Sunday, June 16, 2013

Candles in the dark - the Peter O'Connor commentary

Our failure to develop as a nation and as a society must, for the first several years following Independence, rest solely with our governments. 

And because they were the sole government for our first thirty four years of nationhood, the PNM must carry the responsibility for our pathetic performance. As time moved on following the 1986 elections, the blame shifts progressively away from the governments of the day, and into the laps of we the people, and the institutions we purport to acknowledge.

And this shift in the responsibility away from our governments is not intended to suggest that there has ever been, or is now, any improvement in their performance or governance on our behalf. Indeed, given that we should be maturing as a nation and society, I suggest that we are comparatively worse off than ever before. So, if our pathetic politicians are being relieved of the blame for our failings, who should be saddled this responsibility?

Clearly we must accept that it is us, the individuals, organizations and institutions, who have continued to abdicate our responsibility as citizens, by repeatedly electing the governments which continue to abuse us. 

It is time to accept our collective responsibility for the corruption, nepotism, cronyism, incompetence and ineffectiveness of the governments which we have put into power, time after time, with the exception being when Robinson immorally “appointed” the PNM as government in December 2001. 

That aberration notwithstanding, nothing would have changed, the deposed UNC would have continued with their governance of “we turn now” and “politics has a morality of its own”, had they not been deposed on the altar of Robinson’s concept of morality.

But of course we should all remember that incident was the final sting in the battle between scorpion and centipede which began with the breakup of the NAR in 1987. 

The matter festered until the election of 1995 where the results were PNM-17, UNC-17, NAR-2. Robinson joined Panday to form the government, and not surprisingly was appointed President shortly thereafter. I will not comment here on how that was arranged, people draw their own conclusions. 

Having “kicked Robinson upstairs”, Panday ignored Robinson until the 2001 election, where the results were PNM-18, UNC-18. A vengeful Robinson, evoking a morality he had not demonstrated while he was organizing his accession to the presidency, declared that the PNM (which had received less votes than the incumbent UNC), should govern us on the grounds of decency and morality.

And we, the people accepted that without a murmur! And we were then governed by that “morality” from 2002 until 2010, when we awoke briefly to replace them with a reincarnate UNC in partnership with UNC castoffs and an alphabet soup of political pretenders.

I give you this brief re-run of recent political history to remind you that our condition is not their fault. We cannot blame the politicians whom we continue to support at election times even as we know for certain that they are incapable of governing us justly, competently and effectively.

And it is blame, and blame alone, in which we indulge in terms of our attitude and commentaries regarding these people whom we feted and adored around election time. And of course the blame is justified. 

But it is never tempered with guidance or the development of options which might have improved their performance and our lives. In the latter years of Manning’s PNM nearly all of the media reports and commentaries were clearly condemning the PNM, and rightly so. 

But the supporters of the Peoples’ Partnership—a dwindling group still clutching at straws as they sink in the quicksand of corruption and nepotism—will argue that we never condemned the PNM. In desperate times, memories are conveniently shortened. It is we, the commentators who largely put the PP in power, and we are in a position to put someone else in power now!

The problem is there is no one left to put. But while we still have no clue as to whom we might find to lead us away from this state, at least we are once again awakening to the fact that we must. 

While the majority of the news and the commentaries still rankle and rant with hostility and blame, we are seeing a growing realization that we cannot continue by simply shouting at ourselves—as we have been doing. 

And the hope is glowing faintly in the darkness. The commentaries are moving from the blame phase into the realization that we must light our candles and search for our solutions. 

Whether this light will guide our institutions—corporate, labour, the noveau wealthy entrepreneurial class, the media and the churches to forsake their place at the trough and work for the nation’s future, remains to be seen.

But at least the candles are glowing.

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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