YOU know a government has lost its way when it is reduced to disputing figures for a public protest march.
That's when it is no longer the "People's" Partnership but "Their" Partnership…when the issue becomes the size of the crowd marching under the banner of complete disgust with what those in power have perpetrated, rather than addressing the real problems that have come to light since Trinidad and Tobago's 50th anniversary of Independence.
Because it's either I'm watching too much TV or this is a full-blown conspiracy that is beyond belief, that no supposedly right-thinking administration could ever come up with just to satisfy accused financiers…and to hell with whatever the citizens say about the whole sordid scheme.
It's all about perception.
So when Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar finally decided to address the matter on Thursday evening—even though she announced she was firing the Minister of Justice—it may have been too late to regain the faith and trust of those who had given their support to get rid of the People's National Movement (PNM) in the last general election.
That was just over two years ago and already the Partnership has gone a long way to sullying its good name and left a nation of once hopeful supporters totally hopeless.
I didn't see Tuesday's march in person, so I won't vouch for whether it was a thousand or 10,000 participants, but the number is not what is in dispute here, although I don't suppose we will ever get Jack Warner and Roodal Moonilal to admit that.
I mean, Warner will always sound like Warner, twisting words to suit whatever he attacks or defends on any given day of the week.
But Moonilal was a mirror image of Colm Imbert and other PNM die-hards when he could only offer excuses that it was a political party which organised the march, so that particular organisation has an axe to grind, or words to that effect.
That was just the sort of thing Imbert would say when the cries of dissent grew louder and reached a crescendo during the dying days of the Patrick Manning regime not so long ago.
"It was a bit more than 34…" Moonilal admitted on Wednesday, the day after he said he would be surprised if Opposition Leader Keith Rowley got more than that number to walk with him from Woodford Square to President's House to present a petition asking for an explanation of what transpired with Section 34. Hello Roodal, what was foisted upon us under the guise of new and progressive legislation appeared to be nothing less than high-class banditry and people are vex…they're damn vex and they have every right to feel that way.
And this is not just some dotish reporter who has nothing to do in the middle of the night but to write this rubbish, but very influential people who only want the best for T&T, who will not be hoodwinked by being offered "ah food".
Upright citizens like former Senate president Michael Williams and Movement for Social Justice leader David Abdulah, as well as the likes of Kirk Waithe of Fixin' T&T and Robert Mayers, one-time deputy leader of the Congress of the People.
The latter organisation was reduced to offering a wimpy apology when the firestorm just would not die down, almost three weeks after it was first brought to light, putting to rest any notion that this was another nine-day wonder and Trinis would soon go back to drinking rum and having a good time.
This is serious stuff we're dealing with here and people are not ready to just move on, and you would think a bright fellow like Dr Moonilal would realise that by now.
But as the Express editorial on Wednesday stated: "Unless it has reached that fatal stage of believing its own propaganda…" and that is exactly what has transpired with some members of the current administration.
The good old boys in what was once the People's Partnership put on their blinkers, or rather blindfolds, and chose to ignore the growing groundswell of public acrimony.
It was hard to accept that a government voted into office vouching for integrity, accountability and transparency could move like a thief in the night and ask the President to sign into law something which it had guaranteed would not be done until all the other relevant documentation was in place.
So, led by the once pious Attorney General, they tried to swing it around and claim that the Opposition was also to blame in letting the whole controversial legislation slip through the cracks…and they would have left it at that.
Now, according to the PM, one member of Cabinet decided to push this thing through, thus absolving the other senior judicial figure, the Attorney General, and an administration that was elected with great fervour and with the anticipation that we were securing the future of our once great country.
Now people are disappointed, which is putting it mildly, disillusioned and disgusted with what has transpired. It still smells to high heaven—something like what the residents around the chicken processing plant outside Arima had to live with for years—and no amount of disinfectant and flowery explanations could ever get rid of that scent.
And just one head may not suffice for those who plan to stain their finger just over two years from now.
Another dastardly deed has been done and the people have run out of patience and sympathy for something which they once had so much trust in.
What a great pity that has come to pass.