"Therefore it is meet that noble minds keep ever with their likes;
For who so firm that cannot be
William Shakespeare; Julius Caesar; Act 1. Scene II.
Today we draw a line in the sand. A line of separation; a line of demarcation; a line which divides us and a line which clearly identifies us for who we are and where we stand. I am satisfied that this Government is a pestilent cesspool of corruption and iniquity presided over by the High Priestess of Shamelessness and controlled by the Prince of Perfidy.
But there are those in the Government who would have us believe that they are not part of the contamination of corruption and that they are doing what they have to do to hold the coalition together, or to prevent a return of the despised PNM. To these we say today that we are accepting no more excuses and we are condoning no more of your silence.
For it is apparent, or should be apparent, to anyone with eyes to see that this Government, before it runs its course and is consigned by the people to the dung heap of history, would have come close to destroying entirely the institutional and moral fabric of this society and leaving the economy in utter disarray.
And as the Government propels our country to these depths of degradation no one is going to be allowed to simply go along for the ride. So today we name names and demand of those who claim to have some shred of morality, integrity and national pride left, to choose a side. This is the line we draw today.
We name first of all Winston Dookeran. Here is a man who has built for himself over a long political and public service career, a reputation for honour, rectitude and integrity. But we hope that Mr Dookeran knows that reputations built on words alone can be coins of base metal and acquire real value only when they have been tested in the fires of sacrifice.
There is no honour, rectitude and integrity in this Government, Mr Dookeran. That should be clear to you by now. So if you continue to stay there in silence, you are simply giving aid, comfort and support to the politics of pollution and you mark yourself, Sir, as a willing confederate of this guild of thieves.
Mr Winston Dookeran the country calls you out.
We name Mr Prakash Ramadhar. You are the leader of your party, Sir, and that places a tremendous responsibility on your shoulders. Your party was founded on a platform of "new politics", a politics based on principles. Where is the principle, Mr Ramadhar? How is the "new politics" demonstrated by keeping your party in this Government?
You must know by now that you are dealing with crooks, liars and thoroughly dishonourable men. Is this where your party belongs? And have you spared any thought for the thousands of party supporters and how they must feel when they see their party leaders cohabiting so comfortably in the disease-ridden bed of your erstwhile partners? You have chinksed enough. It is time to man-up.
Mr Prakash Ramadhar, your party calls you out.
We name Mr Errol McLeod. It is inconceivable that a man who has spent a lifetime on the battle ramparts of the working class can now sit comfortably in a government that is simply without class. How can you not see, Mr McLeod, that this Government is rooted in injustice and is not about raising anybody up but about bringing us all down.
Was your career all just a gigantic exercise in hypocrisy? Must your name now be mentioned in the annals of this country's labour history as that of a turncoat and traitor? Do you not see that your justified anger with the PNM is no reason to champion a party equally as bad? Or is it simply, Mr McLeod, that you have been seduced by the trappings of status? Is that all your honour is worth?
Mr Errol McLeod, Tubal Uriah "Buzz" Butler calls you out.
We name Mr Stephen Cadiz. I remember you, Sir. I remember your passion, your burning hatred of injustice, the dynamism and simple love of your fellow man which propelled you, single-handedly at first, to found a movement, the Keith Noel 136 Committee, which railed against crime and government corruption and societal injustice.
I remember you taking on all comers and walking away, head held high, from Basdeo Panday and Jack Warner and the culture of double dealing and chicanery. I remember that and I do not understand what has happened. How did that man become this spineless? Was the memory of Keith Noel simply a ladder used to climb to this base degree? Mr Cadiz perhaps you can save your health and help save your country at the same time.
Mr Stephen Cadiz, the ghost of Keith Noel calls you out.
We name Mr Timothy Hamel-Smith. To you I simply say cockroach have no place in fowl party. You are much too decent and principled a man to be associating with this nest of vipers. You do yourself and your country no service by staying there. No genuine work, no genuine efforts ever go in vain. But there is nothing left for you to do in this party. Good does not come out of the bowels of evil.
Mr Timothy Hamel-Smith, call yourself out!
If there are any others who feel that they too should have been named please accept my apologies. But fear not, all you have to do is simply call yourself out. Your actions will name you and place you on the appropriate side of the line.
And if you gentlemen named above believe that you can ignore this call simply because they are the ramblings of a columnist who is too full of himself, I invite you to think again. For today I speak on behalf of every decent, honest and law-abiding citizen and we stand on one side of the line. Where do you stand gentlemen?
• Michael Harris has been
for many years a writer and
commentator on politics and
society in Trinidad and the