Time to replace the PNM

By George Alleyne
October 7 2009 – newsday.co.tt

www.trinidadandtobagonews.com

PNMIt is time for a multi-racial and multi-economic group political party to emerge which will effectively challenge and replace the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) at the next General Election. The country should be prepared to accept that the PNM today is but a simulacrum of the party which the late Dr Eric Williams created.

There can be no doubt in the minds of concerned citizens that the social, economic and moral issues arising out of positions adopted by the PNM Government and the Urban Development Company of Trinidad and Tobago (Udecott), specifically with respect to over budget Udecott projects and the Uff Inquiry, demand that the Government be replaced. While the cost overruns and the reported reasons which have been advanced as major contributory factors to these overruns are by themselves disturbing, Government’s reluctance, or is it refusal, to act makes many nationals uncomfortable.

Yet another point of concern has been the Administration’s increasingly clear opposition to the Separation of Powers of the Legislative, Executive and Judicial arms of Government. Briefly, the Legislative arm is invested with the power to make laws, the Executive to implement them and the Judicial to interpret those laws. The Separation of Powers is an important aspect of the Westminster system of Government which Trinidad and Tobago, as a former British colony, inherited at the time it achieved Independence in 1962.

Admittedly, in the UK there is a level of overlapping as the Lord Chancellor is a member of both the Executive, as a Cabinet Minister, and of the Judiciary which, incidentally, he heads. While the Lord Chancellor does, on occasion, sit as a member of the Appellate Committee and has even given dissenting opinions his sitting on the Appellate Committee is increasingly rare.

Meanwhile, in Trinidad and Tobago, a draft Constitution, which has been put forward by the PNM Government for study and comment, has advanced the creation of a Minister of Justice, in essence the Trinbagonian equivalent of a Lord Chancellor.

The fundamental difference, however, between the UK experience and what is being offered here is that while in the UK the process evolved in TT the draft Constitution seeks, tacitly, to impose Executive control of the Judicial arm. This is untenable. Perhaps I should add that even in the UK although there has never been any questionable intervention by the Executive in the independence of the Judiciary, nonetheless there have been moves to reform the system, re the Lord Chancellor. Given the above the draft Constitution’s proposed Ministry of Justice should be regarded as suspect. And with it the motives of Government.

I shift gears. There are sections of the Constitution which need to be amended yet have not been addressed by the draft. I refer to one — Section 77 (1) — which if sensibly amended would limit the power of a Prime Minister to intimidate MPs of a ruling Party. It is imperative that this section be amended as it confers on any office holder of Prime Minister, in the event of a vote of no confidence being passed in the Lower House against him, the power to advise the president to dissolve Parliament. The significance of this lies in the power of a political leader of the PNM to decide which candidates are selected to contest a general election under the Party’s banner.

Section 77 (1) should be redrafted so as to require a PM to resign as is largely done under the Westminster system, and clear the way for another member of the ruling Party to be put forward as PM. This, clearly, would be more in keeping with the democratic process than the absurd proposal for a Minister of Justice.

Earlier I had referred to Government’s handling of Udecott. It is strange that Government could have acted so expeditiously in ordering the Boards of TSTT and PTSC to withdraw motions seeking to have unions representing their workers decertified yet appears impotent to do something with respect to action taken by Udecott. Government’s action re Udecott and by extension the Uff Inquiry and its demonstrated plan, telegraphed by the Draft Constitution, to seek control of the Judiciary, along with other moves, are by themselves signals that concerned nationals should seriously consider the formation of a more citizen conscious political Party.

http://www.newsday.co.tt/editorial/0,108723.html

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16 Responses to “Time to replace the PNM”


  • The PNMites of T&T are so obsessed with political power based on race that they are unable or unwilling to see the dangers of which Mr. Alleyne speaks.
    The UNC is no different

  • I say AMEN to that. The PNM is a drag. The current leadership is intellectually bankrupt, and portrays a sense of entitlement that is the epitome of hubris. They are dragging T & T down to the lowest level of political disrepute.

