Saturday, November 24, 2012

Guest Commentary: Drama queens and the highway to Point Fortin

Former PM Basdeo Panday visits Wayne Kublalsingh
The last week has one of intense drama outside the Office of the Hon. Prime Minister. The Highway Re-Route Movement has laid down the gauntlet by commanding their leader Dr Wayne Kublalsingh to sacrifice his health and maybe his life so that they can go down in history as people who stood up for a cause. 

What is not so apparent is whether they are also willing to sacrifice their own health and lives for the very cause.

There is nothing wrong in what Kublalsingh is standing up for. He seems to believe that he is right and that the people support his cause. I am not so sure that he has majority support, given the fact that people who have to move as well as those whose lives are affected by the long delays in getting from Point Fortin to San Fernando, as well as those who see many economic opportunities emerging as a result of the highway, have begun to challenge the re-routers by descending on their camp site in Port Of Spain.

You have to live in Cedros or Point Fortin and experience the pain and stress to get to San Fernando to understand the plight of those who want the Highway built. 

It appears that the plight and wishes of this significant majority are being ignored in the discussion. What is even more unfortunate is the fact that the media is making this a fight between the PM and Kublalsingh. 

In the process, those who are opposed to the government and have verbalized their desire to bring down the government have now descended upon the “carcass “ of Kublalsingh hoping that he will die, thus giving them an opportunity to mount the vicious campaign which they have started with the march related to “Clause 34.” They are the ones “killing” Kublalsingh!

Descending on Kublasingh have been persons who were involved in events to the run up of 1990. Descending upon Kublalsingh are persons who still are suffering from the humiliating defeat in 2010 at the hands of the Prime Minister. 

They are political tabanca driven Basdeo Panday, Keith Rowley and Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj. In addition, MSJ David Abdullah who had an opportunity to make a difference in a government but cannot make the shift to being a positive contributing member of government, caught as he still is along with Roget of OWTU with his leftist philosophy, which has long died with the destruction of the Berlin Wall and the break-up of the Soviet Union. 

Abdullah will always only be comfortable with being in Opposition. He cannot make the transition. I really wonder whether these political corbeaux recognize that they are just that!

It is interesting what hate can do to people. It is hate that is driving these persons who are flocking to Kublalsingh, kissing his hands, rubbing his feet, ringing bells and spitting out water. Oh! What a bunch of drama queens!

Look who are there. Mary King fired for matters over integrity. Verna St Rose fired for non-performance and expressing views that are not in keeping with government’s policy and philosophy. All of these persons have one axe or the other to grind against the government. 

And what have they done? They have chosen to use, abuse and discard Wayne Kublalsingh. What is even more sad is that his mother, father and siblings seem to be enjoying their new found media attention and have forgotten that they have a son and brother to take care of. 

One wonders whether this family knows anything about family love. whether you loike it or not the mother tried to transfer her responsibility to her son and his life to the PM. You cannot do this. This is abdicating parental responsibility.

In the midst of all of this comes a group who are blaming the PM for Kublalsingh’s dilemma. The PM was absolutely right when she said that the family and friends of Kublalsingh must not transfer the responsibility for Kublalsingh’s welfare to the State. 

Kubalsingh made the decision to starve and go thirsty out of his own free will and supported by his close associates. Now if his close associates are interested in keeping him alive, they will do the right thing and give him proper advice. But instead, they are encouraging him to show his ribs and how emaciated he has become. The drama queens are at work! The life of Kublalsingh is on their hands not the hands of the PM and the government.

What are the facts?
  1. Kublalsingh asked for a meeting with the PM in March and she agreed and held the meeting
  2. Kublalsingh asked for a technical review and it was done; he rejected it
  3. Kublalsingh wanted the highway stopped while the technical report was being compiled. The PM acceded
  4. Kublalsingh has rejected everything and has now asked that the highway be stopped once again. Does Kublalsingh understand what is a contract and what are the costs relating to breaking a contract. It will be interesting to know what costs have already been incurred for delays due to the highway, delays caused by the objectors
  5. When it was reported that Dr Kublalsingh’s health was being threatened, the PM sent Dr Fuad Khan the Minister of Health to visit and offer medical assistance. Kublalsingh refused!
  6. He has said, and so too has his brother that he is not desirous of meeting the PM
  7. The only thing they want is that the highway be stopped, this without consideration to the wishes of the majority of people
  8. They have taken no cognizance of public policy and the right of the govt to engage in development as well as to compulsorily acquire property after due consideration and adequate compensation
  9. They have been changing the goal post at every twist and turn
  10. They appear to be well funded in terms of the expensive radio advertising campaign that is being waged
All of the above leads to the inevitable conclusion that this is now a political movement designed to bring down the democratically elected government. This is now a group who do not care whether Port of Spain burns or whether San Fernando is looted. They are a selfish power seeking bunch intent upon the destruction of the country to get power!

In the midst of all of this are the “emotionalists” including another drama queen of sorts Gillian Lucky who is now preaching to the PM about care and compassion. 

What has Gillian Lucky ever done in her life that suggests that she has been a caring and compassionate person. Her job as head of the PCA gives her an opportunity to deal with aggrieved persons. That is her job, far different from one who is able to be a humanitarian. 

Ms Lucky in my view is a publicity seeking individual who cannot exist without lights and camera! Does Ms Lucky who still appears to be striving for political office understands the outcomes of giving in to Kublalsingh? Does she understand what this would mean for the ability of a PM to govern the country in the future. 

No one wants Kublalsingh to die. However, when the interest of the nation is threatened by such demands then the PM must rise with courage and act out of fearlessness. have we forgotten who invented the term independent UNC and moved to the back bench with the support of Dr Fuad Khan .

So where are we on this matter? Should the PM give in to the demands of Kublalsingh? Surely not! 

A PM governs a nation and not a section of a nation. Decisions are made in the national interest. At times this may mean that sectarian interests are displaced. Yes compromises are necessary, but compromises require the collaboration of two parties. In this case, one party does not wish to collaborate. The Kublalsinghs want their way. No compromise. 

To rule in the interest of the nation does not mean that the PM lacks compassion or is heartless as Ms Lucky and other sympathisers seem to say. 

The last thing you can accuse the Pm of is heartlessness. The evidence of a caring and compassionate PM is there for all to see. However a tough and fearless but equal minded PM is also there for all to see. A PM cannot be a wimp, or there will be chaos. The government will not last and there will be a free for all. Indiscipline will set in. 

It is important for the re-routers to ask whether they are being rational, or is that they have been caught up in the glamour game now called environmentalism?

Finally, does Kublalsingh really want to die? By his own admission, a resounding NO! He wants to make a point that the govt does not care and is callous.

He is building political capital. As for the others like Abdullah and Rowley. Well the hypocrisy of Kublalsingh becomes obvious when he begins to associate with Rowley whom he bitterly fought against with respect to the smelter plant in Cedros. The very PNM people who described Kublalsingh in the worst way are now embracing him. What hypocrites, but this is what power seeking does to you. And Abdullah who was jailed by the PNM now also embraces Rowley along with Roget. All for the sake of power and hate for a PM!

The highway is secondary, power is the real driver.

Chandra Harnanan

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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