of my Indo-Trinbagonian brothers and sisters was that they comprised a recalcitrant minority who had received their education in cowsheds and lagoons. Hence, from the outset, the PNM, despite its cleverly-stated principles, never sought or appealed to nearly half of Trinidad and Tobago’s population: it set about and maintained policies and practices that utterly discredited, disdained and distanced every Indo-Trinbagonian (particularly those who happened to be Hindus), even if the Indo-Trinbagonian had been a foundation member of the PNM. Furthermore, under Dr Williams, the lot of the Afro-Trinbagonian themselves regressed rather than progressed, despite the PNM being the juggernaut in control of the government.

8. By the mid-1960s, the rumblings within the PNM’s traditional base began to bubble over and lessen the enthusiasm Afro-Trinbagonians held for the PNM. Trinbago went through a period of industrial unrest and turmoil which led to the PNM declaring a State of Emergency and hurriedly passing the Industrialisation Stabilisation Act. These reactions served merely to incite the brooding disillusionment which eventually exploded in late 1969 as the Black Power Riots.

9. A prominent aspect of the Black Power struggle was that the PNM used military might to prevent the Indo-Trinbagonians and Afro-Trinbagonians to unite. The PNM of today is continuing in the same vein, for, unwittingly or not, by the words and actions of the current PNM leaders, it is sending a loud and clear message that Indo-Trinbagonians (and Hindus in particular) cannot help but being corrupt, untrustworthy and unfit to hold the reins of government. In other words, the PNM is reconfirming (and reminding the wider public) that it is an inveterate gathering of bigots.

10. To persons who properly understand the PNM psyche therefore, the primetime announcement of the November 2nd 2012 march comes as no surprise. In fact, apart from stating the obvious, the news does two things:

a. it forecasts the PNM has already conceded its upcoming Motion of Censure against the Honourable Attorney-General (and, by extension, the stewardship of the Most Honourable Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar) is doomed to fail. 

In other words, that, at best, it’s frivolous, vexatious, without merit and a waste of precious parliamentary time and resources, akin to what the likes of Messrs Ferguson and Galbaransingh have been doing, under the PNM’s watch, to delay commencement of their trials. (To his eternal credit, the Honourable Attorney General acted expeditiously to defang certain unwelcome consequences after then Justice Minister, Herbert Volney, had made the entire Cabinet a cat’s paw regarding Section 34. In matters such as those, analogies from the cricketing world invariably are invoked: the Honourable Attorney-General, positioned behind the wicket, sprang sideways, forward and downward, like a primed panther, to pull off a breathtaking one-handed catch mere centimetres from the turf, after the first slip deliberately fumbled a dolly.);

b. it signals the PNM has a mortal fear of the political savvy and resilience of a man who, like Michael Jackson was, is an institution by himself, thus devoid of any ambition other than to spend the rest of his earthly days giving back to the land which nurtured him, not, like the PNM, to milk it for what, down to its seventh generation, it’s worth.

11. Having again perused the Trinidad and Tobago Constitution, I am yet to be convinced what right or role a Leader of The Opposition has in determining who comprises the Cabinet of Trinidad and Tobago. In undertaking such constitutional review, I remained ever mindful that the document I was reading was the one the PNM itself, singlehandedly crafted, after it totally rejected what the overwhelming majority of the population wanted: proportional government, as articulated by the Sir Hugh Wooding Constitution Commission Report.

12. My conviction, as just stated, is reinforced by the fact that, unlike every PNM administration (except that of George Michael Chambers), the present administration is headed by a Prime Minister who understands the old PNM ways are what have prevented the blossoming and harvest expected of a country overabundantly blessed and fortunate as Trinbago is and has been. 

I hold no brief for anyone, but, dispassionate evaluation does inform me that the incumbent Prime Minister has deliberately, steadfastly and compassionately crafted her governing methodologies to make Trinbago become what The Good Lord created it to be: a beautiful harmony of human and natural resources.

13. If anything, because of such painstaking, the Most Honourable Kamla Persad-Bissessar has been under tremendous pressure from even within her own party, because such a policy unavoidably means the PNM voice and presence (as a shaper of official policy has not been derided or stifled), notwithstanding the PNM’s sinful and or selfish past.

14. In light of the above, only one conclusion may be drawn: the elevation of Dr Keith Rowley is the most retrograde step the PNM has ever made since the exit of George Michael Chambers, for, prior to Dr Rowley being crowned the PNM’s standard bearer, Parliament itself and his own party had labelled him an unrepentant bully (in local parlance “wajang”).

15. It ought to surprise none, therefore, as to the rough and tumble course the PNM presently follows. As times unfurls this bully too shall meet his Waterloo. Just for the record, in Trinidad and Tobago, Waterloo is the heartland of non-PNM territory.

16. Magnum est PNM et prevalebit (Great is the PNM and it shall prevail!). However, biographically, politically, economically, democratically, the PNM of today is not what the demographics of 21st-century Trinbago requires…in fact, the PNM never was.

Jayerson Skinner, (Cellphone: 868-756-7532)
Sixth Street |
Five Rivers, Arouca.

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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