Election 2010: An Opportunity for Change

Election 2010

By Heru
May 03, 2010
www.trinidadandtobagonews.com/blog

Here is my blunt take on this upcoming election. Neither the UNC and their United Force of Change nor the PNM are truly convincing to me but that cannot stop me from taking steps now that would be part of a process to get improved governance. Doing nothing is not an option as it can encourage the wrongs that exist to continue and for non-doers to be also complicit in them. There is no way that we will be absolutely absolved from complicity in the wrongs of any government. We have to continually work at ebbing away our complicity by working towards improved governance which starts with people being honest and objective about what they want and how they go about getting it.

There is no perfect solution or magical formula for developing the society. It is not acceptable to just elect people to office and trust they would do the right thing. We should be forever vigilant, demanding accountability and becoming involved in all major decisions. A government must not be allowed to act in secrecy and then tell us it is for our own benefit. The danger of corruption there far outweighs the national security concerns some may have with exposing certain projects and decisions. An example of this is when the government bought spy equipment from Israel and divulged nothing to date under the cloak of national security. Now we are left to speculate about who the government is spying on especially given the Prime Minister’s penchant for boasting of secret knowledge of individuals. Therefore, it is not farfetched to assume that there are abuses taking place with the use of that spy equipment.

We are not a monarchic state so our government must act based on ongoing, reasoned discourses with the population at large. It would be foolhardy to expect that we would all agree with everything a government does, but there are issues that most of us can agree on if only we are willing to think outside the limitations of our political and other biases.

About this UNC alliance: of course, we can always get change for worse, but that should not stop us from trying different formulas as part of a strategic plan to improve governance. Personally, I have no problem with coalition governments even if they break up from time to time. In some respects, a coalition government can be healthier as it allows for a wider scope of views and interests to be considered. It also can act as a check and balance against authoritarian leadership.

For now, I think Mr. Patrick Manning has to be voted out of office. Also, there is little chance that the PNM would remove him as leader of the party while he is the prime minister. If Manning insists on staying on as the leader of the PNM if voted out, then the opposition stands a good chance of solidifying themselves in power, and the rank and file of the PNM knows that.

The final straw for me that we should rid ourselves of Manning came with the sudden plan to increase the Property Tax and the bogus way they went about promoting it. If the Patrick Manning-led PNM wins, then they will impose that oppressive Property Tax to make up for the shortfall in revenue brought on by their squandering of our resources. Manning’s government would continue with the rapid rail and smelter plants projects while disregarding the concerns of various interest groups. So if voters return this administration to government, they would be voting for the further squandering of our resources together with increased taxation.

It is interesting that many PNM supporters are openly saying that they are not voting for Patrick Manning; they are voting for the PNM. In other words, they acknowledge that Patrick Manning must go while they are still saying that they will vote for the PNM. These supporters of the PNM do not have a strategy to bring about the change they want. Once they vote for the PNM they would be allowing Manning to continue with the policies within the party and in government that they do not support. Supporters of the PNM should be willing to strategically vote for an alternative party if they wish to rid themselves of Manning and several of his government’s plans. If the PNM loses the election then Manning can be forced to step down and the party can reorganize to become more democratic and attractive.

On the campaign trail Patrick Manning is trying to make heavy weather of old allegations of corruption surrounding Jack Warner’s dealings in FIFA, much the same as Basdeo Panday did during the internal UNC elections. The fact that they are unable to make any solid argument against Jack Warner following his entry into local politics leaves many questioning the relevance of their concerns with his dealings within FIFA. But Jack Warner, who by virtue of being Black, wealthy and speaks with a stutter, already attracts a certain amount of distrust and discrimination even without the allegations of corruption within FIFA. Many people still underestimate the power he wields. They just cannot fathom this little, stuttering Black man being so powerful in FIFA (the most powerful and White-dominated football body) and internationally as a result of his position there. No wonder from time to time, different people, including PNM ministers, have complained to FIFA about Jack and were quickly and resoundingly rebuffed by FIFA. (Maybe one day I would write about how Jack Warner rose to prominence)

If Jack Warner was a supporter of the PNM he would have been a national hero with several national awards. But because he supports the UNC, the PNM government would never recognize him. It cannot be about allegations of corruption because the government has shown it would protect some people in spite of strong evidence to support corruption charges against them. Andre Monteil and Calder Hart are two persons that readily come to mind. Anyhow, the PNM government is in no position to defame Jack Warner based on old allegations of corruption in FIFA. FIFA is very protective of Warner and all his actions in FIFA appear to be sanctioned by them. Dragging up comments from Jennings (the British writer who has been going after Warner for decades) is useless at this time. If Manning was willing to tolerate the wastage of hundreds of millions of our taxpayer’s dollars and possible corruption by Calder Hart, then he is not justified to condemn Warner for what he may or may not have done outside of Trinidad and Tobago.

