An act of gross betrayal

By Trevor Sudama
December 07, 2010 – newsday.co.tt

Basdeo PandayI was astounded by Panday’s lack of concern for the future of the sugar workers when he was the leader of the Government.

I myself was involved in the struggles of sugar workers in the sixties and early seventies. I was a candidate of the United Labour Front in the 1981 General Election in a sugar growing constituency.

It was a party committed to the protection and advancement of the welfare of the workers. I was a founding member of the United National Congress in 1989 which had as one of its guiding principles a responsibility imposed on the state to so influence the ordering of economic affairs that sustenance is available to all. And the sugar workers deserved some priority consideration given the fact that their loyalty and support ushered Panday into national politics and eventually into Government.

The course on which Panday had embarked went against the grain of my own political conviction. The manner in which Panday handled or rather failed to handle the problem of Caroni (1975) Ltd and the well being of sugar workers constituted a damning failure of leadership. His refusal to consider a restructuring proposal for Caroni (1975) Ltd which would have addressed not only the issue of viability with a measure of state support but also the critical question of the provision of employment options was unforgivable.

His decision to place the fortunes of sugar workers in the hands of persons of a primarily technocratic and business orientation who had no empathy with the plight and struggles of sugar workers was unpardonable. His reluctance to communicate with sugar workers and their unions of the necessity for measured change and a reformed view of the industry was a serious dereliction of duty. His conviction that the disposal of the assets of Caroni (1975) Ltd to the private sector would have resulted in increased investment, output and job opportunities was delusional since the private sector was primarily interested in immediate returns and profits and job creation was a secondary consideration, if at all.

In the light of the above, I had come to the conclusion that by 2001, no doubt under the pervading influence of the oligarchy, Panday had assumed an uncaring and indifferent attitude to the plight and future of sugar workers in an increasingly precarious economic environment. In fact I considered it a gross betrayal and an act of neemakharamism of which he generously accused others.

But the agenda of his leadership would become more apparent by June 2001 when the elections for positions on the UNC Executive were held. Duprey’s point man, Carlos John, was endorsed by Panday and his wife for the second highest post in the party —that of Deputy Political Leader. Clearly Duprey and the oligarchy were not content with wielding considerable influence behind the scenes. They were emboldened to seek high leadership position in the party itself and thus set the agenda for its direction and decisions. For those of us who laboured to build the UNC, the objection to Carlos John as Deputy Leader was based primarily on two grounds.

First, his association with the party was quite recent. In fact months before, he was a member of the PNM and his business group supported that party. He was a stranger to the UNC’s struggles and challenges and was unacquainted with its development and philosophy. He, therefore, could not emphatise with the aspirations of the vast majority of its members.

Secondly, Carlos John was the political face of Duprey and the oligarchy and represented primarily the interests of the dominant business element in the country. If he occupied the position of Deputy Leader, it would signal a virtual surrender of the party to the oligarchy. The oligarchy was already involved in the selection of candidates for the parliamentary elections of 2000 and the assignment of ministerial portfolios thereafter. Since Carlos John’s candidacy had Panday’s blessings, it constituted a second betrayal of the party and the ethos on which it was founded.

The propaganda clandestinely issued by Panday and disseminated by his minions was that the election of Carlos John as Deputy Leader would give the party a multi-ethnic face and therefore would make it more attractive to the electors of the East/West corridor. This claim was as specious as it was unconvincing.

The real reason was that Carlos John would be the most appropriate link between Panday and Duprey and, if elected as Deputy Leader, could be anointed to act as Prime Minister in Panday’s absence.

When the membership became used to this scenario, it would not be too difficult to propose Carlos John as the substantive Prime Minister when Panday contemplated ascension to the Presidency in 2002. But in this event Carlos John would continue to be under the political tutelage of Panday and thus, as President, Panday would not only be the de facto Prime Minister but would also enjoy all the status, privileges and perquisites of the Presidency. And Duprey’s business and financial interests would be safeguarded. It was envisioned as a neat arrangement both for Panday and the oligarchy. However, events did not quite turn out as anticipated, much to the chagrin of Panday. And his gamble to call General Election in December 2001 was the beginning of his demise.

http://www.newsday.co.tt/commentary/0,132082.html

10 Responses to “An act of gross betrayal”


  • Why did you REFUSE the Agriculture Ministry when Panday gave it to you so that you can FIX the sugar workers right.Seems like you looking for a HAND OUT from KAMLA this time around.Maybe you are right because if she could give MAKANDAL DAAGA who is SUDAMA??

  • I am not sure what this writer means by words such as “oligarchy”, “betrayal” and “technocratic”. In today’s “real world”, it would be foolish to expect a politician to survive and control a government by pure political phylosophy that deals with the plight of sugar workers. I see racist undertones in his writings that wants to exclude those whom he thinks does not belong. Panday has always remained close to his people throughout his political life even though it was necessary to be pragmatic to go ‘outside’ in order to gain wider acceptance outside of his socalled base.