  • I WOULD LIKE TO VOICE MY TOTAL AGREEMENT WITH YOUR ARTICLE “TIME TO REPLACE THE PNM”. I HAVE BEEN ADVOCATING FOR THE LONGEST WHILE, THAT THE TIME HAS COME TO DOUGLARISE THE
    POLITICS OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO. MULTI-RACIAL, MULTI-CULTURAL AND MULTI-ECONOMICAL POLITICAL ORGANISATION TO MOVE OUR BELOVED COUNTRY FORWARD. OUR POLITICAL LANDSCAPE HAS SEEN POLITICIANS USE THE RACE CARD TO DIVIDE AND RULE, THIS MUST NOW COME TO AN END. THE 21ST CENTURY HAS BROUGHT NEW CHALLENGES TO OUR COUNTRY, THE REGION AND TO THE WORLD AT LARGE.
    OUR DEPENDENCE ON FOSSIL FUELS TO SATISFY OUR ENERGY NEEDS CAN NO LONGER BE SUSTAINED, OTHER SOURCES OF ENERGY THAT IS RENEWABLE AND ENVIRONMENTALY FRIENDLY ARE ON THE FRONT BURNERS OF DEVELOPED COUNTRIES. ALTERNATIVE SOURCES OF ENERGY SUCH AS SOLAR, WIND, GEOTERMAL, HYDRO, BIO-DISEL AND ETHONOL HAVE BOLTED TO THE FOREFRONT WHILE OUR GOVERNMENT HAS STUCK THEIR COLLECTIVE HEAD IN THE SAND. VISION 2020 IS A FLOORED DOCUMENT BASED ON OUR DEPLETING RESOURCES AND A VISION THAT LOOKS VERY BLURRY RIGHT NOW BECAUSE THE FUNDS HAVE DRIED UP.
    TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO NEEDS A NEW DIRECTION, WE NEED NEW LEADERS AND A FRESH START, WITH OUR COUNTRY FIRST ATTITUDE. SO LET US BE THE GENERATION THAT STOOD UP AND TAKE CONTROL OF OUR BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY, LET THE REVOLUTION BEGIN, A DOUGLA REVOLUTION.

    TocoBoy

  • I am NOT impressed one iota by his statements, as I recall when the the multi ethnic NAR was around it was brought to nothing as the Indo component sabotaged Mr Robinson every inch of the way even conspiring with Islamic insurgent Bakh to remove Robinson! (making a false claim that it was Indos that beat the PNM in 1986 and NOT afro voters & therefore Panday should’ve been PM) rejecting the lame Chambers with no clue how to handle the dying economy.

    Strange when the UNC was drowning in a cesspool of allegations with regards to gunmen being hired to kill even unc members (Samuirsingh) gold accounts in London banks plus mansions etc I don’t remember Mr Alleyne calling for the removal of the UNC?(if I’m wrong plz correct me)

    Its very interesting that Mr Alleyne claims that the PNM is a former shadow of itself, when it was more “Neo Socialist” under Mr Williams. But since the collapse of the first oil boom in 1982 the PNM under Chambers had no solutions but to hope and pray back then for another oil boom (Desmond Carty “hold ah strain nah de price of oil will go back up soon” 1986 PNM campaign)

    Mr Alleyne does not mention in his article he is a commited SOCIALIST and would PREFER T&T’s political economy to be strongly socialist in its orientation, since the current PNM gov’t in his eyes are NOT interested in his version of “socialism” Chavez style he wouyld like to see the PNM removed.

    Mr Alleyne needs to level with the public on way he would call for the removal of a legal and FREELY electecd gov’t on the issue of UDECOTT comess when such issues are not new to the public, I wonder how much he got payed for this stupid article?

    My opinion UNC=COP. COP=UNC B. I will NEVER waste my time voting for ANY version of the anti afro DLP!

  • Mike, Samuel, you are obviously “PNM till ah dead”. If you believe that the sun rises and sets over Manning, obviously there is nothing that could change your mind. You always parrot the same song over and over again. In doing so you do yourself a disservice. If you PNM diehards really think blaming the UNC, when the PNM have ruled TnT for so long, is the way to go then “fill your boots”. But, at the rate young black males are dying it’s only a matter of time my friend.

