The Four Ks of Our Destruction

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
July 24, 2017

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeFor the past seven years the two Ks (Kamla and Keith) have ruled the land. On Tuesday they introduced two other “Ks” to the unsavory mix: Kamauflage, another kamikaze-like maneuver designed to hoodwink our people. Basdeo Panday, characterizes their approach as “playing smart with chupidness.” One could also use the French aphorism to describe their carryings-on: plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose: the more things change, the more they remain the same.

These maneuvers remind one of a condition that Antonio Gramsci, an Italian Marxist, refers to in his Prison Notebooks. He says: “The crisis [in Italian society] consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born: in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” Zygmunt Bauman argues that an “interregnum” is a term that was used originally “to denote a time-lag separating the death of one royal sovereign from the enthronement of the successor. These used to be the main occasions on which the past generations experienced (and customarily expected) a rapture in the otherwise monotonous continuity of government, law, and social order” (“Times of Interregnum”).

When one surveys the present political condition under the guidance of the second K, one gets the impression that he does not know where he wishes to take his people. Like, Little Bo Peep, he seems to have “lost his sheep, And doesn’t know where to find them.” One is not even sure if the sheep “will come home, Bringing their tails behind them.”

Crime is out of control but he says that it is not his responsibility. He argues that the police service is responsible for controlling crime, a mantra that his ministers repeat ad infinitum. But if the control of crime is the responsibility of the police, why did we elect a government in the first place?

The first K is just as bad. When she was in power her government paid a lawyer half a million dollars to write a legal letter, a half page long. Her government spent about 1 billion in legal fees (Guardian, October 13, 2015) yet did nothing to improve the function of the judiciary. Today, her party uses the law as a bull-pestle to beat the government into submission.

UNC says it uses the law to enhance our democracy. Unfortunately lawyers understand laws, not ethics. Lawyers have dismantled societies under the guise of law without flinching. Timothy Snyder reminds us: “Lawyers were vastly overrepresented among the commanders of the Einsatzgruppen, the special task forces who carried out the mass murder of Jews, Gypsies, Polish elites, communists, the handicapped, and others” (On Tyranny).

Snyder believes if professionals had followed the ethics of their profession “the Nazi regime would have been much harder pressed to carry out the atrocities by which we remember them.” Sadly, professionals confuse the ethics of their profession with the politics of the moment which allow them to do things “they might previously have thought unimaginable.”

Neither the PNM nor the UNC has responded to the country’s problems in a creative manner nor, for that matter, have they shown us a way out of our impasse. One party is too insular; the other is too racial. The Africans are afraid of the Indians while the Indians don’t trust the Africans. This allows the Syrians to fill the breach. Recently Keith Subero argued against the government’s attempt to dismantle CLICO. We should listen to his plea (See “What CL Financial Means,” Express, July 17).

Indians and Africans must move beyond their racial enclaves and the false security they find in their communities. They must stop being afraid of one another. We must start with the realization that our staying apart maximizes the possibility of allowing the smallest group to increase its disproportionate control of the country’s wealth.

Indians and Africans ought to unify themselves for their own salvation. They must begin with Machiavelli’s proposition: “The aims of the people are more honest than those of the nobles, the nobles wishing to oppress the people, and the people wishing not to be oppressed” (The Prince).

Their coming together does not presume any antagonism against those who enjoy a disproportionate piece of the economic pie. It only demands that we recognize that we work against our best self-interest when we build up artificial walls of distrust.

As our country has lost respect in the eyes of the world; criminals have become more daring in their attacks against fellow citizens; lawyers use the law against the general interest; businessmen are more unscrupulous; bureaucrats suffer from continuous vertigo which make them useless; and our representatives are disdainful of those who elected them. Citizens need to decide if they wish to be complicit in their own destruction.

I am not too sure if the old has outlived its usefulness or what the contours are of the new. However, I feel despondency in the air and a sense of déjà vu happening all over again as Yogi Berra is reputed to have said. Neither the PNM nor the UNC can save us from the damnation that is approaching.

Maybe it is time to look for something new.

