The Arrogant and Insensitive

By Stephen Kangal

In a reliable Guardian poll published on Thursday 2 November, ninety-five percent of persons interviewed accused Cabinet Ministers of being increasingly arrogant, insensitive and disrespectful of the polity that elected them. Consider the obscene and vulgar conduct of bad john MP Achong at the Chatham Youth Centre. Against his own Point Fortin constituents. That is the beginning of the end of the Manning regime for they are sowing the seeds of their own political demise as they did in pre-1986. Power has corrupted them absolutely.

Well PM Manning in his Thursday 9 November post-cabinet Press briefing provided ample evidence of this growing menace of the arrogant and the insensitive. He sought to hoodwink the beleaguered population, without success into believing that his Government always assessed all projects carefully, holistically and thoroughly. Consequently his Government, in his view, cannot be faulted on any of his billion dollar mega-projects but specifically on the Chatham smelter. He was fully convinced that neither the forthcoming PR symposium nor a parliamentary debate could halt this “done deal”. That is a fait accompli with no concern for the people of Chatham the majority of who may belong to a group that is always relegated to the periphery and the marginalised. The PNM is not capable of acting politically and otherwise outside the confines of the interests of its own ethnic box and govern for all of multicultural T&T.

This would appear to be natural, impulsive and consistent in its current and past skewed allocation and distribution of the rewards of the state. This malaise in our plural society that has kept T&T divided between rural decay and neglect and urban favouritism must be addressed by all outside the PNM ethnic box in the interest of achieving equitable and caring governance for all. One has only to look at its differing attitudes to agriculture and the construction industry, the sedentary life style diseases and HIV, public housing programme etc to fully appreciate the message. The PNM will always cut its political nose to spite its ethnic face especially in its attitude to food and agricultural production.

Is there anyone who will agree that the now billion dollar Torouba Complex/Tsunami Shelter now unceremoniously abandoned by the ICC-World Cup for staging ordinary warm up games involving mediocre teams was carefully scrutinized? Was opting for the World Cup Brown Skin Gul Package for T&T well thought out and sensitive to the aspirations/ national pride of our massive cricketing fraternity to showcase our Caribbean jewel and to provide appeal to our young to play more cricket for T&T? Cricket is now treated quite foolishly as an Indian-dominated game to be relegated into neglect and rewarded way below the largesse showered on soccer by the PNM- State

Was careful thought invested in the building of the Interchange ahead of the several roundabouts that has now created a gridlock on the CRH? Were the residents of Chatham ever consulted to date on the scourge of the smelter from a human-environmental-health viewpoints? What thought went into the white elephantine monstrosity of Imbert’s billion dollar Rapid Rail when Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) has now been fired for a clear conflict of interest. No prior but mandatory feasibility study of the RRS has been conducted hitherto?

Who in T&T can reply to me to convince me that locating the Chinese funded and perhaps Chinese built Performing Arts Centre in the Princess Building Ground cheek by jowl to the Carnival Centre in the Savannah and opposite to Queen’s Hall meets the criteria of care, equity, regional justice, balanced development and real integration of T&T? Is this not being boxed by ethnic-urban politics?

Why erect massive Government buildings in POS that will intensify the traffic gridlock when you are committed by a publicly uttered decentralisation policy to making Regional Corporations, in the style of the THA, implementers of all government policies, programmes, projects and priorities save for energy, foreign affairs and finance? Large numbers of Government daily paid and public servants will no longer travel to POS in droves because they will be absorbed by the respective Corporations. Using the innocent and neglected people of serene and tranquil Chatham as sacrificial lambs to be slaughtered on the anvil of non-sustainable, environmentally degrading, human life threatening industrialisation without a human face is degrading the human spirit or what Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh dubbed as “cumulative genocide”.

2 Responses to “The Arrogant and Insensitive”

  • But Mr. Kangal, it depends on who you ask. Pollsters poll selected groups. Those in TnT who regard themselves as the elite- the landed French creole and others on the board of the Guardian, those types, and the opposition who have been kicked out and somekicked before the courts, will doubtless give you one response. Others, depending on who they are and where they are placed on the political socio-economic color spectrum, would give another.

    My memory of the Grand Old Lady of St. Vincent Street is that the people there openly referred to Dr. Eric Williams as “monkey Eric”. I cite this not to tar and feather them, but to remind you that a sililar phrase was used by the US Senator from Virginia who was defeatedby Webb, to describe a young American reporter of East Indian descent who was filming the Senator’s campaign speech. The ex-senator was talking to an all-white audience at the time.The ex-senator spoke directly into the mike and was caught on camera.He called him a “macaca” corrupt word for a macaque monkey. Now if his office polled his constuituency on how they feel about South Asians in America, they would give negative results. If the winning Senator Webb’s staff conducted a poll, their results would be positive towards the same group, because that “macaca” comment helped topple the opposition.

    Simarly, if the ruling elite of Venezuela was polled about Chavez, their president, all their results would be negative. If you poll the street people, the long deprived, and formerly hopeless, you would get a different result. That is why Chavez keeps winning.

    People in responding to polls, seek their own self interest, not that of the community as a whole. Statistics and polls could prove anything.

    I do not know the members of Cabinet, except as I see them in the newspaper. I cannot therefore attest to anything about their characters.
    I only point out the fallaciousness of a poll conducted by people whose self interest are diametrically opposite to that of the common man, and the tendency of some pollsters to load questions a particular way. It would be interesting to see the demographics of the respondents, and the actual questions asked.

  • I read a good one today from Colm Imbert. – He siad don’t blame government for spending for inflation. It’s vegetables that is driving inflation up. So I see…it’s government’s virtual vendetta on agriculture that is driving inflation in Trinidad and not the willy-nilly spending on construction. Colm, you should hit your fellow minister up-side the head for being so stupid when only a week ago he admitted to gov’t spending driving up the rate of inflation.

    The reason for me telling this is to reinforce Linda Edwards point…depending on who you ask, you will get completely different answers. Which leads me to believe everyone is a liar! Did Larry Achong really cuss up that girl? Did Manning’s gov’t really not bid for any world cup packages? Did they really have no consultation of the Smelter Projects? I don’t know….there’s so much lying that takes place. And the voters are no different! 95% will accuse Cabinet Ministers of being increasingly arrogant, insensitive and disrespectful but time elections roll around, they will put those same Ministers back into power. So even the average citizen is a liar. What makes it so funny is that one lie can be countered with another lie. No facts are needed to back up a lie because the lying public don’t care about facts.

    So to tie this in with what Mr. Kangal is saying – Arrogant people lie and expect to be believe without ever providing facts. Trinidadians will believe anything without proof because they follow like blind (lying) sheep. Ms. Edwards, you are right, Statistics and polls could prove anything and might I add, 60% of people know that!

    But Mr. Kangal, all the grips you list, can they really be attributed to Arrogance, Incensitivity or even Malice? Allow me to leave with a quote, “Never attribute Arrogance/Malice to an event when stupidity is the more plausable explanation.”

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