By Stephen Kangal
September 06, 2007
How can Honourable Prime Minister Manning use his 45th Independence Message to score cheap political points? He lamented the presence of the forces of “obstructionism, opportunism and divisiveness” and yet boasts of T&T being a plural society that is “achieving greater social harmony”.
Is not the Prime Minister deliberately confusing what he calls “divisiveness” with the genuine and legitimate expressions of the democratic process that refuse to accept his weekly blunders and the perennial plunder of the Treasury by his PNM regime without accountability, transparency and minus the principles of integrity in public office.
Several readers will recall the politically motivated spectacle orchestrated and displayed before us by Mr. Manning as Leader of the Opposition in the dark days of post- 27 July 1990. Mr. Dookeran as acting Prime Minister had summoned a meeting of Parliament at the Central Bank Auditorium to ratify the State of Emergency. Although there was an imminent and grave threat of a bomb to blow up the Central Bank building, Mr. Manning forgot about unity and non-partisanship and spoke for 75 long minutes in a situation that threatened national security. He accused the NAR regime of arrogance and insensitivity. He was more concerned about deriving cheap political mileage while the nation was under siege from the undemocratic forces of evil and instability. Now he calls for unity and integration behind his creeping, insensitive and inept, wild-spending, non-productive dictatorship.
Today the same Mr. Manning has ignored and vandalised our main democratic traditions handed down to us by the Westminster Parliamentary system including the one that prescribes that he must resign for intentionally and deliberately misleading Parliament on the Monteil Affair. Parliament has been marginalised and reduced to a talk shop. How many citizens including the Mahasabha have been deprived of their fundamental human rights and have had to seek judicial review of Executive decisions by prohibitively costly and time-consuming litigation up to the Privy Council?
How can the Prime Minister lay claim to the achievement of “equal rights” when he has played politics with the former Equal Opportunity Act and its successor bill that will lapse and be consigned to the parliamentary shredder? This Prime Minister like his predecessor has lost all credibility. They are both now totally economical with the truth or have a pathological aversion to it.
PNM regimes past and present have prospered electorally on an overt agenda based on promoting and exploiting ethnic polarisation since 1956. To crow that we have ethnic harmony in T&T is a tenuous harmony that is marked by the absence of justice, equality and fairness because the victims of this inequity refuse or are incapable of taking up arms against a sea of troubles.
I have no doubt that the forces of “obstructionism etc” and nay-sayers that Mr. Manning had in mind in his Independence message are those who oppose his $200m Royal Castle affluently outfitted including moat and turret, the $20 bn Rapid Rail, the Alcoa Smelter and Essar Steel Plant, the $110 m Monteil HMB insider share deal, the non-revenue earning Waterfront Project and Campus Centre, the pillaged Brian Lara one -billion dollar stadium debacle, the million-dollar rip-off of the aborted Scarborough Hospital and the voter padding, sub-standard housing concentrated in the marginals to name a few.