Monday, September 16, 2013

Commentary: Trevor Sudama shows his PNM colours

Newspaper headline from 2000 - Ramesh Maharaj, Trevor Sudama and Ralph Maraj
cut a deal with then opposition leader Patrick Manning to oust PM Basdeo Panday 
Trevor Sudama, the former United National Congress (UNC) minister who teamed up with his UNC cabinet colleagues Ramesh Maharaj and Ralph Maraj to topple the Panday UNC administration, is back in familiar territory.

He conspired with the People's National Movement (PNM) in 2000 and was again standing with the party on Sunday when the PNM launched its Local Government campaign for the San Fernando City Corporation at a meeting in Navet Road, San Fernando.

Media reports said Sudama received a standing ovation and went on to launch an attack on the government of Trinidad and Tobago with the same mantra that he used when he went after the Panday UNC administration - corruption.

But like his attacks in 2000 he was short on specifics while trying to sound like the statesman he never was.

Sudama was fast and furious with all manner of rhetoric about deception, delinquency and subterfuge as he addressed his PNM friends. He spoke of the PNM as an alternative government, saying if the PNM is committed to providing "a new perspective for the vision of T&T, a new era of hope, then I will say that it has my best wishes."

Where has Sudama been in the past three years? 

The PNM under Keith Rowley has not presented a single idea or policy to demonstrate that it could be a government in waiting. And last week when he had an opportunity to shine, all Rowley did was dust off the old vision 2020, rename it VISION 2030 and boasted that is how the PNM would govern.

He even endorsed Calder Hart as one of the 25 "patriots" who formed the leadership of the Vision 2020 team, never mind that Calder Hart was part of the corruption that Rowley himself identified within the Manning PNM. 

Here was Sudama, coming out of retirement to support Rowley and speaking about corruption in the PP government while ignoring the fact that the man with whom he was sharing a political space was the one who called the Manning administration the most corrupt ever. And independent polls corroborated that.

Now Rowley loves the old PNM, there are no more court martials pending and all the corruption that he campaigned against has been swept under the rug while political parasites are crawling up to his platform to sing the praises of a party and an administration that the people rejected twice in 2010. 

Sudama is the self-styled renegade who dubbed himself the minister of "pumpkin and bhagee" when Prime Minister Panday gave him the ministry of Agriculture instead of Planning that he craved. 

Roodal Moonilal, a "child of the UNC" defeated Sudama in the party's internal election in 2000 and then humiliated him in Oropouche in the 2001 election, taking away the safe UNC seat that Sudama held.

That was the election in which Moonilal christened Sudama "Romeo" for his relationship with the young and beautiful Lisa Bolai.

"Romeo" became part of the trio dubbed the "three Rs" - Ramesh, Ralph and Romeo - that conspired with Patrick Manning to usurp the government and hand the leadership of the country to Manning within months of the UNC winning a clear majority.

What was most interesting about their claims of corruption was that they had campaigned on the UNC platform with Panday on the theme of performance and delivery. 

Nobody was corrupt then but when they didn't get what they expected from Panday they suddenly discovered that there was corruption in the Panday administration. And even before the ink dried on the ballot paper they were campaigning to overthrow the government.

Now with Rowley looking for friends wherever he can find them, he has latched on to another failed politician whose legacy is betrayal. He is using Sudama to spread misinformation and lies, hoping it would give him and the PNM some political muscle.

Rowley would soon find out that Sudama cannot help his cause the same way he discovered that sitting on a political stage with Ramesh was a bad idea. He quickly dispensed with Ramesh so it would be interesting to see how long the Sudama courtship would last. 

In all of this what is perhaps most interesting is that the only "R" who has returned to the PNM embrace is being kept out of the Rowley PNM because Ralph is a member of the Manning PNM. 

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