There has to be a reason Patrick Manning has been so protective of Calder Hart. He has dismissed other members of his administration like Eric Williams and Franklin Khan for far less than what Hart is being accused of. He also dismissed Keith Rowley from his cabinet for raising concerns about possible corruption surrounding Calder Hart and UDeCOTT. I often wonder if Hart is holding something over Manning’s head.

Since Manning attempted to purchase a prime ministerial jet, I concluded that his ego is way too inflated and as such, he is a danger to us all. He then vaingloriously went on to construct the Prime Minister’s palace to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars in spite of concerns about the state of the global economy. No amount of scaremongering and nonsensical talk about Indians possibly dominating Trinidad and Tobago would allow me to accept the corruption under this Manning-led PNM administration.

Patrick Manning called a snap election with the intention of not allowing the newly elected Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, time to develop and solidify her own policies and strategies for governance. Given that that was Manning’s intention I will not fault her too much for not clearly articulating how her government would move forward. I believe Kamla Persad-Bissessar will have to develop much of that plan along the way after consultation with various interest groups. She has committed herself to this process. I have no problem with that. The PNM has a plan of sorts largely involving a drain on the treasury and further squandering of our resources imitating the cosmetic development of the US and Europe with large buildings and lavish conferences that bring little or nothing to the people here.

Considering race relations, I do not expect the UNC under Kamla to be any worse than the current and previous PNM administrations – all of which never cared about addressing racial issues. More than that, the PNM discouraged the learning of and conscious development of our people through African history, among other things. They refused to allow media space on our state media for African programs while they allowed for Indian programming in the hope of garnering Indian support. Patrick Manning’s latest attempt at degrading the dashiki worn by NJAC’s leader Makandal Daaga together with his attempt to paint Dagga as a villain of sorts speaks volumes about where he stands on race issues.

I reject the idea that we should somehow be wary of an Indian-based government facilitating the development of the Indian community. The African-based PNM never showed any genuine interest in African culture and the African community and that is their fault. It is not even as if politicians really care about the development of their support base. We are yet to see a government that is bold enough to encourage learning from our different cultural perspectives as a prerequisite to removing racial distrust.

It is also evident that politicians really desire their support-base to be ignorant instead of developed. That way they can spin and evade serious issues while stealing and squandering our resources. A developed political base would choose better leaders instead of having them appointed and they would constantly challenge those leaders to operate more transparently and honestly. Our misleaders fear this.

The many things I dislike about the Kamla-led UNC alliance at this time are far less detrimental in comparison to what I dislike about the Patrick Manning-led PNM government. I would first be interested in seeing the back of Manning before I challenge the UNC about the issues that I feel they should address.

17 Responses to “Election 2010: An Opportunity for Change”


  • The most cohesive, solid block of voters in T&T have always been the PNM African voters.Their discipline and devotion to the party have been unwavering and now , in spite of Mannings’ failures, they are still dedicated to the cause, with the rationalization that their support is for the Party not the PM.
    I still believe that it would be very difficult to unseat the PNM. Look at Rowley’s loyalty, as he once again embraces Manning for the good of the Party.
    It seems that supporters of the PNM are willing to turn a blind eye and vote PNM because of their fear and distrust of the Coalition , especially since it is being led by an Indian. History dictates that this fear might be justified; however,at some point in our history as a nation we all have to take risks, especially when faced with the prospect of Manning being re-elected.

