Sunday, January 12, 2014

Tribute and condemnation - the Peter O'connor commentary

Two generations in my family wrote as columnists for the indomitable Therese Mills. In the 1960’s and 70’s my mother Thora wrote Pandora’s Box for the Guardian, and from 2002 until now I have been writing this Commentary for Newsday. 

(Editor's note: Peter's columns are written for Newsday and shared with Jyoti)

This is no great commendation for Therese, given her history of outstanding journalism achievements, but rather to express my pride that I followed my mother in writing for a truly wonderful person. Thank you, Therese Mills for giving me the opportunity to express myself here, and for being the guiding light that you were for my writing.

The remainder of this commentary is not about Therese, although I wanted it to be about her. But the state of our country demands that those of us who can must continue to speak out and condemn what is happening all around us. And I am confident that Therese would insist that I do so!

Ponder where we have reached as a people. Study where our leaders are taking us, and all that we are doing is either cheering or jeering them. We are refusing to become involved in any way.

We are currently engaged in creating the most astonishing conspiracy theories about every event in our lives. But the frightening aspect of what should be ridiculous fantasies is that any of them-- even the astonishing conflicting ones—can be true. And while we cheer and jeer, with the help of our political misfits and even the media, our country and our children’s futures are being swept away in blood, oil spills, lies and deception---and the Cabinet fetes with Ish.

What is behind the spike in murders? Everybody except the Police and –if we have these?—Intelligence Agencies “know” the answer. The PNM is paying their gang leaders to kill people so that Gary Griffith will be discredited and the URP spoils will run back to the gangs? The government is pushing the crime wave so they can declare a state of emergency? There is no analysis, not from anyone, only wild conjecture. 

And the PNM, who now have all the answers to ending crime, although they were actually sponsoring the crime and lavishly entertaining the gang leaders until 2010 can end crime! Really now? 

Their PRO, Senator Faris al Rawi claims that a permanent Police Commissioner must be appointed, and it must be “a National”. A National what? A National Flower, a National Bird? Is this the same PNM which up until 2010 could not, after eight years in office, appoint a Police Commissioner? Which spent millions of dollars on foreign consultancy firms to look for foreign candidates to fill the post—rejecting all citizens on T&T? And his nonsensical statement is published without comment or question by our compliant media?

While I agree that Gibbs and Ewatski were two nice milquetoast Canadians who probably never even heard of criminal gangs, and were therefore unsuitable to lead our police, I ask everyone: Who among the senior officers who are citizens of T&T would you suggest as Commissioner? Let us be serious---this person does not exist in our country, and Senator al Rawi and the PNM know this.

But the frightening truth is that it is now possible, even probable, that the spike in murders is being driven by political motives and money!

Then we have the Oil Spill Conspiracies. These are the faults and responsibilities of “everyone else”! OWTU blames “senior management”; management says some of it is sabotage. 

People are posting on FB that it is the UNC government doing the sabotage so that they can fire the Board and appoint more compliant (as in whom to award major contracts) directors. Others suggest that the PNM and the OWTU are doing the sabotage to discredit the government. An internal report from Petrotrin claims “no maintenance on pipelines”, Petrotrin claims the interim report is erroneous and threatens to sue a newspaper!

And where lies the truth? No one seems interested in finding out, as blame, conjecture and hysteria run amok.

The Prime Minister announces she is going to New York to visit an ill sister. Patrick Manning creates a fantasy scene of the late Dr. Eric Williams needing medical attention and actually wheeling another (un-named of course!) cabinet minister into casualty to hide the fact that it was Williams himself who was sick! Therefore Kamla went to NY for secret medical attention under the guise of an ill sister! Others suggest she went in order to avoid attending the Galbaransingh wedding.

And who speaks for the country? Certainly not the government nor opposition. Not the corporate sector nor Labour. Not the media nor the churches. Everyone is far too busy slurping at the trough of blood and oil, and all the scenarios have become plausible.

Catch yourself T&T. Time is running out!

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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