Kamla’s Casual Carelessness

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
January 27, 2011

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOne year ago Kamla Persad-Bissessar was elevated to the leadership of her party. In May of last year she was elected prime minister of the country. Since then she has shown herself to be incompetent; of questionable intellectual maturity, and deficient in judgment. As we enter 2011, I wonder how many persons feel she is steering the ship of state in a positive direction.

There was great euphoria when Kamla took over the reins of government. She seemed to be a breath of fresh air and the start of something new. It is said that she rules by consensus (even the selection of the ministers of government was done democratically-much different from the way it was done in the past), and she genuinely welcomes her colleagues’ input.

Then she began to send mixed signals. While we welcomed her doing away with the illegal procedure of having nonelected officials act as prime minister in her absence, she made the whole exercise into a pappy show by giving everybody a seven-days. Thus Jack Warner, Winston Dookeran, Errol McLeod, and Vernealla Alleyne Toppin acted as prime ministers.

These appointments, in varying degrees, made many people scratch their heads in wonder. Although C. L. R. James, our astute political thinker, argued that every cook can govern, one wondered how equipped some of these persons were to lead our country if a major crisis were to occur under their watch.

The prime minister’s ministerial choices have also been a bit mind-boggling. We’ve seen raucous outbursts by the attorney general (keep in mind our country needs only a prime minister and an attorney general to run the country); the intemperance of Anil Roberts who has not yet discovered that he ought to comport himself in a manner that reflects honorably on his office; and the quickly disappearing specter of Therese Baptiste-Cornelis Baptise whose fall was quicker than her rise. One can even forgive the peripatetic Surujatan Rambachan if he realizes that the foreign minister of T&T ought not to be an advocate of Hindu interests at home and abroad.

When one examines the PM’s decisions, one wonders at her casual carelessness. It took some time, but gradually we came to realize that she isn’t up to the job. What we could not have known is that as democratic as the prime minister’s gestures seem they mask an inability to lead, an intellectual sloppiness, an equivocal mode of operation; and an inability to inspire confidence in our nation’s future.

In the course of time, her masquerade began to unravel; then her ill-fated decision to select Reshmi Usha Ramnarine as the director of the Security Intelligence Agency (SIA) blew her cover. Not only did it demonstrate her ineptness, it left one wondering what could have made her select a young woman only thirty years of age, a junior communications technician who was ill-equipped to carry out such a sensitive task.

This is the same prime minister who got up in the House of Representatives months ago and castigated Patrick Manning for using the SIA for nefarious purposes. She even accused him of spying on the president although she has yet to tell us where and how she obtained that information. This is one instance in which the PM can neither claim ignorance nor lack of awareness about the ramifications of an office she claims was (ill)used in the past.

Just think about it. The head of the SIA is called upon to coordinate the activities of the security agencies in the country. Only three persons can order the wiretapping of citizens: the police commissioner; the head of the Defense Forces, and the director of the SIA. This young lady, bereft of any sophisticated experience about security matters and whose ambition was to seek “a challenging management position with a technology-driven organization” was given the enormous authority to spy on the whole country without anyone’s supervision.

No thinking person would entrust such a responsibility upon the shoulders of a thoroughly inexperienced person no matter what Roodal Moonilal, Rambachan, John Sandy, or Prakash Ramadhar have said by way of justification. It is difficult to see how they, honorable men, could support such an appointment in good conscience. Could it be that in spite of the prime minister’s presumed outrage at Manning’s use of the SIA she selected this young woman so that she could act in as reprehensible a manner as Manning did?

What started out as a great experiment, filled with democratic possibilities, is turning out to be a nightmare, a disaster just waiting to happen. No amount of public relations or the distribution of hampers can obscure the stunning missteps the PM has made and is likely to continue making for the good reason that there are no substitutes for good judgment; intellectual astuteness, and the capacity to manage a large bureaucracy, called the government, efficiently.

In fact, this year it will be interesting to see how she manages an economy that is facing serious challenges; starving for confidence; and desirous of industrial peace, all of which are important as it seeks to recover. I am not convinced she has the managerial skills or the competency to supervise and administer an economy as large as ours. With every decision she demonstrates that what she lacks in technical preparedness cannot be undone by splendid polemics and a “let’s be nice to everyone” approach.

There is no doubt the prime minister and her colleagues are good at stage acting and public relations. They are astute at using social networking and the government information apparatus to present themselves in the best light. They even reveal a joie de vivre that is evidenced in their in-your-face extravagance. Basdeo Panday’s description of the PP government captures things best when he said: “The PP is a functioning government. They like to have plenty functions.”

The PP should have learned from Manning’s deception of himself. Trinidadians and Tobagonians are a smart bunch of people. You can only fool some of them some of the time. Sooner or later they discern the shortcomings of offending parties and send them packing.

The PM must know that even the road to hell is paved with good intentions. They are not the most important prerequisites for good governance. Mature judgment and competency matter more. These qualities are lacking badly in our prime minister.