  • T-Man you have repeatedly spewed such nonsense , that sometimes I do not even know why I even bother to waste my precious time to respond. Still willing to insult the intelligence of African people, by dismissing them as if they are a bunch of sheeplike idiots, ehh? In the mean time , you cannot explain what transpired in 86 , 1995 , 2000 and 2001 , when your leaders got their acts together then squandered opportunities after.
    Tell me , did the Indians that habitually vote in a block to ensure that ULF, Club 88, and UNC get 10 or less seats since the party’s inception , demand that their families retun home from Europe and ‘Norte Americana,’during those periods listed to vote, or did Panday beg some of his Guyanese cousins with promises of quick citizenship, if they invade our country , quickly jump into bogus marriages so as to vote?
    I though you jokers had Obama dream team members on board to advise you on how to ‘win friends, influence people,’ and while extending respect to prospective voters.
    Can you not remember the backlash that occurred in the South for the over confident Clintons , when his Slickness , Bill ,placed his feet in his mouth, and tout the same racist garbage that African Americans ,were only voting Obama because he was black- yes the same African Americans ,that voted for him ,and his wife overwhelmingly through the years, even though they had absolutely nothing to show for their efforts.
    Yes T-Man ,Dookeran is a thoughtful, caring statesman, to stand by like a a loyal idiot ,and not contest a seat ,due to a flimsy promise of future Presidency, by her Highness. Is that what they are teaching to your lawyers , in Constitutional law at Hugh Wooding ?
    Kamla is wise beyond years for bringing into the political fray , second rate Judge Volney , one day after his resignation form the bench , irrespective to how unethical appears , and negative reflection on our Judiciary , when it comes non bias independent actions.
    She showed excellent judgement because she brought that racist Dr what ever, on board to run for office in Caroni, even as he spent the last few years of his useless life blaming our country for pushing genocide on Indians , only because a few of his stooges ,were unsuccessful in obtaining a position in one of the hospitals, that they probably thought it was their Karma to obtain simply because they showed up.
    Now because Rowley and Penny do not behave like unprincipled RATS like you are accustomed seeing , or jump into the UNC /COP/ NJAC/ OWTU cesspit as political traitors, they are depicted as loyal fools , fearful of crossing Manning, and therefore , more concerned about the interest of the party , as opposed to the country, yes? Is that how you jokers in your adopted homeland Canada do it?
    These fools do not even have the decency to give the man Rowley some credit for opening up the corruption pandoras box to ensure that they obtained an issue to run with, but voters must take them seriously, that Toco , Grande, Tobago, and similar neglected sectors in our country would finally get some love from conniving politicians.
    I am certain you recognize why I used the expression Pandoras Box , for guess which of the tribes would be leading the pack heading to Golden Grove, when the dust is settled after Madame K is forced to make good on her promise to ‘lock up ,and jail, all crooks and bandits in our country.’
    Hopefully ,we would not also see crocodile tears being shed before the global community , and the senile Privy Council Law Lords kept as a escape back up plan ,to bolster the bogus claims of politically motivated prosecutions- and why ? It would be her Police Service , her Judiciary , her DPP, and her crooked immoral lawyers leading and coordinating the process of cleaning up what ‘ALL Trinis,’ help create since 1962.
    Keep dreaming my friend, but a word of caution , don’t start counting those chickens too early before they hatch. Dogs can suck your eggs, and ‘snakes in the Baliser ‘ can slitter amongst the chicken run ,to’ bite hard,’and cause damage to well laid plans.
    Good lord,I got to change my nationality very soon so as not to be affiliated with the likes of T-Man and similar country haters. Not to Yankee land ,or Sheep country down under Australia/ New Zealand ,Maple leaf Canada ,like some of these frauds ,but perhaps St Kitts , Dominica, or Anguilla , where the folks are more progressive ,and less tribal in instincts.
    OK, I might leave Dominica out for the moment ,and choose St Lucia instead . Rumor has it that our loving ‘Trini Uncle Volney com Judge / Political Candidate ,’has too many Carib relatives from that area. Best wishes , and stay honest , my friend.

  • So tell me TMan, why did the UNC win the elections of 2000? Wasn’t it led by an “Indian?” You assume, wrongly I think, that all Afro-Trinidadians vote blindly for the PNM, just as you assume, wrongly again, that all Indo-Trinidadians vote blindly for the UNC. Your interpretation of Trinidadian history is wrong headed. If you were correct, UNC would not have defeated PNM in 2000. Again, how do you explain the outright one-on-one victory of the UNC over the PNM in 2000?

  • Very simple, Herbsman, the swing voters: Douglas, Chinese, Whites, Creoles, Christian Indians, Muslims, do not always vote “race”. These are the groups which decide the results of the elections in the marginal ridings.And, as we all know the marginals and sometimes Tobago decide who forms government. The irony of the situation is that both ethnic-based parties literally ignore these groups as they pander to their ethnic communities during elections.

