I am forced to respond to Michael Harris’s column, “Campaign of the walking dead” since, as a citizen, I feel offended by it.
From the onset, let me make it abundantly clear he is one of my favourite columnists and so I look forward to his commentary, but perhaps my expectations of him to stand on the side of country have been too high, hence I am disappointed in this particular piece. I felt betrayed by him.
He referred to members of the People’s National Movement as a “horde of zombies going from here to nowhere, and only occasionally stirring from their stupor to make some noise at some disturbance in the environment”.
This to me is totally insulting to people’s right to support whichever political party they desire and, even worse, to suggest they are corpses aimlessly following because they are brain dead. To me, this is a complete contradiction of someone who was a leading member of the Tapia Movement which, to the best of my knowledge, advocated for the people’s right to express themselves and freedom of association. I sense from his utterances that Mr Harris is disturbed at seeing the rejuvenation of the PNM and the overwhelming support from party members for Keith Rowley at the level of the PNM’s internal elections and otherwise.
And precisely what does he mean by the words “some disturbance in the environment”? Is this the new phrase being used when one wants to espouse their hate for no good reason? Because, as far as I am aware, the oil spills in La Brea is a serious disturbance, as well as the assassination of Dana Seetahal, Section 34, prison-gate, reported sexual misconduct by ministers, etc, all of which are deserving of the noises that are not only coming from the horde of zombies, but from every patriot Trinbagonian.
This is what Mr Harris had to say in an earlier column: “Today we draw a line in the sand. A line of separation; a line of demarcation; a line which divides us and a line which clearly identifies us for who we are and where we stand. I am satisfied that this Government is a pestilent cesspool of corruption and iniquity presided over by the High Priestess of Shamelessness and controlled by the Prince of Perfidy. But there are those in the Government who would have us believe that they are not part of the contamination of corruption and that they are doing what they have to do to hold the coalition together, or to prevent a return of the despised PNM. To these we say today that we are accepting no more excuses and we are condoning no more of your silence.” (Express, August 2012)
I am dumbstruck because almost two years later, with the cesspool now overflowing, Mr Harris flips the script on the people and the people’s champion. Hear Mr Harris: “For his part Dr Rowley was content to make his presence felt mainly in his role as Leader of the Opposition, barking loud at every issue which present[ed] itself on the national stage.” Interestingly, he acknowledges there are many issues on the national table and admits that as Opposition Leader, Dr Rowley is confronting all of them, yet Mr Harris has a problem with this.
Over the last four years, we have witnessed an unprecedented collapse of most of our sacred institutions. This has created the void of transparency in public affairs and Michael Harris’s best criticism of the Opposition Leader is that he is barking too much and too loud?
Well, let it be known to all and sundry the ordinary people in this country appreciate the fact that there are those like Dr Rowley willing to raise their voices in defence of the people and our democracy. The line has been drawn!