Sunday, December 17, 2017

Rebel with a cause

 I would like us to take a second look at the opprobrium now being heaped on Basdeo Panday’s head for daring to speak somewhat at variance with the many superlatives attached to the passing of ANR Robinson, going further, with seeming indelicacy, depending on where you stand, to insist that he won’t be attending the funeral. Can we even begin to understand his stance on this matter? 

Beginning with ANR’s rejection of Bas in 2001 after the 18-18 tie on the basis of “moral and spiritual values”, was he constitutionally and morally  right to engage  in such subjectivity in deciding on such an important matter as to who should form the government? How do you measure one’s moral and spiritual values...and if you can, what yardstick would you use? And as ANR may well have, how does that fit with the varied ethical positions one should associate with a society as multi-religious as ours? 

Again, against a background of the well-known tensions between the two men between 1986 and 2001, could Bas, as a true Hindu, lay claim to responding the highest moral and religious authority of performing “Karmayoga or the Yoga of Action” in doing battle with his enemy for a just cause, in keeping with Krishna’s advice to Arjuna in the Bhagvadgita? 

Further, if ANR’s rejection of Bas was a form of “payback” for  Mr Panday’s perceived antagonism against him, was ANR not in essence engaging in a form of bias which was cleverly concealed by the lofty motivation connected to “moral and spiritual values”?

 The issue here is whether such a subjective criterion should have been used for such an important matter. Shouldn’t there have been instead, a constitutional provision to be decided upon by the Supreme Court of T&T, rather than by a head of state who in this country, is more of a “figurehead” without active participation in matters of government?  

Dr Errol Benjamin

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