The People’s Partnership (PP) is caught between a rock and a hard place. This is fairly obvious to the average citizen but the problem it creates has far reaching implications if the Prime Minister chooses either to delay the local government elections or call it. On the one hand if local government elections are delayed by the PP, the benefit is that it gives the PP the chance to reconnect with the people and gives them the opportunity to hopefully regain its position at the ground level. At the same time it will upset the entire population because it will be viewed as serving its own political interests by denying the rights of citizens to vote. Either decision is likely to have the same result, an erosion of support for the PP.
I also believe the PP is hoping that allegations against Jack Warner will bear some fruit and that he may be charged. I would wager that there is a concerted attempt underway to accelerate the investigative process.
I submit that the people had more of an issue with ministers in the PP who have been, not only self-serving, but arrogantly so. People have been looking for a leader who had an interest in them. Can we confidently say that the senior ministers of this present Government have the interest of the people at heart? When people suffer in the hospitals and die or what about the poor old retirees who have to spend a whole day in the hospital waiting on medical attention only to be turned away at the end of the day because the doctor left.
If the PM doesn’t delay then the result is fairly easy to predict. The PP will lose even with the help of the Congress of the People (COP) who is on life support. The only way the PM is going to regain the support is if she either accepts Warner back into the fold or hope that Warner is charged. In all instances a Cabinet reshuffle is insufficient. Ministers need to be fired. The ideology of some ministers, I argue, is one of inflicting the same injustice (real or believed) that was arrayed onto the Indo-Trinidadians under the People’s National Movement (PNM). Even if we accept that this was indeed the case during the PNM rule, Indo-Trinidadians should not subscribe to this type of retribution. As quoted by Gandhi, “an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind”. Ministers on either side of PNM and UNC who subscribe to this ideological retribution in the name of equality should never be allowed to run this country.
As stated in the Express editorial of August 9, 2013, “Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar has to be seen to be taking decisive charge of her Cabinet and shaking things up inside her backroom. If it turns out that she institutes merely cosmetic changes, rather than tackling the substantive defects of her administration, the Government may become effectively paralysed”. Essentially these errant ministers must be fired or they should resign. If they want they can fight the by-election just like Jack did, plain and simple.
If the PM accepts Warner back into the fold then there may be a clear split now away from the UNC, COP and people on the East-West Corridor will gravitate towards the PNM. Surprisingly, corruption and integrity are apparently not the issues on people’s minds. They are concerned first about their bread and butter, caring for their family and obtaining the basic needs of food, clothing, shelter and medical care. So some voters rationalise the issue of corruption by saying that corruption will exist no matter who runs the Government. But for voters to put you in Government and now for you to give back to the people you are only serving yourself? It appears that the motto for some ministers is “serve yourself, serve yourself, serve yourself”. The issue was representation, arrogance of ministers, inaction of Members of Parliament only studying to help themselves.
Those ministers must go otherwise the PP will fall.
It is likely there may be more resignations but when the time is right. I had supported this Government immensely in the run-up to 2010 and offered to serve but seeing their arrogance towards citizens, like many others, I endorse that they be changed.
Anand Heeraman is auditor general and adviser to the Integrity Commission (Turks & Caicos), a certified fraud examiner, doctoral candidate in political economy of the SMC University, Switzerland. He has lived and worked in T&T, US, Qatar, Canada and recently Turks & Caicos.
v Martin Daly’s column returns on September 1