Saturday, February 17, 2018

Nemakharam politics must go

The word "nemakharam"— and I dare say by now, the political philosophy know as "Nemakharamism"—is what is wrong with politics in this country.

It has been used and abused since it first became popular with the ascendancy of the East Indian political derivative. It replaced the word traitor, formerly used to banish the enemies of the PNM (People's National Movement). It has been used to guilt successive governments into serving their respective bases on a multitude of different issues, and it is so wrong.

It is wrong because a government cannot be elected simply to serve the needs of the people who elected them as voters. The problem exists because during the "lean" years of opposition, prospective government's trawl for causes and issues to champion without due regard to national considerations.

It is political opportunism that sows the seeds for the betrayals that fall, as sure as the night follows the day, when they are elected. The competing and sometimes conflicting demands required to balance a nationalist development agenda, required by a government for, by and of all the people will always breed nemakharamism.

Moreover, the polarised nature of our political system, which divides the races into PNM and UNC (United National Congress) domains, reinforces these sectarian or regional differences, nemakharamism means that each regime must get their chance to service their supporters and their needs; it will always be "is we time time now".

Their may be two useful remedies: one is responsible opposition, not opposition based on political opportunism but opposition that will on occasion actually support the government. The second option is to build a coalition of interests that will inform a national agenda with a modus operandi designed to build that consensus. That each of our traditional political parties have failed to form this coalition of interests is the same reason that we have not been able to achieve a national consensus.

Until the time that there emerges a political party that is capable of forming and embracing that coalition of interests, nemakharamism and betrayals will prevail.

Satu-Ann Indira Ramcharan