Tears and more tears
I will admit, quite honestly, I have been questioning the newspaper photograph of the Prime Minister shedding a tear as she spoke on Thursday to the mother of murdered 17-year-old Naim Antoine on Duncan Street, Port of Spain.
I will admit further that, placed in that circumstance, meeting any mother, who experienced loss, I would become uncontrollably tearful, and it would have been worst for me in the presence of that particular mother whose child was murdered with such brutality.
But I have been questioning — may be unkindly — whether this was just another scene out of the repertoire of a social actress, seeking to take advantage of her audience.
“Were they tears of compassion, or contrition?” I asked myself. If she showed genuine compassion, some may say the Prime Minister was unable to manage her emotions.
“But was she just not managing, or instead performing her emotions?” I questioned myself further.
On that thought, I reminded myself that in the run-up to May 2010 elections, the Prime Minister told an audience that soon “the king (then PM, Patrick Manning) will be politically dead, and the queen will reign”.
I wondered whether it is the PM’s belief in such a fairy-tale, a deluded self-portrait of herself as a reigning “queen”, that has driven her to “preside”, as though most Trinbagoians are passive, and uninformed courtiers, or not citizens, just receptacles to be shaped, and re-shaped for her every appearance.
As I soliloquise, I looked beyond that mask of the “queen”, worn since May 2010, some things that had been opaque became clearer. Yet, I look for the reasons why her every action is held suspect by growing segments of the population.
Why her public announcements are interpreted as an embossed cover for a hidden agenda? And why they are always simplistically constructed to accommodate her flimsy, theatrical attempts to capture the moment.
“Isn’t there any fore-thought of the consequences?” I asked myself. I still wondered, quite seriously, why a Prime Minister shedding a tear over a murdered youth could be questioned as a clumsy, contrived play to the gallery, or another badly-organised “Photo-op”.
I asked, too, why, in the face of such a situation, any observers will suggest that there is something inauthentic in her behaviour.
I guess the situation last Thursday may have been emotional for the PM, but some rational observers may view it against the background of the systematic de-construction of our national security system by her government.
So on Duncan Street, some may say we felt the real results, e.g. of the cancellation of the Off Shore Patrol Vessels, which were intended to prevent guns and drugs entering our waters. A cancellation, the PM justified, stating that the real battle against drugs was not on the sea, but on land.
As part of that deconstruction, two Police Commissioners were fired, leaving the Service almost neutered. SAUTT, the highly-trained special anti-crime unit, was disbanded. The surveillance “Blimp” sold cheaply, and our national security helicopters, are used now as a ‘maxi-taxi’ to transport the PM to her home in Phillipine.
To fill that vacuum in our security system, the PM hand-picked a person reported to be the close friend of her special adviser Sasha Mohammed, one Reshmi Ramnarine, a junior analyst, with false qualifications, to head the SIA, the then national security agency.
Later, publicly embarrassed by that appointment, the PM then appealed to the nation to “move on”, but yet she installed other hand-picked choices, Surajdeen Persad to head National Intelligence Agency (NIA), and Bisnath Maharaj for the Special Security Agency (SSA) – agencies created by her National Security Council.
The most significant response to crime from her government to date has been a flawed State of Emergency from which it was forced to retreat, after it detained scores of youths, spent $50 million, with an on-going $800,000 monthly rental, for a renovated Santa Rosa Heights warehouse converted into a prison.
That detention strategy failed. The public was then told of a plot to kill the Prime Minister, and couple of her Ministers. Eighteen persons, mainly Muslims, and Police officer were detained, but then released.
“So were the tears on Duncan Street a final realisation of the disastrous effects of her government’s thoughtless policies?” I asked myself. I concluded, in hope, they were genuine, and for the victims, and their parents.
I anticipate more tears will flow, though. The PM’s government has been a kind of political Ponzi-scheme. Look forward to tears — after local government elections; from Labour Minister Errol McLeod for 40 suspended NP workers; from the “cabal”, and possibly from emailgate. Tears and more tears.
* Keith Subero, a former Express news editor, has since followed a
career in communication and