Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Guest column: Be wary of Tobago

"If the society is more crime-ridden today than it was yesterday, the PNM must accept its share of the blame for such a condition. It does not do any good to blame the People’s Partnership for the state of crime in the society since both parties share in the blame." Professor Selwyn Cudjoe - 3rd Feb, 2014

The PNM propaganda machinery has kicked-in, in light of their upcoming party election, to choose a political leader. 

One year ago, Dr Keith Rowley - who brought down his own government - sat quietly, while one of his party members Hylton Sandy, unleashed an inflammatory racist statement on the East Indian population of Trinidad. When that statement was made, Dr Rowley did not condemn it. 

Read related story:  
PNM hypocrisy: Rowley endorsed Sandy after his Calcutta statement
It is worth noting that Dr Keith Rowley is first and foremost a Tobagonian, and he is one of the 110,000 Tobagonians living in Trinidad, but holding their allegiance firstly to Tobago.

During the period of the NAR, circa 1988, the Trinidad Guardian carried a front page article, attributed to Dr Geoff Davidson: 'Unitary State but Not At Any Cost'. The idea of Tobago secession to form a union with Grenada and Barbados has been on the minds of many Tobagonians for a long while. 

How is it, as is alleged, that some of them can vote in Arouca South (Dabadie/Omeara) during the local and general elections in Trinidad and also vote in the THA elections? This is something that requires investigation.

As it relates to secession, Israel Khan's, Scales of Justice at chapter 18 "Should Tobago have a secession clause", is worth quoting: "While I totally support the idea of a people to determine their own political destiny, I am vehemently against the idea of entrenching the right in our Constitution for 'optional secession' either by Trinidad or Tobago.

"T&T has long been a unitary State and it is a misconception to equate it as members of a Union; or to perceive it on the same footing as the Union of St Kitts-Nevis which is more akin to a federal State.

"For over a century we have been one country with one common political destiny. If there is to be a breaking up of the State, there must be a referendum on this issue - not by the inhabitants of either partner, but rather by the total T&T population.

"In other words, the majority of the people of Trinidad and Tobago must make this decision."

Dr Winford James in his EXPRESS column of 13th Feb., 2014 refers to the Constitution Report of the Ramadhar Commission thusly... "in a document purporting to speak to the reform of a national constitution, leaves Tobago, which is one half of the nation, completely out of the picture on the absurd pretext that its mandate did not extend to the Tobago House of Assembly Act 1996." This is a statistical aberration by Dr James which should be obliterated. It is insulting and worthy of print only in the Express.

The other point which we need to bear in mind in confronting PNM propaganda, is the belief by many, that there is default position in our politics that the PNM should return to government after one term in opposition. 

The PNM lost two consecutive elections in 1995 and in 2000. The PNM needs to be in opposition for two full terms, and we need to deal with this. There has been a self-fulfilling prophecy for too long and we need to change the mindset of our citizens, in this regard.

Ronald Bhola

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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