Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Commentary: Wrong and strong is the PNM way

Last week some supporters of Keith Rowley verbally abused Deputy Commissioner of Police Mervyn Richardson while he was shopping at a supermarket with his wife. 

They were upset about Richardson heading a probe into the email matter that the Opposition Leader raised in Parliament in his recent no confidence motion in the government.

Rowley is yet to condemn that hooliganism, which was the result of his own reckless actions in undermining confidence in the police by saying the police are not fit to undertake the probe and went so far as saying Richardson was the wrong man to conduct the investigation.

So the people took a cue and hounded the policeman while he was carrying out his private business and not bothering anyone. No one deserves that.

But if you think this kind of behaviour is an isolated incident for the PNM you just need to look closely at some recent incidents.

One was the "incident" at Balisier house involving a sitting PNM MP and a PNM councillor. The "incident" that no one in the PNM wants to talk about but everyone acknowledges, involves a lady MP allegedly slapping a male councillor. The councillor and several eye witnesses said it happened in full view of many PNMites. 

Rowley admitted that an "incident" happened and said the PNM is "at its worst" during screening for elections. It's been more than a month and the PNM is still "investigating".

Go back a little further to the aftermath of the 2010 general election and you will find the same level of bad behaviour by Rowley's supporters when they demonstrated the worst behaviour by shouting down Patrick Manning, demanding his immediate resignation and chased their leader out of the party's headquarters.

So it came as no surprise when one of their former MPs - Rennie Dumas - who was found guilty of assaulting a citizen, was suggesting that the magistrate was wrong and he had a right to deal with the man whom he attacked. 

The defence that Dumas offered was that the man was stealing from his family so he give him a good licking, knocking out his teeth.

The magistrate did not buy the argument of protecting property and convicted Dumas of assault. Now he has to pay or go to jail. But instead of accepting the decision and paying his fine the former cabinet minister is suggesting that he was still right to attack his victim. It's a classic case of being wrong and strong.

This is what the state media CNMG quoted Dumas as saying:

"If this judgement is an indicator that people can walk on to your property, assault you and walk away and you are without response, you also have to know what that means," he said.

"I finally would also like to say that I would just like to feel that any reasonable property owner, any reasonable citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, would have defended themselves as I did that morning."

In other words Dumas is saying go ahead and take the law in your own hands, follow the law of the jungle, beat up people, knock their teeth out and it's OK, regardless of what a magistrate ruled. 

But you should not be surprised because the leader of the PNM is a man who tells the whole country the police are not fit to conduct an investigation. And then his supporters bully and intimidate the senior investigating officer and Rowley is silent, perhaps privately saying, "good job!" 

If you remember it was another PNM cabinet minister who called robbery and looting on the Beetham a "routine matter" and nobody should "read anything" into it. His name? Peter Taylor, who the day before, had accused supermarket owners of gouging consumers and asked people to boycott supermarkets. 

So again, a "leader" was inciting people to act against the law so he did not "read anything" in the hooligans who almost beat a truck driver to death and stole the foodstuff from his vehicle. Routine behaviour, Taylor said. 

I know it sounds incredible that people holding cabinet posts would behave in such a manner and make such shocking statements. BUT I AM NOT MAKING THESE THINGS UP. Check the news archives. They really happened.

Commentary: Looting, assualt and robbery a routine affair in TT

But that's the PNM way. Remember Manning himself showing up at a radio station to intimidate two announcers who criticised his budget. And he boasted that he would do it again "if the spirit" moved him.

The PNM is used to sending coded messages to their supporters to behave like "wajangs" and shout down people who down share their views. But they need to understand that shouting does not change what is wrong and make it right.

A friend pointed me to a quotation the other day that might have a message for Rowley and his followers. It is the silent raindrops that make the flowers bloom, not the thunder. 

Hooliganism would not create a better Trinidad and Tobago; understanding, communication and respect for the law and for one another is the first giant step in that direction.

Jai Parasram

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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