A campaign minus the mudslinging
What interesting recently-concluded local government elections. With a 27 per cent voter turnout, the People’s National Movement (PNM) was victorious, reversing the 2010 election result and winning back the corporations lost to beat the People’s Partnership eight to five.
Perhaps now Keith Rowley can be legitimately viewed as the political leader of the PNM and the next prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago. He has resurrected the PNM, much like his nemesis did in 1991 when the PNM thrashed the National Alliance for Reconstruction in the general election, reversing the 33-3 licking it endured in the previous election.
The PNM should be lauded for a well-run campaign that did not descend into the mudslinging that dominated the other campaigns.
The results seemed to provide comfort to the United National Congress (UNC)/People’s Partnership. It celebrated because its base did not vote wholesale for the magical green party. The Independent Liberal Party (ILP) failed to make inroads not only in the UNC stronghold areas in the southland, but also failed to attract the votes of PNM followers in its traditional areas. A very elated Prime Minister celebrated because the UNC base stayed loyal, and this started the rumour mill. It should be noted that Trinis love to gossip and partake in rumour-mongering, and have willingly contributed to the unrelenting gossip that the Prime Minister had imbibed too much alcohol on Monday night, and this has taken root as fact.
It’s quite shameful that it’s a norm to bash the first woman prime minister for having a “drinking problem” and there is no evidence to substantiate that claim.
No matter which political persuasion you subscribe to, you can criticise the Prime Minister for her politics and governance, but you should respect the office of the Prime Minister and not cast aspersions upon her character.
The Congress of the People (COP) did not win any of the corporations it previously controlled or in which it had a significant presence, but it still won more seats than the two won by the ILP. So while Jack Warner is of the view his party is ranked third displacing the COP, he should not count his chickens before they are hatched. His ILP has used up all its green fairy dust—you can only fool some of the people some of the time.
While Mr Warner has been an excellent MP for Chaguanas West, one of his major constituencies of Felicity went back to the “rising sun”, and the ILP will shoulder the blame if the PNM takes the helm at the Chaguanas borough.
I am sure many people will be called neemakharam for the unprecedented political impasse there. But maybe a PNM mayor and Chaguanas Borough Corporation may not be such a bad thing; it would be an improvement on the previous inefficient mayor and administration who caused discontent among the residents to make them vote green and red.
The Partnership has 18 months or less to have a reversal of fortunes. MPs should represent their constituents and provide a level of governance citizens want. There are several ministers whom citizens find repugnant and do not inspire confidence. The Prime Minister needs to weed out the jokers. In these elections we have seen that a queen can hang a jack, now is the time for the Prime Minister and her Government to fulfil the remaining promises in the Partnership manifesto. Time is running out for them. Citizens are running out of patience.
R Bernadette Shah