Political Immaturity in TnT

Basdeo Panday, Patrick Manning and Winston Dookeran
Basdeo Panday, Patrick Manning and Winston Dookeran

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
October 28, 2007

As TnT becomes fully embroiled in the 5th November general elections euphoria, some overt, scary symptoms of political immaturity seem to have gone astray in its body politic.

Indeed, while on the one hand, Calypsonian Winston “Gypsy” Peters is still being tarred and feathered for contesting elections on a UNC – Alliance ticket, on the other hand, one finds that in 2007, the political seas are calm, unruffled and smooth as Chutney artiste Heeralal Rampartap is contesting the same elections on a PNM ticket. What’s wrong with this picture?

Apparently, in typical TnT’s political immature, insane and nonsensical modus operandi, it is unacceptable for “Gypsy” to run on the UNC-Alliance label but, all of a sudden, it is totally acceptable for Rampartap to run on a PNM label

This represents the zenith of political madness, insanity, immaturity and ill-conceived, circuitous reasoning.

As an addendum, one also finds that it is apparently okay and acceptable for Chutney artiste Adesh Samaroo to perform at PNM election rallies but all hell breaks loose and insanity rears its ugly head when “Orange Sky” performs at the same UNC-Alliance election rallies. As a result of exercising its precious democratic right, the group’s musical career is now “feeling the heat” and the venomous wrath of Trinbagonians.

This is “madness, total madness.”

A companion question that comes to the fore is: Why Trinbagonians do not have a problem with Chutney artiste Chris Garcia’s appearance in paid newspaper advertisements in support of the PNM and Calypsonian “Skatie’s” earlier paid commercials in high praise of the “picture, picture” of the PNM’s Ministry of Health?

The fact of the matter is that Trinbagonians cannot have it both ways; by so doing, only hypocrisy wins out in the long-run all the time. A reality check reveals that this is the unhealthy smell/stench that permeates/engulfs TnT’s political immature air.

Insidious political double-standard is ubiquitous in TnT’s elections 2007.

Indeed, another very poignant, pertinent question arises: How is it that Indian-Trinbagonians did not insult, heckle, boo or shout nasty/disrespectful aspersions at Ruplal Gidharie when he sang a winning pro-PNM song at the 2007 Chutney Monarch competition but Afrikan-Trinbagonians continue to insult, heckle, boo and shout nasty/disrespectful aspersions at “Gypsy” whenever and wherever he sings anti-PNM songs? What’s wrong with this picture, citizens of TnT?

The fact of the matter is that now is the time for political maturity and a sound, rational political decision-making process to relegate the ominous, destructive, divisive spectrum of political immaturity to the ash heap of TnT’s political history.

Insidious political double-standard is ubiquitous.

Moreover, there is an adage that says: “None of us is free until all of us are free.”

In the specific case of political immaturity in TnT, none of us will be free until all of us Trinbagonians are free to express our individual political affiliation, allegiance and support via music, public endorsement, financial contribution, etc., without fear, malice, ridicule, ostracism, denigration, financial loss/victimization, etc.

If insults, disrespect, heckling, booing and whatever are good for one, then, they must be good for all. That’s the only way “every creed and race (will) find an equal place” in TnT.

Furthermore, the political seas were calm, unruffled and smooth when Franklin Khan served as Chairman of the PNM— No problem. However, it is rather very strange that these same political seas have remained solidly intact now that Nafeesa Mohammed is serving as the current deputy political leader of the PNM— No problem.

Nevertheless, suddenly, all hell breaks loose and insanity rears its ugly head once again as Austin Jack Warner serves as co-leader of UNC-Alliance.

Insidious political double-standard is ubiquitous.

In addition, Trinbagonians do not seem to have a problem with Wendy Lee Yuen serving as deputy political of the Congress of the People.

What’s wrong with this picture, citizens of TnT? What is the thought process here?

Is TnT speeding out of control down the slippery slope of ethnic suicide, self-inflicted destruction and socio-political chaos?

Are Trinbagonians playing the puerile, immature, simplistic, futile, silly game of rejecting the notion of ethnicity in politics while in the same mode/breath, selectively, deceitfully, and surreptitiously accepting, embracing and perpetuating it? What a pity!