67 thoughts on “Kamla’s Casual Carelessness”

  1. WHY are you all SO surprised by the fact that kamla went on a jolly to celebrate indian independance in NY? WHY indeed are any of you surprised by what she and her posse are getting up too? These are the very same HYPOCRITES who denegrated the PNM and their supporters.
    Now they have taken up residence in said Glass House and they vex up by people seeing them and throwing stone, Well whey de hell. What they expect.
    I still remember them supporting the indian cricket team AGAINST the Mighty West Indies, even shaming Bishan Singh Bedi, the captain, with their behaviour, ie ( he coundn’t understand their hostility against what HE Thought was their own side, LOL )

  2. Thank you CEE for that snippet. I did not know that, but I do know they lined the entire Churchill-Roosevelt Highway, in their saris when Indira Ghandi cme to visit. We used to think they were trinis.

  3. Thank you Cee for making it plain. The ethnic sycophants go to great effort to silence scrutiny of these exhibitions of prejudice and “awee pon tap” attitudes. They resort to Freudian defense mechanisms to pawn their cultural history off on those who point out their prejudices by yelling racism. Like I said, racial prejudice is a product of cultural and religious belief systems, and those who see the world through this prism are the ones responsible for tension in the societies in which they reside.

  4. But if CEE is correct, about the Indian cricketer, these attitudes are fostered mostly where people of Indian origin live in the west- Trinidad, Guyana, Vancouver-Canada. The Indians whom I meet who have just arrived in the west are kind, friendly. Maybe they see me as one of them. I have been mistaken for one before.

    One then has to ask what is there in their cultural baggage that makes them believe that the only position they could occupy is one of trying to dominate others?
    We know that man’s origins are in Africa, so they/we are all descended from ONE AFRICAN WOMAN, called by the antropologists, Eve.
    Sensible European people have accepted this as fact.

    1. “One then has to ask what is there in their cultural baggage that makes them believe that the only position they could occupy is one of trying to dominate others?” (LINDA EDWARDS)

      I thought that I had heard every local and international stereotype of Indians, but this is a new one. Linda Edwards has outdone herself this time. I guess that her preoccupation with things “Indian” is probably because she was, in her own words,accused of “looking like one”. I bet some of her best friends are Indian!
      Does her comment above deserve a serious response?

  5. When first we began commenting on this thread, we were all responding to a title given to the piece by Dr. Selwyn Cudjoe. Information revealed since then, seem to show that it was not casual carelessness, but a web of deception woven by the upper echelons of the PP government, and some civil servans ,to create a Spider Web Of Lies to decieve the people of Trinidad and Tobago; supporters and opposition alike. I would suggest that the title of this thread be changed to Tangled Web, and Dr. Cudjoe rewrite, or write another column to reflect this deliberate deception, lest it be thought that like a modern slave on the auction block, he is OFFERING HIMSELF to the highest bidder. That flies in the face of true intellectual scholarship which is about seeking the truth, fearlessly. Congratulations to Dr. Rowley for fearlessly following where this story goes, and digging deeper.They will castigate you, sir, but your integrity is above reproach..

  6. The Tangled web:

    Note to Ms . Julie Browne;
    I have just read, in today’s Express opinion page, the letter of recommendation you “wrote” for Ms. Reshmi Ramnarine.

    Four points: f you had enough sense to write such a long winded letter recommending an unsuitable person, you should have had enough sense not to write it; knowing it could become a matter of public record. So, the letter is a lie, laid on your doorstep.
    Secondly: Your lie/s have compromised the Civil Service of TnT, in which a number of people I am proud of served honorably for many years. You tarnish an image for personal gain of a friend, and possibly of yourself..
    Thirdly if you have to testify in court, that you wrote that letter, would you be able to produce handwritten drafts? As an educator, I know it takes many drafts to produce a logical document that sticks to the point.You know, in a serious criminal investigation, ink can be tested to see when it reached the papaer, a sort of carbon dating.
    And finally, how could you expect your current subordinates not to laugh at you daily, behind your back, and wonder aloud who is pushing your buttons, and exactly which ones are they pushing?

    Lady, you have lost all credibility. You could stay on to earn a pension, and wonder every day, if your staff’s sloth in doing someting you need done, is based on open disrespect, and expectation that your decree will be reversed, or just plain “don’t give a DRN”.
    Is the security situation in TnT going to benefit from this situation?

    Next time you write a letter of recommendation, stick to one and a half pages, at most. Serious people know that truth in recommendation descends in a spiral beyond the halfway mark of page two.

    Free advice given in the national interest, by one loyal to the land of her birth.

  7. indians in T’dad have ALWAYS believed themselves to be better than the AfroTrinis. Period. It has not ONLY been my personal experience of indian racial hatred, as a child and adult, BUT the Many AfroTrinis who have often OVERLOOKED this race hate by indians often with a smile.
    No doubt we all have sorry tales about indian racist actions towards us. Perhaps in part it comes from indentured indians fleeing the shame and horror of their own degredation by THEIR OWN people and MEETING the African Slaves, s group even MORE DEGRADED that, NOW, they with a REAL Chance to EXCAPE Caste WITHIN a COLONIAL Context of Divide and Rule, became “superior”. HOWEVER, it is better if ALL you could GO TO YOUTUBE and PLEASE WATCH -type in- ETHNIC CLEANSING RESPONSE TO DR.TIM GOPEESINGH.

