NOT BECAUSE ONE IS PARANOID…

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
December 16, 2019

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeON THURSDAY I read Jovanne Edmund’s protest against Junia Regrello being reappointed as the mayor of San Fernando.

A day earlier I had seen a video in which Edmund had made a similar plea as she protested in front of San Fernando City Hall. Her gripe, according to Newsday, was that Regrello’s son worked for the San Fernando Corporation. Her rationale was as follows: ‘Nobody would kill you to say your son working in the corporation… Come out plain and say so. The same way your son could eat a food, other people could eat a food too’ (Newsday, December 12).

Edmund declaims: ‘I was born a PNM and I will die a PNM.’ Some people detected a bit of deception in her declaration. It was revealed that Edmund had taken a photograph in a UNC jersey with Sachin Maharaj, the defeated candidate for Les Efforts East/Cipero electoral district in which she lives. Edmund had a theological response to unbelievers: ‘God says render your heart, not your garment.’

She also highlighted the political incompetence of Regrello and Faris Al-Rawi: ‘They are focusing me (sic) on this yellow jersey and not on the three seats they lost under Regrello and Faris Al-Rawi reign.’

One may think that Edmund suffered a bout of paranoia but she possesses an acute polemical sense. Her flair for polemics came through when I saw the video of Edmund’s protest. Although there were only a few supporters around her, she made three important observations.

First. ‘We need to give someone else a chance. There is young vibrant blood in the arms of the PNM that they (the party) can give that crown to, to carry it (the mayoralty) on.

Second. She queried: ‘I would like Mr Regrello, Mr Rowley, or someone else at City Hall in authority to answer this question: why have a lot of female workers in the administration department of the city corporation lost their jobs? Is it because they are not performing other personal duties?’

Third. She pleaded: ‘San Fernando West get back to the grassroots of your people. The people have worked hard for it (that is, placed PNM in a position of political authority). We need a change. (We need) young, vibrant blood. Give it (the mayoralty) to someone else who will make a difference and a fruitful contribution.’

Finland inaugurated 34-year-old Sanna Marin, the world’s youngest serving prime minister, to head its left-wing coalition government a day after Edmund made her plea.

Analyst Richard Milne noted: ‘Marin may not remain the world’s youngest government chief for long: Sebastian Kurz, who became Austrian chancellor at 31 in 2017, is leading talks to form a new government in Vienna. Other heads of state in their thirties include Jacinda Ardern, 39, who became New Zealand premier two years ago’ ( Financial Times, December 10).

Thirty-seven-year-old Pete Buttigieg is now leading the Democratic Party candidates who are vying to become the Democratic nominee to challenge Donald Trump for the US presidency. He has been the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, since 2011. Who knows what his fate will be?

Edmund also called upon the Prime Minister and Regrello to answer what seems to be allegations of abuse of women who were/are working in the San Fernando City Corporation. What else could she mean when she claims that women are being victimised (and even fired) because they do not perform ‘other personal duties’?

Such an allegation takes us to the #MeToo movement that addresses the pervasive sexual abuse against women, particularly in the workplace. It may surprise some people that the #MeToo movement was founded in 2006 by Tarana Burke, a black woman from the Bronx, who was not taken seriously when she began to raise her concerns about the sexual abuse of women.

We ought to listen to what Burke says about sexual violence and see if any of the following sentiments occur in Edmund’s charges: ‘You don’t have to be a Harvey Weinstein in order to make someone uncomfortable and wield your power in ways that make one feel powerless…

‘Sexual violence happens on spectrum — everything from someone making you uncomfortable to an environment that is unworkable or unlivable to actual physical violence-because if that is the truth, then accountability has to happen on a spectrum’ ( Vox, November 2019).

Who would want to challenge Edmund when she says that San Fernando West (and the other PNM constituencies) must get back in touch with its grassroots supporters if it wishes to be successful in next year’s general election? Edmund suggests that the grassroots have worked hard to make PNM what it is. The rich and privileged cannot throw away that legacy for which so many people have worked. I have sounded that alarm for the last four years.

It has been said that not because one is paranoid or is perceived to be paranoid means that one is stupid or out of step with one’s time. Paranoia suggests a mental condition that may be characterised by delusions of persecution or an exaggerated sense of self-importance. Sometimes that condition allows one to see what others cannot see or go where others are afraid to go.

Edmund is asking the party to re-examine itself if it wishes to make a difference in the 2020 elections.