3 Responses to “The Four Ks of Our Destruction”


  • Both parties are guilty of insularity and racism. The state of the nation is very accurately and objectively described by Cudjoe.
    Our leaders and politicians are devoid of creative and innovative solutions to move the country forward. We are witnessing our institutions being controlled by UWI graduates and graduates of questionable foreign correspondence schools. These graduates are proving to be inept as products of rote learning. They have no foreign experiences or exposure to universities abroad which foster creative thinking skills and problem solving. They are insular with a narrow focus restricted by a lack of exposure to new and innovative ideas and people.
    We can be saved from the “damnation that is approaching” by recruiting a broad based team of knowledgeable expats from Europe and North America to create a third force to lead us out of this damnation.
    “Something new” does not presently exist within T&T.

  • Another deliterious article that rings hollow in the face of insurmountable problems that arise everyday. The PNM is controlled by the 1% who uses their massa mindset and influence to pillage the treasury.
    Here are some examples..”Chancery Lane complex—$300 million over budget—24-month delay.Government campus and Legal Affairs tower—$300 million over budget—18-month delay.. Waterfront project—$1.3 billion over budget—six-month delay.• Education Ministry tower—$300 million over budget—20-month delay. Performing Arts Centre—$234 million over budget—one-year delay.South PRC—$238 million over budget—13 months overdue.Beverly Hills Housing—$106 million cost overrun—65-month delay.Lara Stadium—$800 million cost overrun”

    We see this mindset again in the Seabridge scenario $273 million per year for 4 old boats instead of the super fast Galicia 3.5 hours at $44.3 million per year. None of those boats will arrive before 5 hours. The port authority is controlled by the 1%, not by the Works minister. This is how the PNM handling the economy in a time of fiscal austerity. Yes I do fault the PNM much more because they rule this country for over 35 years out of the 50 years. The wasted billions.

    It was in the early 80s the PNM ran out of ideas, they were brankrupt. Over time they recovered under Manning who had a vision who belong to a generation of hard working citizens. Yes there were some things that he did in terms of spending. But again the 1% manipulated things to their advantage. Pillaging the treasury.

    Kamla worked hard to turn around a failing economy. The problem though was still budgets that was astronomical aided and abetted by high oil prices. Rowley unfortunately faced a huge drop in oil prices that saw income dropped and the good old days gone. Wages in the government sector still remains high with $500 million paid to health care workers as backpay. The perks has to stop and fiscal prudence revisited. The government cannot borrow to pay workers, they have to reduce upper management salaries further. Plus reign in spending to come out of this economic earthquake hitting all oil base economies, Venezuela as a prime example of what could happen if fiscal prudence is not observed.

  • There can be no destruction, if no construction.It is easy to build a nation, but very difficult to build a society. Trinidad, is a cross over from the westminster way of governance,all we have are change of faces, black faces in white places, is this what you call nation building? how many social scientists have Trinidad produced who are able to articulate the ills? we may point fingers at the two K’, but all before them must partake in the blame. Now, let us be objective, wasn’t Trinidad created in crime? ethnic cleansing of the first peoples, slavery, indentureship and present day marginalization, isn’t that crime? a crime up to this day haven’t been exorcised.Colonial leaders don’t ever think for themselves, always looking over their shoulder hoping to get the thumbs up from their masters, has ROWLEY ever tell the nation, what was told to him by TRUMP? from WILLIAMS to the present, TRINIDAD prime ministers have had to navigate a narrow channel, no self determination, is this the rock a nation is built on? compared to other nations, TRINIDAD is like an infant growing up in a rich family with no discipline , we know how it usually turns out.As the doors of the industrialize countries continue to close on immigrants, TRINIDAD will have to look within, the Indians will never return to INDIA to be DALITS, the AFRICANS are scared of AFRICA, even though AFRICA is rising as we speak, the Chinese go and come as they want, Syrian and lebanese bank T&T money in the middle east. The blood of the people, that nations are built on, haven’t been spilt in Trinidad, the vision of nation building, have not been afforded,in the true sense, nothing has been constructed.

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