Friday, February 23, 2018

No bramble, bully or buy out


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The name of the next prevailing flu should be the Ashworth to reflect a complete body lick up such as that inflicted on Mr Ashworth Jack's candidacy for political leadership in Tobago.

I made that recommendation as news of the annihilation of the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) elections swept through the panyards on mega Monday, that magical night during the Carnival season when judges visit the large band panyards accompanied by the peaceful Trinbago citizen rainbow.

From "a Tobago perspective" Jack made himself a stranger in his own land, not simply because he was a high profile formal ally of the UNC, but because he acquired the aura of a yes man,who might use Tobago for the political ends of others.

I put the words 'Tobago perspective- in the previous paragraph in inverted commas because Minister of Local Government, Mr Suruj Rambachan, has already used the phrase. He and the other UNC spin-doctors are now attempting to portray the comprehensive defeat of the TOP as "a little local difficulty". Of course, had the election turned out differently, they would have shouted loudly and often that the results of the THA election was a confirmation of the political love that all of Trinidad and Tobago has for the UNC.

I accept that Tobago's rejection of Jack and of his UNC carpetbaggers were tainted by race. I do not accept that it is the one self-contained reason for TOP's Tobago catastrophe. As indicated, Jack himself became an issue and he got a political bull pistle.

The consequential and major question now is this: What do these results tell us about the likely behavior of the electorate in Trinidad towards the Peoples Partnership? In particular how toxic will the Trinidad floating voter, and most importantly those of the floating voters located in the marginal constituencies, now find this Government having voted for it in the May 2010 general election?

The political leader of the PNM and leader of the Opposition in the Trinidad and Tobago Parliament, Dr Keith Rowley, has been restrained in his initial expressions of joy at his party's success in the THA election, wisely so, because he must know that the racial feeling generated in Tobago, will not impress the floating vote constituency in Trinidad. The Hilton Sandy Calcutta ship remark, a disgusting remark unnecessary to make, unless vigorously and continuously disowned, will be a millstone around the PNM's neck.

The Prime Minister, as political leader of the party currently in power has been at a political crossroad for some time, but the self delusional haters and the manipulators around her have blinded her from seeing where she is.

At that political crossroad, the road left, will carry her deeper into the dysfunctional UNC world of immediate and total disrespect for anyone who dares to express any idea different from, let alone critical of what the Government says and does. The self-delusional haters and manipulators, who seek to bully or buy out all dissenting voices, run that UNC world. Those who believe that they can bramble us interminably and can spin political excrement in to ice cream assist them.

The road to the right will lead the Prime Minister to refocus her personal political capital and charisma and to hear and heed the critiques of her administration, un-filtered by the haters and manipulators.

The Prime Minister must recognize that publicly attacking the Integrity Commission (notwithstanding the Commission's credibility deficit) during the THA campaign was a bully tactic as were the following "mis-steps", not appropriate to be taken in the middle of a campaign: the attempt to legislate new constitutional arrangements for Tobago, the launch of judicial review proceedings against the THA and complaints about when polls should be published. As it turns out, if she had been permitted to listen to the polls instead of denigrating them, the TOP might have salvaged something.

I am not holding Kamla solely to blame for the brambling, bullying and buying out. I take this position because once you are isolated from any alternative advice you are likely to come to only one conclusion and make only one type of decision. The Prime Minister must immediately take the road to the right and seek the views of less fawning, self-serving and pocket-fattening advisers.

Dr Rowley also needs to listen to and embrace a much broader base or his own political security and in order to avoid being made similarly captive by persons who have no political ambition other than securing a large piece of the pie for themselves. Ordinary people count and they must be given a fair and un-patronising hearing.

With apologies to Abraham Lincoln, you can bramble, bully and buy out some of the people some of the time but not all of the people, all of the time.