The column by Rickey Singh under the headline, "One from 29 leaves 29" last week has further concretised in my own mind, my suspicion that the writer has descended from the lofty and admirable position of regional, experienced, long-standing, opinion-shaper, that I thought he once was, to that of an apologist for the UNC-led government of Trinidad and Tobago.
Mr Singh, in cold contradiction of the root, essence and meaning of his proud surname, displayed instead the attributes of a goat, rather than those of the lion. While analysing the effects of the MSJ's and David Abdulah's withdrawal from the so-called People's Partnership, he opined that this development was of no political consequence. He considered that one from 29 equals 29! In so doing, he failed to identify that in politico-mathematical terms, 5/5 -1/5 = 4/5. This is especially so, given that the Prime Minister always tried to convince the population, that all the parties of the coalition were equal and respected. Mr Singh failed to appreciate that the MSJ's and the former senator's move, were effectively a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister, the government and the carnival band that she leads.
What is also of deep concern to me, is Mr Singh's inaccurate and painfully emotional attempt to rewrite recent history. Mr Singh wrote, "It (a snap poll) was called by then prime minister, Patrick Manning, whose People's National Movement (PNM) was struggling for political survival, against the odds, amid an internal leadership tussle, in which the current Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley was a significant player." Where was Mr Singh between 2007 and May 2010? How could he publish this blatant inaccuracy? What is he trying to achieve?
In 2007, Dr Rowley was screened and selected as the candidate for the constituency of Diego Martin West by the party's screening committee and the central executive of the PNM. Both these units were chaired and led by then political leader, Patrick Manning.
He was shortly thereafter appointed to the Cabinet as a minister by the Prime Minister, who was then Patrick Manning. Dr Rowley served with great success, expected PNM-morality and with distinction in several ministerial portfolios, all under the said Patrick Manning. When he was removed as Minister of trade and industry in 2009, the issues for which he lost favour had absolutely nothing to do with leadership of the PNM. Rather, It had to do with a policy issue, regarding the management and conduct of a rogue state enterprise! The use of the term 'rogue' is deliberate, given that it was the only state enterprise, behaving the way UdeCOTT did. If one took UdeCOTT and its management out of the equation, the government had little or no other problem.
In this scenario, Dr Rowley emerged as the defender and champion of the fundamental, constitutionally-enshrined PNM principle of "morality in public affairs". All this, while he was in Mr Manning's cabinet. Mr Manning then exercised his constitutional authority and removed Dr Rowley from his government. Thereafter, back-bencher was he!
I labour this point, because 2010 was a particularly traumatic year for the PNM, its members and supporters. As such, it cannot be allowed to be misrepresented, whether by Rickey Singh, who writes regionally and would wittingly or unwittingly, mislead his wide readership or indeed by anyone else.
There were those in the PNM who chose to remain silent. Some even criticised Dr Rowley for his lonely and uncomfortable stance. These are the bare facts Mr Singh, and no-one, inside or outside the PNM, must attempt to rewrite the history. There was no issue of leadership. This is critical, because there are persons even today, who believe that Dr Keith Rowley was the person who caused and cost the PNM the last elections. There are persons who wrongly believe that the then prime minister called the snap election out of the fear that there were PNM parliamentarians, who were about to vote against him in a vote of no confidence brought by the then opposition.
For my part, I cannot think of one PNM MP who would have done so, much less six.
Mr Singh also missed the mark by implying that NJAC contested the last elections as "NJAC" and "failed to win a seat". No sir, NJAC borrowed a Congress of the People (COP) logo. They abandoned their dashikis and replaced them with COP T-shirts. They displayed other COP paraphernalia and fought the elections, from the East-West corridor to Point Fortin, on the COP ticket! They came to the PNM strongholds, asked for their votes; then took these votes to Mr. Dookeran, who in turn handed them over to the UNC's Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who in her turn ,handed them over to the UNC cabal that is now running a dangerous and destructive agenda, against the very East-West corridor and the people of Trinidad and Tobago.
Now that the very COP is shedding tears as to its own bad treatment and disrespect by the UNC, it is hoped that those who voted for them and their promise of "new politics," would understand that a vote for the COP, was a vote for the UNC and their wicked and unpalatable ways.
Fitzgerald Hinds is a
People's National Movement senator