  8. In Arima, on Louis Street, an Afro man with dreadlocks, built a house. His neighbour, an Indian, immediately began expanding his. Later, the Afro man put up a second storey. The Indian man did likewise. Just to provoke him further, the dreadlocked man built a third storey, but got a permit for it. When the Indian began to go up one more storey, he was reported, and Planning broke it down.
    Asked about his obsession with adding another storey, he pointed out to his Indian friends that he did not want any “Neeger” his pronunciation, being able to look down on him from a three storey house. Now of course, since the people in that area have lived peacefully with each other all this time, one told the other, who told the other and so I heard it from an older “sister” who lives there. If you live in TnT you could drive down Louis Street and check it out. My inquiries later found that a number of people like him, feel the same way.(Might explain Kamla’s humongous house, because Manning built an new “People’s House” for the nation. Remember her saying she will never lie in it?Its laughable really. Things we have known for years will come out now. People may have kept slent too long.
    “Anything you do, I could do better.”
    I do not attend “hate websites”
    I stand in, by, and for my truth, and can prove what I say.

  9. Thank you for replying honestly, BUT Youtube IS NOT a Hate site. It is an INFORMATIVE Forum where opinions are expressed. There will always be those whereever we go that will abuse such spaces.
    It is a dangerous precedent we set by ALWAYS looking away from the reality of HOW other SEE us. We HAVE to stsrt to Deal with it ’cause it ain’t goin no weh.PLEASE LOOK at the Dvd and IF, if you can stand the truth of it Please LOOK at ONE MORE, it is called ” Racist Indian Father Murdered His SOn’s Black Wife” THIS took place in the Us some time ago.
    ONCE we FACE reality TOGETHER, you we will be better able to HEal and DEAL. DON’T be afraid OK.

  10. The Newsday article of today, Friday, about the will and the “muslim” wife speaks volumes.

    I try not to even watch fictional hate issues, including wife babuse etc.
    As a Christian, I carefully screen the things on which my mind and spirit feed.

  11. I agree it is important to screen what you view. THE dvd’s were NOT Fiction, they are AS REAL as the articles IN Newsday! As a Christian not only reading, BUT viewing the truth is Vital to Destroying evil. After all what does one do, when a Doctor no less, who is NOT european, thinks that is ok to introduce genocide procedures TO Black people?
    We seem better able to cope with european racism, but have misgivings when people are similar to us.

  12. IF, if you can stand the truth of it Please LOOK at ONE MORE, it is called ” Racist Indian Father Murdered His SOn’s Black Wife” THIS took place in the Us some time ago.

    That was Chaiman Rai. The young woman was from Atlanta and had a young baby by his son who she had married. They gave him life.


  13. So what does this example prove? That there is a racist, insane Indian out there who is willing to commit murder?
    I can cite you numerous examples of interracial marriages which all family members have accepted with delight and best wishes. We must not allow examples of ignorance to color our thinking and force us into generalizations about any racial group.

  14. In TnT, four, five years ago, there were five mysterious drownings of “Dougla” young men. Two drowned in Petrootrin’s pool, one drowned in a pond in Central near Usine Ste MAdeline and a couple drowned at Maracas andLAs Cuevas.
    I tremblem for my mixed race nephews, but they stayed away from limes with “friends”. One was the son of a police officer
    I wrote a piece on it, but the papers must have found it too hot to handle.
    Now, I watch the second generation of mixed race family with a veiled sense of dread.
    I heard the Indian grandmother of my nephews threaten murder on their father. Three other sisters witnessed this.

  15. This is an example of what drives the thinking of many like you. I can post endless articles and stories that deal with this attitude. It is a reality that is treated like a sacred cow in order that tyhe practioners can have their cake and eat it too. That they can make claims of discrimination while holding cherishingly to these kinds of cultural fetishes.

    Again, this behaviour is not an irrational action that is practised by all groups. This behaviour is a product of religious and cultural belief systems based on the notion that some people, mainly Africans are inferior, and they, the practioners of this creed are superior. It is no coincidence that it is shared p-lank of prejudice with White Supremacist.

    David duke said he never understood the real difference between white black until he visited India and had it explained to him. The dusk of the sacred cow is over. The dawn of speaking truth to narrow minded people who hide behind facetious comments has come.

    1. “Again, this behaviour is not an irrational action that is practised by all groups”.

      I guess the Tutsi and Hutu tribes of The Rwandan Genocide will agree with you. The 1994 mass murder of an estimated 850,000 people in the small East African nation of Rwanda “is a product of religious and cultural belief systems”.

      My point is no country, race or ethnic group has a monopoly on beliefs based on “superiority of inferiority”.

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