  • You are so right Mr. Alleyne, wake up prominent, competient and experienced people who would really like to save our Country. Get together very soon and unite to remove all those corrupt so called politicians in the PNM and UNC. Thousands of Trinis abroad are willing to return home to make a meaningful contribution.
    I wish we had a vote !
    Concerned Trini
    Toronto.

  • Calling all future politicians: We need people who would commit unstintedly to Trinidad and Tobago, rather than to party=ethnic group. We need an educated Dougla named Mohammed, married to paignol. That Mohammed should be a modern follower of Islam who had a Catholic mother, and the paignol should have relatives who are Hindus and Spiritual Baptists, and be a Christian.That would be the beginnings of a multicultural party that would embrace all. We need people with degrees in economics, political science,petroleum technology and education as well as agribusiness, who will insist on re-negotiating the contracts presently in force with all the foreign oil and gas companies raping our motherland.

    We need people who would put country first, who has had some experiencen in what is poossible in metropolitan countries, and at the ame time are familiar with small proect development as practiced by the women of places like BAngladesh and rural India. We need some engineers who would not theorize about flood control, but would do something about it. We need people without fear, who can withstand an audit of their personal finances, who would take an oath of loyalty to our twin island state, and who would be willing to forfeit their lives and living if they fail to reform the place. We need educators with vision, who undestand that all children need an understanding of all the cultural streams that produce us. This may mean a re-writing of some of our textbooks. We need to purge the exiting textbooks of put-downs of groups of people, and we need people who would honestly report on our past history. We need a hall of heroes that our children can look up to and emulate.

    Now,will those willing to work for this party, please stand up?
    I volunteer to revise the textbooks at the elmentary level,and remove from them portrayals of people who helped found our country, as diminished.
    We need a national song writing contest the lyrics of which songs will uplift all our people. We need a muti-language school, where English, Spanish, Yoruba and Hindi are taught in elementary to all children; and Swalihi and Arabic added at high school. We need to incorporate aspects of national service into our high scholl curriculum, as a requirement for graduation.

    We need to ensure that our children grduate technologically functional, and redy for the workplace in sme chosen field.

    Anyone wants this new party?

  • I have always believed that David Abdulah fits bill as a future leader of that multi ethnic party. I know David is on the “left” but we could gather the type of people around him to bring balance and stability. I am sure he would not say so. Let’s see how many of you will stand behind him.

  • I know David through unionism, and have great respect and affection for him. What sort of wife does he have?(This is very important) Would the fact that his father is a former very conservative Anglican Bishop of Trinidad and Tobago stand in his way? Would he lead a new party if asked? Who will ask?DAvid’s personal charisma and eloquence can draw many to him, and he knows the inside of the oil business, so he knows how we are being ripped off.

  • I can’t understand what his wife gotta do with it, but I know his mother has some Asian in her, which makes him a kinda… Tiger Woods to me. Then, he has been organizing the farmers in Trinidad (most of whom are Indians) and is one of the few people still truly representing the working class. However, I am sure that there are people out there who would brand him communist so the challenge is getting the rest of the package. David will accept if there is really a movement, I know he is a fervent nationalist. As for who would nominate him I think I did and you second it. Great so far. Maybe the movement has started for the TNT National Party.

  • My reason for asking about the wife is the effect the pull of love can have either away from or towards nationalism. One needs a stable relationship at home to move a country forward. Eric Williams did not have this, and I remember when a Dr. Maylene Mook Sang claimed she was his wife, and Alistair Williams, the unknown son, turned up. I remember too, the fact that Randolph Burroughs had an Indian wife who was the brother of Dole Chadee. It was believed that pillow talk between man and wife allowed Chadee to build the criminal empire he did in Piparo, complete with radar and surveilance. Pres. Robinson, on the other hand seems to have had a wife who was a true partner in nation building, as did our Muslim prsiden, whose name I will recall as soon as I press submit.
    Pres. Obama, my other president, has a wife too, who apears to be a true partner. These are more than models of nationbuilding, they are models of family life. Our country needs both. Wives of leaders are VERY important.

