Since the infamous “Watergate” scandal in the 1970s, the suffix “-gate” has since become synonymous with political scandals in the United States and in other English- and non-English-speaking countries as well. At home here in Trinidad and Tobago, emailgate is the hot topic.
“Watergate” was a major political scandal that occurred in the US as a result of the June 17, 1972, break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, DC, and the Richard Nixon administration’s attempted cover-up of its involvement. When the conspiracy was discovered and investigated by the US Congress, the Nixon administration’s resistance to its probes led to a constitutional crisis.
The term “Watergate” came to encompass an array of clandestine and often illegal activities undertaken by members of the Nixon administration. Those activities included bugging the offices of political opponents and people of whom Nixon or his officials were suspicious. Nixon and his close aides ordered harassment of activist groups and political figures, using the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Internal Revenue Service. The scandal led to the discovery of multiple abuses of power by the Nixon administration, articles of impeachment and the resignation of Richard Nixon, then president of the United States, on August 9, 1974—the only resignation of a US president to date. The scandal also resulted in the indictment, trial, conviction and incarceration of 43 people, dozens of whom were Nixon’s top administration officials.
So in the Watergate scandal, a sitting president resigned. What will now happen to the Leader of the Opposition and the slow closing of his “gate”? He used the august chambers of the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago to mislead this country with spurious accusations. The nature of these claims was extremely serious, attacking the Prime Minister and the Attorney General, the two highest ranking members of Cabinet. They were highly irresponsible actions by a seasoned politician, and the consequences should be commensurate with the actions.