  • Herbsman by your excellent question I sense a man who has a brain of his own,and did not go only to one of our primary during the school break holidays,when the doors were close ,and teachers as well as the student away.Promise me then,that you won’t fall into this conniving,fast thalking UNC/COP/NJAC/OWTU,newage mouse trap.Perhaps it’s just pure arrogance,stemmed from overconfidence re the chanches pro status quo ,alleged change agent,but in his quest to be so slick, T-Man has exposed himself for us all.
    .Listen to him talk with clear contempt for christian indians,Muslim indians,chinese,Tobagonians,douglas,and progressive Africans. Who would all suppport politicians of any political strip,so long as they sense they’ll put country over self,as far as the national interest goes.
    Yes T man ,keep listening to that clueless, foreign US political expert, about marginal swing votes as if you are somewhere down in Virgiana, Pens State,or Ohio.Whites,and chinese comprise 900 or less of the voting public .Hey,show me 70 christian indians in our country,and I would personally give you 5 million from our treasury.if any still remains. As to our dougla population? Most are still trying to decide who they are ,and many would need every therapist from across. The caribbean to remove their inner demons, and insecurities.
    Let?s wish T-man and his fantasy island crew well,for May 24th and beyond ,shall we good,and more rational folks?

  • I wish to express my wholehearted agreement with the sentiments and arguments put forward by this writer. As a keen observer of T & T politics from afar, a feat made possible largely due to modern technology, I sense that the present time is most propitious for the emergence of a new political dispensation in this twin island country with such great potential.
    What seems to be required is greater maturity, not only on the part of our leaders but, also quite frankly, on the part of the intelligentsia and the ordinary citizens. Simultaneously, there has to be an infusion of new elements into the political culture, both to counteract some negative trends which now seems endemic to the state of political discourse, while fostering the stimulation of more imaginative approaches to dealing with challenges faced by the society.

  • I don’t think Douglas need theraphy any more than someone who is Black with chinese ancestry or whatever. The Caribbean is on the whole pretty much a place of flamboyant mixtures, without the hang-ups like other places.
    What is important is that we continue to support the PNM rather than let manning’s thorough comtempt and incompetance for the people, country and region detour our precious votes elsewhere.

  • I also like what Heru has said. It is time for a change and we the people must continue to demand good governance, from May 25th when change has been installed and continue demanding forever onwards. I believe we are on the way to this; we are more educated and more of our young generation of voters are paying attention, demanding real issues be dealt with and more accountability.

    We also do need to seriously attend to Constitution reform.

    One more thing, we as a people seem to forget that all that the governments over our ‘independent’ years have done/developed for Trinidad & Tobago, is what we are ENTITLED to. The resources are ours and are meant for our proper development as a nation. Not this foolishness of, “But look how much we’ve done, never mind about all the money we’ve stolen and squandered”; from John O’Halloran come forward.

    No government is doing us any favours people; our country’s resources are meant for all of us to live and live well. NO ONE must be allowed to steal that away from us. Our resources are our God-given right, but we must stand up for these rights and be prepared to work hard too.

  • T-MANN IS NOT IN DREAM LAND. THE PNM HAS AND DO HAVE SOLID SUPPORTERS. IT IS ALSO TRUE THAT THE AFOREMENTIONED GROUP OF CHRISTIANS INDIANDS ETC. ARE LARGELY “IGNORED” AND THAT THEY WILL SIMPLY CONTINUE TO VOTE FOR WHEVER THEIR FAMILIES TRADITIONALL VOTED FOR. I THINK MANNING SHOULD RESPECT HIS PARTY PEOPLE AND GRACEFULLY REMOVE HIMSELF BECAUSE HE IS NOT WANTED AND HE CONTINUES TO DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD.
    WE ALL WANT CHANGE, LONG OVER DUE, BUT CHANGE FOR THE SAKE OF DESPARATE CHANGE OVER SOME FOOL’S “GOVERNANCE”, IS NOT THE ANSWER. OUR VOTES ARE PRECIOUS TO US AND MANY WANT THEM NOW, BUT WOULD YOU BE WANTED OR EVEN NEEDED LATER.

