Geezers’ promoting rage and war

By Raffique Shah
March 21, 2010

Basdeo Panday and Patrick ManningA seething rage has gripped this country in a manner we have never before seen. It’s frightening. Ever since I was a boy, I learned that the vast majority of our people have what I can only describe as a delightful sense of humour. But for a few ‘sourpusses’, we laugh at everything-from ourselves to pranks people play on us to remarks made by others that we find hilarious. For all our shortcomings, our weaknesses, Trinidadians and Tobagonians are generally a fun people.

Now I am growing increasingly concerned over the undisguised rage I see, from top to bottom. I can easily empathise with the collective ire of citizens who, not having had water for months, turn delirious and vent their rage by blocking roadways and burning rubble to force the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) to do what the utility ought to have done in the first place. It’s easy to understand why villagers in remote districts or those in urban areas would vociferously protest the conditions of their roads.

But these are fleeting, justifiable expressions of outrage (more than rage) that subside as soon as the authorities rectify their problems. The masses have learned it takes burning tyres and other debris for them to get within hours what ministries and other government agencies fail to deliver in years.

That kind of rage I understand. What I cannot understand is the mindset of criminal gangs that, say, raid a Belmont house and shoot and kill everything that moves, even the family dog. I envisage the leader of the ‘posse’ briefing his shooters before the action: ‘When we finish wid dem, not a soldier must be left standing!’

When, however, this kind of mindless rage reaches into the upper echelons of society, when it seethes in Parliament only to explode on political platforms, we need to take stock of just where this country is heading.

I used to think that only Basdeo Panday saw himself as a kind of ‘political capo’, venting his spleen with facial contortions that made him look more constipated than angry. He would snarl, bite and threaten. He took to wearing a red beret on platforms-signs of someone who always fantasised being a soldier but never got the opportunity when he was of combat age.

Now an old geezer, he donned the beret. He was lauded and applauded by some of the very people who later turned around and booted his backside out of his own house. No one had the guts to tell him: ‘Olds, take it easy nah! Your battling days are long gone. Your best bet is to wear a cowboy hat, mount a jackass and ride off into the sunset!’

No, they didn’t-none of them. They applauded his antics, the one-time king of the court turned jester. They didn’t have the balloons to tell him the lion had reached his winter and that he should go in peace rather than end up in pieces.

Today a similar, if not identical, scenario is being enacted by Patrick Manning and the People’s National Movement (PNM). A once gentle young man, Manning has morphed into a raging old bull. Worse for him, he does not realise his own dilemma. Maybe strange voices are telling him he is a born-again ‘Patrick the Great’, that he is ready to conquer the world, or maybe just the Eastern Caribbean!

When I looked at the Prime Minister of this country declare war against local contractors, I saw in his features and fulminations a Model 2010 Hitler, almost to the proverbial ‘H’. His storm troopers wore red; Hitler’s wore brown or black. But their ’causes’ and tactics were similar. Attack the enemy inside their homes, if you must cross the cross! Stamp on the black and brown cockroaches that are making The Chief’s life hell!

In his twilight years, when he should be thinking of playing with his grandchildren, Manning wants to go to war! What childish fantasies these old geezers seize upon as their minds degenerate. Hey, I am a trained soldier, one of the best in my day, as those who served with me would attest to. But those glory days are far behind me now. Having reached geezer status (the PM and I are same age), I would not make a fool of myself by marching down my street like the shell-shocked ‘Mickey’, whistling bugle calls.

True, soldiers never die-only their privates do. But responsible old servicemen have a duty to advise the young that war is never a first option, that war is always hell. Instead, besides belting out blood-curdling battle-cries, Manning is setting benchmark behaviour for the likes of Marlene McDonald. That woman comes across as someone who cannot engage in a civil conversation. She seems incapable of being polite.

How can these leaders counsel the young to think rationally, to ‘chill out’ rather than fall victims to uncontrollable rage? Misleading by example, they instead portray rage and war as acceptable conduct. At a time when we should be a leading light to the region, if not the world, we are descending into the netherworld of darkness. Why are we surprised at the rage exhibited by the young and daring?

2 Responses to “Geezers’ promoting rage and war”


  • Soft on the public interest
    It is accepted that public officials cannot use their office for the improper advancement of their own or their family’s interests. From the moment therefore that a Member of Parliament, Mr Ramesh Maharaj SC, disclosed in the House, in early 2008, circumstances to suggest that a public official had advanced family interests, law enforcement authorities should have swung into action to investigate whether there was a case to answer that such advancement had taken place and had done so in improper circumstances.

    The PNM disciplines its Political Leader: a retrospective
    The People’s National Movement (PNM) as an organisation has recently been the object of public scrutiny and indeed curiosity. People want to know something about how it selects, evaluates, and disciplines its errant members, and how it deals with leaders who bring the party into disrepute.

    Temblor shaking, stirring T&T political ground
    On the last occasion anyone remembers police investigators talking business with Prime Minister Patrick Manning, it didn’t end well. Not for the man being investigated. Clinton Auguste, then being investigated, almost exactly one year ago, was fired from his police officer job, for the offence of “disreputable conduct”.

    Front pages, police and paranoia
    It was about time someone poured oil on the deeply troubled waters, although the Attorney General wasn’t exactly the leading candidate for the job.

    PM: I’m following Christ’s footsteps
    Being a good Christian, Manning said he knew he would be following in Christ’s footsteps and his political life would be resurrected.

    PNM throws support behind Manning
    Despite widespread concern about his handling of the affairs of the country, the membership of the People’s National Movement (PNM) yesterday overwhelmingly passed a resolution supporting the leadership of its political leader Prime Minister Patrick Manning.

  • What Killed T & T ??? Plain and simple foreign outside sources.
    Foreign Greed and Lust for Power and Wealth. The Satanic Cult of The Movie industries and Music Industries.
    Every nuke being blown into society tends to weaken and destroy society rather than build up society.
    Not everyone have Ears to Hear- Not everyone have Eyes to See.
    This sudden rush for Materialism is being promoted in every tentacles of the life now. No spirituality, no morals, no value system. No absolute Truth to abide by.
    The Movie= Mad Mad World is what it really is, re-writing of history, re-writing of Democracy and Republicanism that are governed by Constitutional Laws- When the Western World come to grip what has been taken from them, it would be to late.
    Remember T & T National anthem: Forged from the love of Liberty. This is in reference to the United States Constitution. The very Constitution came into existence by bloodshed and Revolution.Fighting for Liberty- In Politics and Religion.
    Trinidad was so good in the old time days, going down the trace for coconuts and Sugar cane. Bringing dry wood for the fireside. Playing marble pitch and rounders, Christmas time had everybody together. Neighbors exchanging gifts with one another. Treat given out in primary schools.
    Sexism and vulgarity playing out in Carnival has destroyed even the carnival down here.
    Picking Guava, Chennette, Mango, Pumsette, Planting Dashing and eddoes, Cassava bread and Coconut bake. baking in the old oil barrel outside. People today don’t know about these days.
    Who can bring back these days ? Modernism is way out of Touch- Materialism is way out of Touch-
    Most of the old People is Dieing out. We have lost our Legacy. We have lost our T&T – to outsiders !!!
    This Old Time Days should be Taught in the Classrooms.
    Take it Back–

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