The Tobago Council of the People's National Movement hopes that every Tobagonian is closely monitoring the latest turn of events that has been taking place on the national scene.
As the saying goes: "when your neighbour house on fire, wet your own". This Council knows that those who are paying attention must be just as concerned with the lies, deception and incompetence demonstrated by this present People's Partnership Central Government, aided and abetted by the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP).
It is appalling and disgusting that this UNC-led Central Government, supported by TOP seemed to have embarked on a well-planned, winding road that has led to this situation where the population has become cynical about their motives ever since the state denied the request by the United States of America to extradite Ish and Steve to that country to answer charges for white-collar crime.
It is noteworthy that, while the wealthy and the privileged were being handed "Get Out Of Jail Free" cards by this TOP/People's Partnership Government, several common folk were incarcerated unjustly during the State of Emergency. Is this the same Government that vowed to be just and equitable in dealing with the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago?
In a feeble public relations attempt to obfuscate, this Central Government is trying to place a burden of blame on the Opposition. But this has not fooled the people. Everyone has heard the various accounts of what happened in the Parliament. The experts have said that Section 34 as a part of the whole Indictment Bill with the recommended regulations would have been a good Act.
The problem however, rests with the excising of a part of the Bill and the fact that it was rushed to proclamation in spite of a commitment given to the Opposition that the bill would not be proclaimed without the necessary regulations. In light of these circumstances, and given that there was a deliberate attempt to by-pass scrutiny of the Chief Justice and the Director of Public Prosecutions, it is not unreasonable for the public to conclude that there was some sinister motive on the part of the Government, a perception that has been fuelled by the haste with which privileged beneficiaries were able to seek relief created by the action of the State.
It is also difficult for the Government to convince the masses that only one Minister was involved in this fiasco. Further, the entire Cabinet must claim "collective responsibility" for whatever comes out of the Cabinet. Therefore they are all culpable and should pay the same price that Volney was made to pay.
The People's Partnership and their diehard TOP supporters are underestimating the power of the informed public that they have now to deal with. Dr Williams, some time ago, pointed to 'the power of the People over the Parliament'. This People's Partnership Government, including TOP, never believed that the masses would respond to their discrimination, insensitivity and injustice as was seen on Tuesday last.
However, as the people continue to mount the pressure on this inept government, their dissatisfaction with the small sacrificial lamb to carry this 'enormous not to forgiven' load is becoming more evident each day. It is abundantly clear that this mortal sin will not be treated as a nine-day wonder. It will not go away at the price of Volney's head. What about Anand's? Volney insists we should take a closer look at him and his hold on the PM.
Tobago though has been affected, both positively and negatively. The Tobago Council of the PNM takes this opportunity to congratulate Ms Christlyn Moore, as a fellow Tobagonian, woman and professional, for her appointment to the post of Minster of Justice. This Council and the rest of Tobago though, look on with hope that she would be able to practise her true Tobago values and make us proud of her courageous decisions. She only has to pay attention to the courage and integrity of other Tobagonians in office like Chief Justice Ivor Archie when by returning silk he demonstrated the kind of mettle Tobagonians are made of.
On the other hand, the Council is constrained to remind Tobagonians of its expressed concern about her impartiality when some months ago, the Prime Minister named her as one of the "independent" members of the Committee responsible for constitutional changes for Tobago. At the time, we indicated that her independence was questionable since she was closely associated with the Attorney General and the Prime Minister.
Are we to believe that Ms Moore has only now become a People's Partnership member/sympathiser and that she was not one when she was appointed on the Committee? How could she be 'independent' the week before her appointment as Minister of Justice? (since Martin George said on TV that they turned in the report the day before her appointment was announced) In light of Minister Volney's media comments implying that it was on the previous Thursday that the PM seemed to have made her decision after talking to him, this suggestion by Mr George seems questionable.
While Tobagonians must be happy for Mrs Moore, they must also be concerned about the replacement of Pastor Terrence Baynes.
From first impression, Senator Baynes appeared to be the victim of collateral damage, either because he was not doing a good enough job or because Silent Ashworth would not quibble over the removal of its only representative in the Senate. But it is quite interesting that in defending the appointment, the TOP's leader boasted that it has not lost but remained in balance. If this is the case, it begs the last question: "is Christlyn Moore a TOP member? And if she has been, how could she have been 'independent' on the Ghany/George/Moore Committee?"
But we caution Attorney Moore to heed the parting words of ex-minister Volney who said: "if I had known they would have done this to me, I would have stayed on the bench."
Attorney Moore is bright and has Tobago's support but as our young people would say "Doh get lick up by the Politricks of the TOP/People's Partnership union".
Dr Denise Angus is the
public relations officer (PRO) of the PNM's Tobago Council.