Tools

Tightening circles

By Rubadiri Victor

Every day this Government is finding itself with less legitimate room to manoeuvre. The citizenry is creating ever tightening circles, restricting the movement of agendas detrimental to our nation. Many say the reason Trinidad and Tobago's citizens don't mobilise against crimes committed against us by political and capital elites is because we've never fought a war for Independence. Nobody ever spilt any blood... We never had to organise an army to battle for the soul of our Republic. Because of this we've never been invested with the passion, sweat, sacrifice and organising principles that come with knowing the enemy will not grant us freedom until somebody in this gayelle is dead...

I'm saying this country has now arrived at that place. That in the last 12 years we've been fighting the war for our Independence—and are now possibly approaching the climactic battles...

Wayne Kublalsingh's incredible hunger strike marks the second time I'm witnessing a citizen put their life on the line for this nation. The first was Pat Bishop—who paid the ultimate price in defence of our country.

In previous articles, I spoke of the theory that says every country has two possible nations in them—a City of Light and a Death Star. The true barometer of a country's health is: which nation is it living closer to? For England, its best self is embodied in the country "Loudres" which appears when England lives according to the principles of King Arthur and Camelot. Its shadow nation is the dark, imperial murderer Britannia—the nation of "dark-satanic mills" and class warfare. Trinidad and Tobago has its two nations—Iere, Land of the Humming-bird, Land of King Sailors, Hosay, Ramleela, Lara, and the principles of creativity, joy, heroism and ethnic partnership. Our shadow is the country of mediocrity, political and elite corruption, petty spite and racial chauvinism.

In a poisonous meeting of the Expert Panel for the Cultural Sector, Pat Bishop saw the re-invocation of Iere about to be betrayed—and committed the ultimate sacrifice to block dark agendas. Her last words to me were—to paraphrase—"Stop them!" And we did. For a year... Now the dark agendas are back...

Pat's dying—in front of the Minister of Planning—ensured Iere's agendas were passed in the 2011 budget. The amount of $100 million was set aside to rebuild the City on the Hill and the Nation of Light in our 50th year of Independence. This year was supposed to be the return of our golden age—an age of renaissance led by an arts council unleashing the creativity of our nation from grassroots communities, upward...

Instead none of these Cabinet- and parliamentary-approved agendas were implemented. Instead, in the 2012 budget, all 129 line items were gutted out and a cold-hearted vision—seemingly to enrich a cabal—took its place. The vehicle for this travesty is the Creative Industries Company—a creature not based on one shred of defensible evidence, zero research and no consultation. The 129 line items in contrast were sector-consulted, evidence-based, researched, adhered to international best practice, and the Ministry of Finance's Implementation Unit approved them after four months of rigorous feasibility testing.

In much the same way as Pat, Wayne Kublalsingh is committing the ultimate sacrifice in the face of something similarly dark and unrelenting. Like his co-leadership of the anti-smelter movement, his current cause is well-researched and in the interest of the community and nation. He agrees with 85 per cent of the highway project—but identified one portion, stupendously over-budget, that jeopardises eco-systems, communities and heritage sites. All he asks is that principles of good governance be applied: transparency, accountability, consultation and value for money. Government refused to release the independent analysis which should embody these ideals.

So rumours swirl: of politicians who've cut deals with residents to inflate home prices in order to get 40 per cent; of plans to shift communities into other constituencies to shift electoral possibilities... "Bobol" to profit small cabals. Those cabals—called the "feral elite" in England—are agents of the dark country...

For the creative industries, the rumoured dark agendas include a massive industrial estate in Caroni where party financiers will own pan, mas, fashion, and film "factories"; where bays of invaders will be filled with Las Vegas-styled casino wonderlands using culture as magnet; where an animation festival and company created by a daughter-of-the-soil is being muscled away from her by those who want to own it; where a 100-year-old festival is being snatched from community practitioners to be controlled by one family and group; where one of the most valuable treasure chests of creative intellectual property in the Caribbean is being circled by corbeaux for purchase... All this is happening behind the scenes. A game of shadows that has nothing to do with "serving the people".

This is the war for Independence. Visionary citizens valiantly trying to keep leaders honest. Light being shone in dark corners. Saint Pat committing the ultimate sacrifice—as Wayne is doing before our very eyes. The battle for the soul of the Republic—Iere—is on. The Army of Light is on the move.

• Rubadiri Victor is a cultural activist.

—rubadiri@yahoo.com

This content requires the latest Adobe Flash Player and a browser with JavaScript enabled. Click here for a free download of the latest Adobe Flash Player.

Express Poll

Should there be a public debate between Dr Keith Rowley and Pennelope Beckles-Robinson who are the candidates for leadership in the upcoming PNM internal elections?

  • Yes
  • No

Newsletter Sign Up

Subscribe to our FREE Digital Divide Newsletter.
To subscribe enter your email address
For Email Marketing you can trust

Weather

More Weather