‘Come home’ and the ‘Calcutta ship’
The unprecedented high level turnout of a 43 per cent vote in the recent local government elections (LGE) convinces me that the invitation to “come home” is the unfortunate Trinidad equivalent of the infamous “Calcutta ship” of the THA elections.
Both appeals were underpinned by subliminal tribal undertones that galvanised the cohesive urban-suburban African vote leading to the meltdown of the People’s Partnership in the LGE in territory where they were pre-eminently supreme in both elections of 2010, held the reins of power and undisputed authority and wielded it with balance and equity.
The PNM, based on the consistent decline and disintegration of the People’s Partnership Government beginning in January and continuing unabated, now finds itself in a pre-election high scenario similar to if not identical to the pre-election period of 1991. Then, the political stocks of the bifurcated NAR had reached their lowest ebb, driven by the emerging threat posed by the fledgling UNC, its well-known Aranjuez rally crowd and the demonstrated unpopularity of the sitting prime minister ANR Robinson present on both sides of the ethnic divide.
The polls now show overwhelming potential electoral data of another vote-splitting-derived PNM supremacy in the marginal St Joseph by-election unless and until an 11th hour contingency arrangement and response mechanism can be negotiated between the People’s Partnership and the ILP prior to Monday’s showdown.
The crucial and current ailing leadership swap is a strategic option not susceptible to an accelerated contingency response or with none in sight.
The “come home” call does not resonate with the mushrooming young, politically restless, discerning and emancipated rural electorate. They are no longer corralled by the traditional tribal fences as evidenced by the ILP vote in the Chaguanas West by-election.
“Come home” is a pathetic call to close the stable door and ranks after the horses (COP and ILP) have bolted and the COP has been reincarnated and morphed into the ILP as a regime-changing force holding the balance of power.
That battle cry reflects a fundamental misinterpretation of the penchant of the South of the Caroni to fragment in the face of dissidence with the prevailing brand of Indo-Gangetic peasantry politics and politically challenged leaders who have disappointed, betrayed the faithful and squandered the overwhelming vote of confidence on the basis of which they assumed governance.