Thursday, July 25, 2013

Political commentary - Jack Warner's Calcutta Ship? - by Ashvani Mahabir

Ashvani Mahabir
Several months ago, immediately following the Tobago House of Assembly elections, Mr. Jack Warner in his capacity as Chairman of the UNC proffered a Statement on the outcome of the poll which had leaned towards one political party. 

Warner articulated then, that Tobagonians had voted on the basis of "tribal instincts" and the fear of the "Calcutta ship" described by PNM candidate Hilton Sandy. Warner was recorded as saying that the PNM resorted to the “tactic of instilling fear that some other group will take away the little they had and the tribal instincts did the rest.”

That was the Jack Warner who had sought to vociferously object to election tactics founded on ethnicity, race and xenophobia. Enter the new Jack Warner, self appointed leader of a political organization that thrives upon “bombshells”, “tsunamis” and “mother of all meetings” and which seemingly ushers new definition to the ILP as the “I Love Propaganda movement”. By a twist of fate, it now appears that Warner himself has resorted to appealing to the emotional instincts of Chaguanas West by subliminal marketing of the race card.

In the first instance Warner seeks the embrace of the largely indo-Trinidadian Constituency by portraying himself as the wounded UNC soldier scarred by an Indian “cabal” within the People’s Partnership. 

His campaign begs for pity for the “outsider” who did so much to build the UNC and now to receive the political dagger. Warner is deafeningly silent though in articulating at what point in time he made discovery of the existence of the cabal. He shuns any enunciation as to why he had embraced the “cabal” for two and a half years. He fails to educate his listener as to whether he too was once perceived as being part of a “cabal”.
The composition of Warner’s platform too, leaves no doubt as to the subliminal appeal to ethnicity and race. His panel of speakers, all of Indian decent are all glorifying the ‘wounded soldier from outside’ and all calling for compassion on his behalf. 

In fact one speaker on his platform constantly refers to “tribal politics of the UNC”. How Warner and his admirers remained conspicuously silent over the years on this “tribalism” remains a mystery that may have stood even beyond the grasp of Sherlock Holmes. 

This is the very Jack Warner who in November of 2012 had defended the integrity of the Prime Minister and her Cabinet by insisting that only Trinidadians of African descent had participated in an anti-government (section 34) demonstration. Was there any UNC tribalism when Warner was a senior member of the Cabinet? 

It is also a political paradox to vilify the “cabal and the tribalism” with one breath and then with the other to ask to rejoin the Partnership after the election. Would the cabalism and tribalism disappear after the poll Mr. Warner? The proclivity towards “out of time” and “after the fact” insinuations has become a hallmark of Warner’s campaign effort.

Warner has issued an apology for a Guyanese speaker on his platform who on Tuesday night made all viewers and listeners to his public meeting turn green with shock and horror. Never before had a political audience had the misfortune to digest the most abhorrent and repugnant racist diatribe and invective against our people and nation. Like the PNM’s “Calcutta Ship”, the apology comes after the damage has been done.

In football, players who display a penchant towards indiscipline are shown the red card which signifies expulsion from the game. The I Love Propaganda campaign is deserving of political expulsion. It would not be surprising that on July 29th Jack Warner receives the Red Card from Chaguanas West.

Ashvani Mahabir | 

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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