Sunday, December 23, 2012

What needs to be done - the Peter O'Connor commentary

As we approach Christmas Day, we should be celebrating, and no doubt many of us are, but, as usual in that unconscious “join the fete for the holidays frenzy” that absorbs so many of us as we reel through Old Year’s and wine down the road to Carnival. 

We are not taking stock of where we are as a society and how we can prevent a local end of the world scenario from overwhelming us in the coming year. And make no mistake---we are not far from that scenario. 

We have not been honest with ourselves, and this condition has existed for several years. As we lurch from one crisis to another, our temporary salvations have been the next oil or gas discovery or an election where we delude ourselves into believing that the incoming will save us from—not the outgoing, but from ourselves. 

But these are not solving our core and chronic problems. No oil find, no political candidate or party anywhere in our world, will save us. Like it or not, we have to find the means to do so ourselves. And we can only begin that salvation by going back to where all of this rot really started, for make no mistake, even Section 34 is tied to the 1990 coup attempt.

I want President Max Richards and PNM Leader Keith Rowley to explain their role in this Section 34 fiasco. 

We already know the government’s role—they organized their business to ensure that the Piarco duo would not be extradited to the USA or tried locally. When the AG told us that the duo were wealthy enough to hold our Justice system at bay, we should have read between the lines, but we did not. 

So the government stealthily organized the proclamation of one Section of a voluminous Bill into law, and pretended that it was a misunderstanding.

But the President signed that Proclamation. And he asked no questions about it? Well, not then! But now, on the urgings of Keith Rowley, whose Party voted to pass this law the President is asking “Wha’ happen?” 

I concur fully with the opinion of Reginald Dumas that the President had a duty to query this matter when it was presented to him for signing.

Section 34 was not only passed for the Piarco duo, but for those who appeared before the UdecoTT, CLICO and HCU Commissions, and for those still to appear before the July 1990 Commission. Make no mistake about understanding the ties that bind the rich and the powerful together in this country, regardless of political affiliation.

But the questions I want answered—and I have asked these already—are the questions surrounding July 1990. July 1990 remains the source of all the major crime, treachery and betrayal in our society. And we all know that. 

We know that the poison in the belly of our society remains there but we are afraid to take the medicine to cleanse ourselves. It is my belief that Sir David Simmons will administer that much needed purge. 

So I await the arrival at the hearings of—not Abu Bakr, who will just give us some incoherent ranting—but of Patrick Manning and Basdeo Panday, who both conveniently absented themselves from the afternoon session of parliament on that day. 

Not only that, but they never showed one iota of concern for their country, the murders and destruction being wrought, and to this day have never condemned the atrocity which was foisted upon our democracy. They must answer for this, and explain their positions taken then, and maintained until now.

And I expect the answers to come out of Sir David Simmons questions to these two men, political leaders who have both since claimed their fearlessness in other trivial matters, as to why they did nothing and said nothing to try and save our country in its darkest hour. 

And when Sir David explains to us his bewilderment that we actually went on and elected each of these men to lead our country, then we will taste the bitterness of the medicine we have shunned for so long.

One day, Trinidad and Tobago, we will understand that the deepest scars on our national psyche come not from the corruptions of O’Halloran and others, or out of Piarco, Udecott, CLICO, HCU or FIFA, but from our electing men who supported and socialized with the leaders of a bloody coup attempt. When we understand our own role in embracing that and them, we can begin to recover and find our sense of nationhood again.

You may not like to accept this position, especially just before Christmas. But if we take this medicine early in 2013, maybe we will feel better by next Christmas. And that is my Christmas wish!

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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