  • It is good of you to remind us of what happened and I thank you for this. There are many important other truths (i.e. -1990 incident) that our people are still to learn about so that we can vote the right persons into power. I still have faith that the land of my birth will come back good but I fear right now for my children as there are many more still in power with their own personal ambitions that do not include even the basic needs of our people. Our only choice is to have faith in God and continue to speak out in His name

  • What the hell did Queen Kamla ,give Makandal Daaga, Footsie, pray tell will you? Hopefully you were not referring to the useless position as roving Caricom Ambassador, while she is busy running around lecturing ,and cussing them out ,then apologizing every other week.
    For heavens sake would you leave Uncle Sudama alone, as I for one am quite happy at his new found, open style honesty , and willingness to lay bare , and expose all the dark , and dreary secrets of Panday and his elitist , self serving , bunch as they rode the back of poor folks that wasted a lifetime of voting in their favor. Long live new and progressive politics.
    Now if the Queen K can get into political bed with Rambachan, Jack , and Daggaa so as to solidify her position ,. and widen her base,then maybe Dr Rottweiler Rowley, can make some overtures to Sudama , Ramnath, Nizam , and Princess Mikela , in efforts to form new alliances ,once he recover from his hospital visit.

  • Isn’t it rather late in the day for these revelations or conclusions on Panday’s actions? What is the purpose at this time? Is Sudama trying to distance himself now when he probably could have served his party better by influencing from within?

  • Thanks Trevor for speaking the truth, I supported you in Oropuche but was deeply disappointed when your political career was strangled by the boss himself. In fact it was your kicking against Bas that started the movement which is now the PP. I hope that you would continue to write so that all can know the truth about the man who claim to be the lion.

  • Until Panday laggae at the feet of our new Caribbean Queen his sins would never be absolved, the betrayal of cane farmers is only an iota his wrong doings. This man squandered hundreds of years of hard labor, blood, sweat and tears of thousands of hard working people without any remorse, this egomaniac suffers from tunnel vision and seeks nothing but his own selfish interest.
    Panday was totally contended with being opposition leader for life, with intentions of passing on his legacy to his daughter but his plan was disrupted be others who saw through his web of delusions.This is why we must hail our queen every day, thanking God for granting us her presence in our beautiful twin island state and if Panday do not atone for his sins he must be cast into the abyss of the political dead.

  • Well, well, I’ll be …I just never thought you had in you cousin morougamax, to publicly admit that Panday the trafalga square actor ,was a very dangerous , and conniving political creature, that used and abuse the people he pretended to care about for a long time.
    It is extremely sad that he was prepared to destroy the entire party, and in the end,throw our country down the drain , in his quest to past over power Nehru style, to his vastly less competent daughter ‘Mekela Gandhi.’Fortunately we were saved from that malady by Queen K, our Siparia darling.
    No need to elaborate on any of dem PNM African hating, frauds, as I am on record with respect to my disgust of the likes of defy Eric , and the two political stooges that followed in Chambers, and Manning , that likewise turned out to be a profound disgrace to their people and nation , due to glaring incompetence , and clueless policies.
    When the last two alleged rivals,in this lot , finally join the other two in the grave , we can guess that they would be coming back in that other karma-tic /samsara life – as z San fernando zandolee, and Cunupia salipainter,yes?

  • I agree with Footsie…..I was a senior officer in the Ministry of Agriculture at the time and neither Sudama or Reeza did anything to have the matter of the sugar workers resolved

  • Keith, again I have been telling folks who the real enemies of our 1.3 million, and growing Rainbow collection of people, are.It is not race, as some naively think, but selfish elitism, be it education, religious,or economic inherited fortunes. Race simply becomes a useful tool of expanding the distracting game of deceit.
    Take Panday ,and rival Manning. 100 years from now,what might you or any of us truly recall about these two self serving jokers, as part of both lasting legacy?
    It would not be the fact that Bas assiduously fought in the interest of national Labour Rights , including that of his hard working people in Caroni,or that he supported any progressive agenda, that could put his country on the global map? Hell no!
    As for the other comedian Manning-still bumbling around the House of Representatives, like a man suffering from a huge dose of Siparia Curry Tabanca- did he used his lofty UWI Geology degree, and 40 years of influence in political office , to position T&T, to be an enviable regional and international energy force based on vase natural resources, or heavens forbid, help elevate folks that blindly supported him, and Deffy Eric ,all their lives ,with nothing to show for such efforts? No, No, my friend!
    What you’ll remember instead, is blatant cases of nepotism , and cronyism as played out by them both. Panday , for example,ensured that his brother, and wet behind the ears,politically clueless daughter, were position to succeed,and control the party fortunes , over more competent folks such as Dookie,Sudama, Ramnath, Ramesh,and Queen K. We won’t ‘tell ass soul,’ about the activities of business pals ,in and out of the country- some now awaiting extradition to places not name England.
    As for Emperor Manning -even though he did not need the money-he kept pushing that crazy wife Hazel on us so much that it was no longer funny, even if the records would show, that she was was out of her league, and never was able to push the meter up one bit -where was it in Education, and some other useless Local Gov Ministry?
    In addition , she came like the third link to, his now discredited , FBI / NSA styled, expert security spy network, as all his numerous, non butt kissing ,political enemies, had to guard their negative sentiments around her, or else. His outside cronies , and their penchant for destruction are legendary, yes?
    Let’s continue to keep it real shall we? In the seasons of thanks , we should include some appreciation for Trini center.com ,for according us a forum to speak truth , to power, eehh?
    Continue to love country my friend!

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