Venturing to ride high with the political spin-off from last week's humiliating climb-down by the People's Partnership administration, Opposition Leader Keith Rowley has summoned all to his own protest march today.
Dr Rowley validly proposes that suitable remonstration against how and why the Government proclaimed the now-infamous Section 34 should extend beyond the Parliamentary chambers. Still, it's doubtful if today's march, with himself as leader, marks an adequate avenue for the expression of public disapprobation.
Especially so, when this demonstration is suddenly called by the political leader of the People's National Movement (PNM), the defeated and discredited former administration, of whose rule unhappy memories remain fresh. The Rowley idea is that ordinary people moved to scandal by last week's events will throng in the national colours and follow him, in a manner invoking PNM founder Eric Williams' 1960 march for Chaguaramas.
That Chaguaramas march has etched itself into Trinidad and Tobago's nationalist annals, as a signal event in the build-up to Independence 50 years ago. Probably nothing so epoch-making is at stake today as the recovery of national patrimony, unilaterally assigned by colonial rulers to be a US naval base.
Today's turnout will prove up responses to Dr Rowley's appeal for support from the churches and the trade unions. His call went out also to everyone called to action by evidence of the present government's credibility at "rock bottom", as noted by commentator Reginald Dumas.
Dr Rowley may not have history on his side. His decision, however, to call out, first, the PNM, then everyone else sharing in deep disenchantment with the ruling Partnership, marks a timely effort to capture and focus current unhappiness with the general run of things.
If he felt so strongly about last week's legislative and constitutional brouhaha as to demand the resignations of Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and Justice Minister Herbert Volney, the Opposition Leader could hardly go silent and do nothing.
His efforts to measure the depth of popular feeling engendered by last week's events also test his own national leadership prospects in today's political waters. For Dr Rowley has hardly welded the PNM into a political force solidly behind his leadership.
Efforts in his name to change the regulation necktie and to apply the one-man, one-vote principle to internal party elections have met lukewarm party members' support at best. That Dr Rowley has something to prove can hardly be dismissed as a motivation for action today, when he should enjoy benefit of the worthy cause of denouncing damnable governmental malfeasance. It is noteworthy, however, that the PNM leader is enough a creature of the past to expect unions and others simply to follow where and when he raises a banner. As MSJ leader and OWTU executive David Abdulah noted, Dr Rowley signally avoided "broad-based discussions" in favour of his own choice of action.
Today's protest should also confirm the limitations of such leadership style.