  • Ian, no two people, discussing an idea, in response to an editorial comment, can endorse, or seem to endorse the formation of a “new” party. We do not have the power to call anthing into effect. The people have to want change, put their shoulders to the wheel and push like hell. I was setting out some criteria for change because in my nearly seventy years on this earth, I have heard a lot of talk and promises, until people get their hands on the national purse strings.

    I watched the rise and fall of the NAR, in fact, I coined the phrase “NAR Gold” for the complexion of the average NAR member- that group of people who do not want to identify with African Trinidadians, and are not originated in India. My mother would have called them “nowhererians”. That group tends to play footsie with both parties, and come out on top no matter what. I met such a woman recently in the US who was proud of the fact that since she “left that place” just after the 1970 revolt, she never went back, has no desire to go back, but clings to the idea of being a trini.Maybe her papers were not in order at first, but I heard in her voice a kind of bitterness tinged with disgust at her own kind. There are hundreds of thousands of self exiled trinis, and I wondered what role they would play in any political change.
    The politics of vengeance, of our turn to eat at the trough cannot be the politics of intelligent change. So, I do not want anyone assuming that I am seconding the nomination of David for anything. Sorry about the misspelling of “president” in the first post. The phone rang and I had to sign off or lose it.

  • I’m NOT interested in one more union leader as PM we tried that with Panday and we progressives wern’t impressed one bit.(FYI I voted NAR back in 1986)

    Instead of promoting “democratic socialism” I want to see the state promoting “DEMOCRATIC CAPITALISM”! i am FED UP of state run corporations etc, I want to see Credit Unions & Co-operatives owning factories of all types, plants, Mega farms Marina’s boat yards hotels resorts guest houses, cruise ships ship yards to repair small ships etc, small airlines, Truck Transports Supermarket chain stores, Home Depot style hardware stores Home building companies, construction groups, Housing Estates, Apartments for rent Condos etc, Private Clinics Hospitals medical labs Community Colleges, Private High Schools law firms.

    ANY party that helps that to come to past will get my support.

  • You might have to wait a while, Mr. Samuel. I suggested that a state enterprise where I was a manager in the mid-80’s(Under PNM then NAR)give employees shares in the company as an incentive. It was considered one of the more forward looking and progressive ones,but was being looted by senior management, especially the CEO, a local white. I was promptly fired. I sued, and won of course, but decided not to risk my future with backward thinking people.

    I would say David Abdullah is 180 degrees across from that drunken other union leader.
    Ideas like free education for all, free medical care, the Alien Landholding Ordiance,and the benefits that accrue to seniors in public transportation and so on, are socialist ideas that need to be retained for the future of our country. In my travels I have held TnT up as a standard that makes for peace and builds up the common life. In the great USA, the brightest poor child may never get a chance, unless someone finds him or her and decides to invest in them.
    I love my country of birth, and I see the dangers of capitalism here in the USA.Here the state takes care of you, medically, only when you are older than sixty-five, or if you are totally dirt poor.I would not want to change the system we have in TnT.It is the best, what we need to do is rededicate ourselves to make what we have work.We need to build nationalism in place of racism.

    There are too many young people who turn to crime, because three generations of their family have never found work. That is wrong.

    Our national resources need to be redistributed, so that all could benefit. A capitalist system would not allow for that.Look at the furore about property taxes.If the average TnT homeowner had to pay a separate high price for water, electricity, garbage, street lights, security and a separate tax on every item purchased, plus state and federal taxes on income, we would understand the benefits of informed socialism.Our lives are subsidized back in Tnt so that more could live, not just the rich.

  • Oh, I took the time to correct my errors in typing, and a brillint piece, was lost. I am done with this, but I think Abdullah is 180 degrees away form Panday.I expect that I will see some version of what I wrote as a news item somewhere soon. this happens too often to talk about. I photographed on such piece about two months ago.

  • Well, what are you guys waiting for, lets get the TTNP started.(Trinidad & Tobago National Party)

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