As I was not saying last week, the People's Partnership engineered the passage and proclamation of legislation to save Ish Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson, as an act of conscious suicidal folly. That remains as unthinkable to me as it was unsayable last week, when I had only commonsense and, as always, limited information as my guides.
That puts me among a minority who, in today's extremist mood, stand to be assailed as willfully blind, or else motivated to serve as a fellow traveller aboard the People's Partnership enterprise. But the deep-scheming for the liberation of Ish and Steve had to include an escape route for the schemers, a route as invisible to the rest of T&T as a World War Two Stalag underground tunnel.
By the time lawyers for I&S hit the courts, no escape was available from the presumption that this dastardly outcome had barefacedly been intended. Neither this nor any government could defend against or survive the even violent remonstrations thereby provoked.
As always in this Trinidad and Tobago, some things went horribly wrong. Herbert Volney didn't wait to be found out; in his own way, days before the Prime Minister spoke, he had outed himself. He sought to defend what he did and, in doing so, archly suggested that if money passed, he didn't himself collect any of it.
His suggesting that by itself proved his unfitness for office. As indeed did his first speech in Parliament, which had the unseemly aim of discomfiting his former boss, the Chief Justice.
Kamla Persad-Bissessar must answer for what she wrought in May 2010, when she turned High Court Justice Volney into UNC Candidate Volney. The new woman on the rise was making a show of walking on the wild side, in a way that easily outshone predecessors with names like Patrick and Basdeo.
As a political quantity, Herbert Volney is forever hers, a measure of the then-surging leader's unwitting recklessness or overweening presumption. Which in a larger sense comprehends the People's Partnership enterprise, from which so many walk away, shrugging off responsibility for its realisation, like so much accursed dust off their feet.
Its brilliant early political and electoral success was expected to bless its progress into government. That the blessing did not last probably explains the near-violent apostasy of the disaffected.
All the pretended scandal over discovery that the formation lacked a "plan" for "governance" ignored the familiar history, over that T&T "Spring" of 2010, of the Partnership's hurriedly nailed-together electoral platform. The PNM had a plan, or something to fit that bill; that theme was a constant refrain of its campaign songs. But the electorate voted not for any Patrick Manning plan, but for hope, and in faith.
The Partnership didn't have a plan. But it was reasonable to suppose that, as people of the world, with ambition to govern, they would show wit, some wisdom, some skill and experience in making things happen, even some genius flashes. Such was the stuff of the hope and the faith.
Among the expectations were sureness in judgment of people, and their suitability for positions—Herbert Volney, Therese Cornelis-Baptiste, Subhas Panday, Nizam Mohammed…Even the positions themselves, except the portfolios with proprietary names—Arts and Multiculturalism, Ministry of the People, National Diversity and Social Integration, Environment and Water Resources—replicated the PNM template, with changes only in the holders' nameplate.
Last time I checked, under Tim Gopeesingh, the Ministry was still branded and its advertising messages expressed in terms coined and designed under Esther Le Gendre after 2007, "Excellence in Education".
Government has consisted of a sovereign figure, in Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar, ceaselessly projected (like the Queen-face on copybook covers) as the amiable image of imperium. It's a figure given to making appearances, deferentially received at home and abroad, conferring blessings, and handing out gifts and tokens.
Nor is this Prime Ministerial management by walking around. For the never filled vacancy in this administration has been that for a general manager, fully seized of the scope of government, and watchfully absorbed in the evolving details, and making necessary interventions. To the sovereign figure of course is reserved the ultimate right to appoint and dismiss. But in the interim, what functions of admonishing and counselling are performed?
We may never know, for example, what cautions Mr Volney received before the fatal sanction finally descended upon his latest overreaching.
Again, T&T is not a place where professional public administration, adequate in quantity and quality, can be relied upon for effective discharge of affairs of state. In last week's authoritative accounting, by Chief Justice Ivor Archie, the sheer unavailability of people to do vital work, in all areas of state business, remains an enormously bedevelling factor.
Justice Archie even cited a shortage of experienced criminal defence lawyers! In judicial administration, capacity shortcomings, he implied, afflict both the public and the private sectors.
The Chief Justice of course did not reflect on how rulings by fellow judges (and inaction by a frightfully risk-averse DPP) notably make matters worse. It is, after all, only because of Justice Ronnie Boodoosingh's decision against extraditing them, that the spectre of Ish and Steve continue to haunt T&T public life.