They may dismiss her concerns at their peril. Interestingly enough, Regrello did not attend the swearing- in ceremony at San Fernando City Corporation on Thursday but by yesterday he was in the running again.

2 Responses to “NOT BECAUSE ONE IS PARANOID…”


  • In the latest diatribe offered by Selwyn Cudjoe, we see the spectacle of one political opportunist promoting the views of another “paranoid” political opportunist, one Jovanne Edmund. First of all, paranoiacs live in a world of unreality; they live in a world that not real. That is what accounts for their paranoia, the unreality, the fakeness. It’s all conspiracy theories created to con the credulous and gullible. But let’s look at the claims made.
    The PNM should give the young people a chance, that’s one of the things Cudjoe claims Edmund is saying. “Finland inaugurated 34-year-old Sanna Marin, the world’s youngest serving prime minister, to head its left-wing coalition government a day after Edmund made her plea”, I guess Finland was listening to Edmund. Giving young people a chance is the bedrock principle of the PNM and it was shown by the amount of young people that went up for local government elections on the PNM side. Did you see their presentation of candidates? The UNC on the other hand put up a bunch of mostly older, over the hill candidates. Nothing wrong with that but don’t accuse the PNM of neglecting the youth, the PNM has made sure that the youths are given opportunities in contrast with the UNC where the same old timers control everything. And then Cudjoe throws in Pete Buttigieg, who he claims “is now leading the Democratic Party candidates who are vying to become the Democratic nominee to challenge Donald Trump for the US presidency”, I don’t know where he gets that patently false information or how as someone who wants to be a credible journalist he can say that, but maybe America is not listening to Edmund because the three leading candidates in the Democratic Party are Biden, Sanders and Warren and they are all above 70 years old. Trump himself is over 70. And by the way the one institution in T&T that needs to give young people a chance is the media. Look at the newspaper commentators, most of them have been around since the 1970s and even before that. A few are objective and insightful but most are just old fogies grinding the same axe they have been grinding for as long as most people can remember. The newspaper columnists we are presented every week come up with the same old tired clichés. The media should give young people a chance and retire these tired old sclerotic columnists. Give young people a chance, media.

    Secondly Cudjoe claims that Edmund made some allegations or insinuations about the treatment of women in the San Fernando City Corporation and he brings up the issue of the MeToo movement in America. The MeToo movement has advocated for the victims of sexual abuse and harassment and has done a tremendous amount of good for those who struggling against the inequality of the established order in America, an order protected by its ability to spend as much as necessary to legally nullify the claims of victims. The MeToo movement was an attempt to fight for justice in the face of the nullification of the cries of victims. The movement however has been criticized for the claim that a mere accusation ‘trumps’ due process by the legal system. Let us hope that Cudjoe is not advocating for the abrogation of due process in the legal system.
    Of course the PNM must be in touch with its grassroots, that is a given. The PNM must support the grassroot members, that is a given. But all members of the PNM must see the PNM as the political vehicle that can take them to the ‘promised land’. That was the vision of its founder. It required belief in the party not fickleness, not turning away when the first obstacle arises. PNM members have to be mentally strong or else they will fall victim to the propaganda of those who have always hated the party and what it has tried to accomplish – to make it possible for all of us to aspire to a decent life, not just a few of us who aspire to thief out the treasury.

  • In his article Selwyn Cudjoe says, “Paranoia suggests a mental condition that may be characterised by delusions of persecution or an exaggerated sense of self-importance. Sometimes that condition allows one to see what others cannot see or go where others are afraid to go.” Selwyn seems to be suffering from selective paranoia that appears to be a consequence of his political opportunism. He seems to be suffering from delusions of persecution when it comes to the PNM but when it comes to the UNC he cannot see or is afraid to go there, or maybe he just duncy. A case in point is in his world tour of political happenings from Finland to New Zealand to the USA, he misses out Modi’s India which is in the news at the moment because of the protests occurring there about the controversial Citenzenship Amendment Act (CAA) which discriminates against Muslims. India Today, 17/12/1019, reports that “Entry, exit gates of multiple Metro stations closed after massive protests in Delhi’s Seelampur”. CNN reported on 16/12/2019 that “Deadly protest erupted across India Sunday over a controversial citizenship bill that critics fear could further marginalize the country’s minority Muslim community. Protests broke out across nine states, including in major cities such as Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and the capital New Delhi, mostly around university campuses. Meanwhile, ongoing protests in Assam, in India’s northeast, turned violent, with at least five people killed, police said.” Surely that news may allow one “to see what others cannot see or go where others are afraid to go”.

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