Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Not good enough, Madam PM

When Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar remarked that Trinidad and Tobago is not singular when it comes to narco-trafficking, I was not only appalled...I was indignant. Her statement, “Every nation in the world has issues with narco-trafficking and therefore it’s (about) our response now... We learn every day.”

This declaration shows a kind of if-you-cannot-win-them- join-them attitude.

I want to remind the Prime Minister that T&T should be the exception and certainly not the rule. The Prime Minister’s response to the recent international drug bust debacle is arrogant and disgusting. In other words, T&T is full of the filth and political detritus just like all other nations and we should not be too worried. We should continue to wallow in the mire and suck it up.

The Prime Minister is telling me with her thoughtless quips that one size fits all. Yes, all nations are in the same boat and “we learn every day” so we can take comfort in the fact that we are not alone.

What is this “we learn every day” nonsense? If the Prime Minister is on a ship of fools she must be cognisant of the fact that we are not blind, and as well-informed Trinis we know what is dotishness. Moreover, we will watch that ship glide merrily on its journey into oblivion. In the doldrums, sails are of no use and to top it off, the rudder is broken.

Long before the People’s Partnership came to power, Trinidad and Tobago was a confirmed international transshipment point for illegal drugs coming out of South America. That’s what I teach my students in my geography lectures about drug-running issues in the Caribbean and the world at large. Illegal drug running is a business just like the petroleum or sugar industry; the geography of economic behaviour. How come “it’s (about) our response now”. Why only “now?”

The People’s Partnership knew full well that people in Trinidad and Tobago were shipping illegal drugs to foreign places. Tell me that I am wrong…tell me! The big question is: What did the People’s Partnership really do since its inauguration to not only curb, but obliterate the cancer of both domestic and international drug-running in Trinidad and Tobago?

Getting rid of police commissioners and juggling ministerial portfolios to field a good minister of national security is not working Madam Prime Minister. If you are the political ring master of the Partnership you might also consider yourself the juggling clown. You have this uncanny ability to multi-task.

Congratulations! You know it and I know it that Trinidad and Tobago is in a crisis. Crisis situations require crisis solutions. You have to put your foot down! If you always have to watch where you are going to put your feet then how could you put your foot down? The saying goes, “If you choose to dance with the alligator, be prepared for when the music stops.”

What new laws or amendments to existing laws have this Government enacted to seriously deal with the problem? Maybe the Prime Minister should take a little lesson from Singapore. Some people regard the drug laws in Singapore to be draconian. Remember, it was a Singaporean who coined the term “carnival mentality,” the today for today, live for the moment syndrome.

The Prime Minister reminded me that apparently, “we like it so”. The Prime Minister’s absolute loose lips on this drug bust does not mesh with my opinion regarding good governance. The take-it-as-it-comes attitude is alive and well in the People’s Partnership and I must knock the Prime Minister on this one.

I wonder if the Prime Minister is seriously concerned about Trinidad and Tobago and the direction in which it is heading. There is a serious haemorrhage when it comes to leadership in Trinidad and Tobago and the Prime Minister has just demonstrated that she is afflicted with the lack of leadership disease. I am so sorry.

Johnny Coomansingh

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