This country is too small for such intractable political retrogression.

What is even more retrograde is that this year’s electoral process is taking place smack in the midst of the availability of free tertiary education to Trinbagonians. This is scary. A reality check reveals that the acquisition of free tertiary education has not produced any modicum of political maturity among voting-age Trinbagonians. What’s wrong with this picture?

In the final analysis, if TnT is seeking to achieve developed nation status by 2020, then, there must be a companion intellectual, mature, professional and politically savvy plank coterminous with such economic “vision.” Developed nation status demands the acquisition/functioning of a first world mind-set and comparable political decision-making process. TnT is totally devoid of this process in 2007.

Dr. Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecturer at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies and University of the West Indies.

5 Responses to “Political Immaturity in TnT”

  • The epitome of Political Imaturity is the reported comment by the UNC candidate for Point Fortin, reported in the Express of Oct. 29, that 20% of the students at a secondary school in the area were infected with HIV. He said he had used a “confidential source.” This comment makes this man so unsuitable for political office that he should be tarred and feathered and chased out of town, not beaten though. We do not want more violence. He has done violence to the reputation of the school, and further categorized the girls as sleeping around for one dollar. There is only one way he could know that for sure. He was a customer of multiple girls, and either gave them the HIV virus, or got it from one of them. Which is it?

    Readers may think this is drastic language, but I used this very effectively, years ago, to stop boys in my class from calling other “Faggots” a derogatory term for homosexuals. I asked how did they know. And, not waiting for an answer, pointed that there was only one way they could know for sure. The name calling stopped, in my room, in two days.

    So Mr. Beache has HIV?

    Data on this disease/infection, is a reportable statistic. Does he date a nurse in the health center? Is his sister one? If either is true, they may be breaching the confidentality of reporting procedures.

    Now, even if this statistic as reported by Mr. Beache is true, what is the point of broadcasting it from a political platform? He has painted a picture of young girls in the area that will stay for a long time, unless he takes it back, unequivocally.

    Now sitting in front of a computer in “foreign”, I am thinking that selling their bodies is a business of last resort for the desperately poor who do not qualify for CEPEP because they are too young. Perhaps Mr. Beache could suggest to Mr. Warner, his rich partisan, to set up scholarships for the children, especially girls in the area, where they could get a twenty-dollar a week allowance, for keeping good grades and attendance in school. This will be pocket money that they could use to do the things girls need money for- buy a lipstick, a bottle of nail polish, a snack, and sometimes, go to the movies. Since it will be tied to two requirements, it will be considered income, or a loan to be paid back, at no interest, when the child finishes university or trade scool and has a job.

    With the free tertiary education guaranteed by the PNM, they will go to college, if they did not spend so much time selling their bodies.

    This is the only good that could possibly come of Mr. Beache’s asinine remark. I hope he has no daughters.

  • There is also our immaturity.We stay silent as yet another ludicriuos MP says that low food prices is a luxery of the past. Have we not realized when to scream outrage?!

  • Elections Results?? Were they Results?? Results of What??

    After the November 5th General Elections how many of us asked ourselves why it turned out the way it did?

    Why did PNM win?
    PNM won by, apart from the fact that they put houses for their supporters throughout the country; fooling the people into thinking they are actually doing something for them and the country. In fact any sensible person would realize that all they have done significant was in this year and that was build some buildings in a city that, if faced with a crisis, has no evacuation plan whatsoever. They also started work on a long overdue Interchange, paved the shoulder of the entire highway for the taxi drivers to speed by and build some houses to secure their votes. As for law enforcement, is there any?

    What do they plan for the country?
    Well as much as the city of Port-of-Spain stinks and vagrants wonder and we have these all new shiny buildings for the flood waters to surround after 5 whole minutes of rain we now have to deal with Aluminum smelter plants.

    Why smelter plants? Because smelter plants, any economist would tell you and any person without forward thinking, i.e someone with a real “vision”, are the quickest and fastest ways to boost economic growth. This is possible because aluminum is in high demand so if we produce it we make a lot of money. As a result everyone would have better lives to live, which brings me back to the Vision 20/20 which says something about ensuring a better life for the citizens of the country and generations to come.