  • Simply put, It is time for ALl Trinidadians to open their eyes and vote, not only for today or tomorrow, but for their children’s future. One man is not a party, and to demonize the PNM because of a few bad apples is simply nonsensical. Mr. Manning can be removed from the leadership and the party will still be strong, as there are very capable, able, strong, honest, PNM party leaders who can step in.

    I implore the people of Trinidad and PNMers to stand up and demand true leadership. If we are not happy with our leader, then our voices should be heard and the leader should remove himself and allow a true leader to lead the party.

    It is not to late……………………PNM is still a strong party, dedicated to doing the right thing for ALL people of Trinidad and Tobago.

  • VERY WELL SAID. TO MANY WANT TO PRETEND AWAY THEIR PRECIOUS VOTES, BECAUSE THEY ARE IN A DIFFICULT SITUATION. MANNING IS ALSO HAVING DIFFICULTY WITH FINDING HIS WAY TO THE EXIT DOOR OF THE PNM. HE SHOULD BE SHOWN THE WAY O…U…T.
    YES, THE PNM WAS FOUNDED FOR THE PEOPLE IN IT’S CONCEPTION AND THAT IS WHY MANY OF US THINK INCLUSIVE RATHER THAN EXCLUSIVE UNLIKE OTHER PARTIES, NOT FOUNDED ON INTEGRITY.
    UNITY IS WHAT WE NEED, NOT DIVISIVENESS AMONGST OURSELVES AND THE PEOPLES NATIONAL MOVEMENT.

  • PNM PNM
    PNM IS GOING TO WIN!!!!!!!

  • elena vasquez-thompson

    all political parties are the same but what defines them is their leadership, it is foolish to continue to vote for a particular party due to ethnicity/because you always voted for them etc. we need change and its time someone else gets a chance but thats my personal opinion.this bullshit about indians and africans…we need to think out of that box and decide what is best for us as a nation.

    may the best man/woman win

  • Sorry I have to agree. The Government must listen to the voice of the people and the chatter has been loud that there is no majority agreement in the country and in the party with the direction Manning is taking the country. If the party couldn’t correct it at that level like UNC when they removed Pandaye, then we have to deal with it at the national level.

    I considered the worst case scenario and realized that under the UNC we lost millions in corruption with the airport project. Then I realize with the PNM we lost millions with the UDecott projects most of it going to one family, the Hart family here and in china.

    So I decide to make the ultimate sacrifice 5 years and probably 500 million lost in some kind of corruption with the people’s partnership just to get rid of this ultimate ruler and bring PNM back to reality.

    If we don’t take this opportunity we will be silenced forever. Other countries are taking risk, the US with Obama, the UK with a coalition. What a small piece of land mass like Trinidad and Tobago so scared of?

    The peoples partnership will have five years to prove themselves or be removed, democracy say so!

  • YES, THE CONGRESS OF THE”PEOPLE” WILL DEMOCATICALLY REMOVE THE OTHER HALF OF IT’S PARTY THE UNC AND EVERY THING GO BE NICE NICE. IN THE MEAN TIME THERE IS FIVE YEARS AND 500 MILLION WAYS TO PLAY SPOT THE DIFFERENCE.
    IT IS TO BE HOPED THAT MILLIONS WILL NOT BE LOST EITHER IN THE NEAR OR DISTANT FUTURE WITH ANY RAJ DECOTT PROJECTS, SO THAT ULTIMATE SACRIFICES WILL NOT BE IN VAIN.

  • this is of course after the fact. the pnm and it’s supporters have lost. change is a bag of uncertainty. uncertainty has immense possibilities beneath its wings. trinbagonians are ready and willing to support. hopefully there are no destroyers among the intelligentsia. wake up and serve. even after you’ve recovered from your tabanca.

  • CHANGE FOR THE BETTER IS ALWAYS A GOOD THING. NO DOUBT MANY WILL BE SERVING PERMANENTLY AND THAT IS THEIR OWN CHOICE AND PREFERENCE.
    WITH THE CLOUD OF TABANCA THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN INHALED BY MOST, THERE WOUN’T BE ANY REAL NECCESSITY FOR ANY THING UNDER THOSE WINGS, AS MOST FLYING HIGH ALREADY.
    TRINBAGONIANS HAVE INDEED SHOWN THAT THEY WILL ALWAYS BE READY AND WILLING TO SERVE AND BE THE FOUNDATION SUPPORT.

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