The Sun Also Rises

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
August 18, 2010

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-BissessarWhen Kamla Persad Bissessar took her oath of office she swore on the Bhagavad Gita, one of the holiest scripts of the Hindus. As a Yoruba man, I am not as acquainted with the Gita as I should but true to my bifurcated beginning I was taught something about the Holy Bible. I like the King James Version of the Bible and receive great spiritual sustenance there from.

I was always taken with Ecclesiastes in which the Preacher David who reflected on the foibles of men. He exclaimed: “Vanity of vanities; all is vanity./What profit hath a man of all this labor which he taketh under the sun?/ One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth forever.”

I cannot help but think of David’s sentiment as Kamla and her ministers strut about the national (and the international) stage; seeming adrift with nothing serious to offer the country. One looks for direction but it isn’t there. Apart from occasional acts of generosity (a few thousands here and a few thousands there), the question remains: where are they taking the nation?

They couldn’t wait to see the back of Manning and the PNM. They accused them of hubris, arrogance and squander mania. But what can we expect of the PP (People’s Partnership)? They committed themselves to a “Memorandum of Understanding” but, apart from agreeing to agree, no one knows the substance of that agreement.

After three months vanity (the quality of being empty and valueless) has replaced hubris (exaggerated pride); ordinariness (deficiency in quality) has replaced arrogance (an attitude of superiority); and flippant prolificacy (careless spending) has replaced squander mania (spending foolishly). This leads us to ask: where’s the beef; what’s the plan?

When Kamla took office she blanked Hilary Clinton, the US secretary of state, because she had not been sworn in yet. Then she went to Jamaica, partied a bit and then went off to Miami to see her sister; just another leisurely week in the life of a prime minister. Then, she really could not miss the pageantry of the India Day Parade in New York.

For good measure she took along one quarter of her Cabinet (six ministers) with her. Nothing like bonding in the Apple and clubbing until dawn. I am sure that the Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs met with the youths of New York. It is a large borough and contains many youths. The Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism was certainly in his glee. New York is the Mecca of the arts so he made many profitable contacts. I dreamt that Mike Bloomberg, New York’s mayor, walked our Minister of Public Finance through NYC’s $63 million budget and told him about the painful cuts the city has to make. Since the PP is preparing its budget it was a sensible thing to do.

This mission also had untold value for the other ministers as well. Being in New York City, during in the summer, is really the most propitious place to be and best possible way for our newly elected officials to spend our money.

Needless to say, when in Rome one always does what the Romans do. So, it was not a surprise that the delegation met with the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) and the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA). With a straight face Deosaran Bisnath, president of the Trinidad section of GOPIO, reminded us that Kamla’s visit “could possibly open the gates to stronger bilateral ties between the tiny island nation and the eastern giant” which leaves this viewer to ask: why should Kamla go to New York to visit GOPIO to strengthen bilateral ties when she unceremoniously blanked Hilary at a forum that is designed to do exactly that.

Her visit to FIA was just as successful. Biserath informs us that it is “one of the largest and most powerful umbrella organizations in the Indian community” from which I am sure untold blessing would flow. Bisnath also reprimands us. He asserted that “too many of us see ‘Indian’ and ‘African’ in T&T context-loaded with connotations of race and tribal politics; the world out there does not. Trade and investments flow to the best locations, regardless of race, nationality, etc.” Kamla, he says, “grasped the opportunity to showcase T&T before such a large and important audience, internationally, and not just Indians.”

And so we are faced with a paradox. An organization this is dedicated to protecting the rights of Indians tells us that we must not talk about Indians and Africans any longer and an economy that was down in the dumps under the PNM is now one of the “better locations” into which trade can flow, regardless of race.

Two years after the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) won the Federal Elections in 1958 Badase Sagan Maraj, the leader of the DLP, was badly beaten in the 1961 election which led eventually to his political demise.

Kamla has been in office for three months but she has spent three weeks or a quarter of her term on vacation. Next month she goes to the United Nations to speak about the intricacies of a government that she hardly knows. One really wonders how long can this continue; when in fact she will get down to do the people’s business. It is nice to travel and vacate. It is equally as important to do the people’s work which is what she should be dedicating her next months in office to.

But we need not worry. Preacher David was right after all. He said: “The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.”

My mother was just as wise as David. She use to say, “what you sow is what you reap.” It might be too early, but let us hope that the people don’t come to the realization that PP might just want to have a longer, more permanent vacation.

“Go ‘long Madame Prime Minister!” Remember that what’s good for the goose is also good for the gander. There is no good reason why they should support in one what they despised in another.

7 Responses to “The Sun Also Rises”


  • Your slight chiding is taken in good spirit Kian, as one can sense that you mean well, and simply wist to see some elevation of the discourse from the guttural levels, a few of us enjoy dragging it to – present company included.
    Thanks my brother.
    I promise to do my part to step it up a notch, for with so much at stake, it is almost non patriotic to do otherwise. In addition , global , as well as our specific history has shown , that in the absence of a viable,rational , caring ,and forceful oppositional voice, the barbarians can eventually be encourage to overrun the gate, and cause irreparable harm.

    Warm regards.

    • Thanks my friend, you are a good sport and we need you to counter some of the misinformation that are readily posted.

  • The PP has only been in office for a short time,it’s too early to cast judgements.They have a term of five years to deliver promises and to deal with relevant concerns affecting our nation.
    Mr.Cudjoe sounds like sour grapes,his quest for black hegemony make take centuries.The question remains:Can the PP repair damage that the PNM did to our nation?
    Many Americans have grown disenchanted with Obama he wasn’t the saviour as he claimed to be.In Trinidad time will tell if the citizens have a similar view of the present prime minister,it’s too early to cast aspersions.Mr.Cudjoe must encourage the black race to look in a mirror and think objectively about themselves instead of blaming others.Africa is one of or probably the most violent and corrupt places on earth .Who’s to be blamed?Advances in race science will eludicate key questions we have about the races.The term black race may even be replaced by the term ‘black condition’ as scientists learn more about biological,evoulutionary,social,psychological and cultural differences among the races.

  • Hopefully my friend ,your PP regime and it cadre of astute leaders are not dependent on tribalistic clowns, and mental degenerates like yourself Pitbull, as you push for indian hegemony in our country, for they’ll fail since T&T is not Guyana.
    “Africa is one of or probably the most violent and corrupt places on earth .” This phony is a much bigger fool than I thought, to think that corruption haven Asia ,led by the likes of China, Pakistan ,and India, has some bragging rights on Africa, when most of their citizens are living under the poverty line, and more people have died on that continent due to intertribal violence, since independence, than all of Africa put together,multiply by five.

  • Dear Dr. Cudjoe,
    With all due respect to your learned self the bible book of Ecclesisates was written by King Solomon son of King David. I am sure you wouldn’t mind a former student of yours at Tacarigua E.C. pointing out this mistake.
    I am happy to see that you continue to be an excellent teacher and an outspoken citizen of Trinidad and Tobago.I wish we had more voices like yours.

  • Didle didle you need to spend more time in School. The man quoted the words attributed to King David, he did not cite him as the author of Ecclesiastes. Further, it is bad form, and somewhat hypocritical to attempt to correct someone with an error laden piece.

    The name of the the biblical book is ECCLESIASTES, NOT Ecclesisates.

  • Keisha Keisha (it seems you like to play with names) I am sure you are fimiliar with the saying ” more haste less speed”.Before you hasten to correct me go back and READ the article.

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