    So we achieve quick economic growth and we live better lives at the detriment of the world and surrounding environment we live in. That sounds like a great deal doesn’t it? Well you chose.

    Why did the UNC remain in opposition?
    UNC remained in opposition because a few weeks before elections they managed to display the makings of a political party. As a result you voted for them in hopes of removing PNM and their lack of concern for the citizens, when in fact what you voted for, and I don’t blame you, is exactly what Trinidadians are about. That is we like comess, living on the edge and power, and of course quick money. That not to say the PNM doesn’t like quick money too with all these small under run over funded institutions set up for “training and educating” people. Do they really use all the funds allocated to them or is it just a front? Who knows.

    What do they plan for the country?
    Well, the same thing they offered the last five years, nothing. Ooh wait they did offer a lot of headline making material when one member was jailed and another left and another was denied leadership so we may get more of that in the next 5 years. Don’t get me wrong when they were in government they did do a lot and it was the only time I can recall the country felt like it was getting somewhere but the man needed to take a break and hand over the reins. With all the controversy surrounding him he lost credibility as a leader and consequently votes. If he had stepped down they would have won but power is addictive and he is only human.

    Why the COP did not win any seats?
    As mentioned in the reason why voters voted for UNC, the COP was ahead of its time. That is to say they represented everything this country needed to move forward the right intelligent way. Again voters don’t vote for intelligence; look at who is in power and look at who is in opposition. Therefore as the leader of the COP said “This country is not ready for change,” and rightfully so, because the majority lack the intellectual maturity to realize the right type of change needed.

    What do they plan for the country?
    Anything would be better than what the other two parties had to offer but mainly intelligence and common sense.

    To conclude when it comes to elections and voters the real reason why the PNM won, and this is a point to take note of, is because the PNM supporters are more united in supporting their cause whether it be race or visions offered, all come out in their numbers and vote. On the other hand supporters for the other parties say ‘well I not voting this year cause last time I vote nothing change’ or ‘I don’t know who this new person is representing my area I not voting.”

    So people you have to realize you have the power to make and effect change whether you support PNM UNC or COP. Come out in your numbers and vote, and since the time to vote is already gone you have to stand up for what you believe in, stand up for what you want and what you expect for the next 5 years. IF you don’t then you expect nothing for the next 5 years but continued degradation of life in your country.

  • The complicated sobriquet of the previous blogger says he is confused. He should take advantage of the free tiertary education offered by this do nothing government, and make sure he takes a course in logical thinking. It may help him to realize two things. 1,The country is making progress.2. Part of the slow rate of progress is the overly litigious attitude of many of the people. Judicial review this, and judicial review that- then we complain that they courts are not working. Police sue not to have an exam denote suitability for promotion, when all over the world, that is the way to defeat cronyism.
    Some forward-looking school administrators in some countries tackle vandalism by putting some funds into the field trip budget at the start of each school year. The cost of cleaning up vandalism, if you cant find the culprits and make them work it of n man hours after school,is deducted from the school trips budget. Spray painting your logo on the school could cause the whole school to not go on trips. Clean schools are the result.
    Now supposing the state had a fixed amount in the development fund, and had to tap into it to defend all the lawsiuts, and judicial reviews, justified or not. What does that d to the fund? Is gets a couple of lawyers rich, who may kick back some to their clients, and impoverish the development fund. Then we complain that there is no progress. Some people progressed. They got rich at the country’s expense.Free health care for all and prescription assistance is progress. There are some, however, who look at whatever the overnment does with a jaundiced eye. They can see no god. Well, go check out the socalled developing world where people still sell their children, where people starve to death in the street, where children work in factories. There they would see non-development, but huge profitability.

  • Linda Edwards: Quote – The complicated sobriquet of the previous blogger says he is confused

    I agree. Clearly imbedded within the convoluted tirade is a fiery partisanship that found comity with the message of COP, but disregard the reality that many who stuck with the PNM found neither comfort or comfortability with its appearance. If Trinidad and Tobago is recognizable to those would lead it as an ethnic and cultural polyglot, then they must walk that walk in their efforts to produce that kind of coming together in a political renaisance. I do not believe that COP achieved this. In fact, the PNM in image and platform was more reflective of the interests of that ethnic and cultural polyglot than any of its two competitors.

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