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'Rawan' rules

By Ralph Maraj

Divali celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, the bounty of nature as Mother Lakshmi, and the return of exiled Lord Rama after destroying Ravana ("Rawan''), demon-king of the infernal rakshas. But none of these conditions now exist in this country. Tribal politics makes here perennially dark; the bounty of Mother Trinbago is either stolen or squandered; and Lord Rama? After Ramleela, he completely bypassed this nation on his way to Ayodha. "Rawan'' rules here.

Divali requires purification. But has the national abode been cleansed for the entry of light? Is our Parliament, palace of the people, clean enough to celebrate Divali? Illumination, justice and protection of the citizenry, all divali virtues, should reside there. Instead, the stains of Section 34 remain writ large on every MP. Our lawmakers usurped the law to set the corrupt free. In another place and time, they would have all been beheaded, Partnership, Opposition and Independents!

How do you clean their dirt, that miasma and muck, to make the place worthy of Divali? "All the perfumes of Arabia'' cannot hide the stench. So no Divali for Parliament! Dissolve the putrefying place and let no parliamentarian who supported Section 34 ever enter again. These rakshas are the main reason why Rama ignored us on his way home. "Rawan'' rules there.

Kamla wants us to "move on'', but Rama says no. Whom should we follow? He says challenges must be confronted for the triumph of righteousness. Could he have returned to Ayodha without destroying "Rawan'' and saving Seeta? No deyas would have been lit for his return. He would have been deemed a coward who fled his challenge. Our children will deem us cowards, undeserving of Divali, if we do not grasp the Section 34 nettle, and seize our salvation. We can't let the government get away by simply ''moving on''. We then become unworthy of Mother Lakshmi whose billions for her children were stolen in the Piarco scandal.

And we cannot let Keith Rowley bamboozle the nation either. The Opposition is as guilty as the government. They knowingly supported section 34 three times in the Parliament! Rowley never insisted that schedule 6 be amended to include corruption offences, even after the bill returned from the Senate.

He had another chance even after the surreptitious proclamation. But unlike three Independent Senators who realised their error and wanted amendment, he compounded his atrocity by supporting repeal which sealed the escape of the accused based on legitimate expectations. And then he comes blustering and haranguing, shouting louder than everybody else to lead protest marches! To achieve a new image, Rowley should start by following Amery Browne and apologise for supporting section 34. And he should stop marching with the protesters! His presence taints the cause.

Send Franklyn Khan, Camille Robinson-Regis, Joan Yuille-Williams or Ashton Forde instead. Separate the PNM from its parliamentarians on this issue. Let some independence germinate for the good of the party. Rowley is as guilty as Kamla. Neither he nor she deserves to light a single deya this Divali. They now head the PNM/UNC "Rawan'' Raj of Trinidad and Tobago.

But bet your saheena, as started already, parliamentarians will parade as paragons this Divali, attending functions, giving speeches, and issuing platitudinous messages about light defeating dark. The women will don saris and wear tikkas, all several Seetas and many Maharanis; and the men will adorn themselves in kurtas and be garlanded, all various Vishnus, Shivas, Lakshsmanas and mini Ramas. But together, male and female, they constitute "Rawan'', the demon king with the 71 heads that conspired against the people when they all agreed to section 34. No Divali, Mr Speaker! Parliament enacted darkness.

"Rawan'' reigns supreme in our politics. See him in the unbridled greed of politicians and their financiers, rakshas who have eaten the flesh and drunk the blood of pensioners and small savers in CLICO, CL Financial and the Hindu Credit Union; and then fed their own offspring the sinful bread.

How many children of our robber barons today luxuriate in London or Miami, wildly spending hard-earned money taken from Ram and Ramkalliah, Quashie and Queenie, whose own children now have no future? Will simple folk, die-hards of the PNM and UNC, never be protected, even by their parties?

Where were former Central Bank governors Winston Dookeran and Ewart Williams, UNC and PNM appointees respectively, when this massive daylight robbery was taking place for several years under their very noses? Were they afraid to offend their political masters who themselves were in hock to their "political investors''? The governors were voluminously anodyne on the economy but not a word on the savage gorging at high levels of CL Financial, CLICO and HCU. "Money flowed like water'' screamed one newspaper headline last week! And where were the PNM and UNC during this annihilation of the savings of struggling folks like Ram and Quashie, many dying prematurely through stress and suicide?

The parties were receiving millions in donations from these organisations, payments to turn a blind eye to robbery of their own supporters, for whom they "cared'' only when seeking their votes. Shameless politicians, rakshas of the PNM /UNC "Rawan'', that has ruled the roost in the netherworld of race-based politics in this country!

Those who stole billions from CLICO, CL Financial and HCU will also get away. This is Trinidad and Tobago. Even if they are charged like the individuals accused of stealing billions from the Piarco project, our rakshas parliamentarians, our 71 headed "Rawan'', will ensure another Section 34 to set them free. This is an utterly corrupted society. Lord Rama will continue to bypass us on his way to Ayodha. "Rawan'' rules here. This Hindu says so.

• Ralph Maraj is a former

government minister

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