By Raffique Shah
October 10, 2022
This race, Karen (Nunez-Tesheira), is not for leadership of The People’s National Movement. It is for leadership of the country, the nation. It requires someone of stature and fortitude who can take Trinidad and Tobago by the scruff of its neck or other body parts, shake the masses into facing the reality that we can work our way out of the deep hole we have dug ourselves into, and from which we can clamber out only if we stand shoulder to shoulder and use our collective strength.
We did not get here because of the ineptitude, the recklessness of any one person or one government. Our demise came through a series of discordant political initiatives that adversely impacted our energy-based economy, which meant as we changed governments over the last thirty-or-so years, we changed policies, we here meaning the government of the day, of the period, acting in our name and presuming to have our consent—yuh see how easily you could get into trouble without even knowing it?—signing contracts that spanned twenty, thirty years, which denied us, the citizens, our fair share of the profits from the common wealth, meaning our hydrocarbon resources, and later, our stakes in the downstream industries, the most lucrative being LNG, ammonia, methanol, etc.
Karen, you may well think that I have used your name to grab attention. I have no time to waste on nonentities whose egos are inflated by their counterparts on the anti-social media. Nah. That’s not for me. I have a wealth of experience from my near-unique life that is too precious to waste on people who cannot even think, far less rationalize.
What do they know of Rene Descartes’ earth-shattering discovery ‘I think, therefore I am’? Or, if I may paraphrase our own CLR James’ ‘What do they know of cricket, who only T20 know?’. If anyone including yourself, Karen, is lost by now, then forget all that I have written here and go run a campaign with flags, horns and meaningless slogans on placards that have come to be recognised as the standard for politics, not just in T&T, but worldwide.
The world is at crossroads. Watch what’s happening to leaders and the leaderships in countries that have histories in politics far older than ours. Cicero and Caesar, long departed but leaving behind insightful theories, have to make way for some right-wing dimwitted person who is leading the race for president in Italy. One can say that of much of the world, developed and undeveloped. There are few politicians among us, leaders included, who read anything, hence enhance their intelligence and intellect. Should we continue like this, the bountiful fruits of yesteryear- Rudy Capildeo, Naipaul, Williams, James, and precious few others will disappear from our history, leaving behind a barren wasteland- no thinkers, no innovators, no creative geniuses.
I argue that this country which has produced, among other inventions, the steelpan that is a musical wonder, musicians and artistes who can take the world stage anytime; Agri-Scientists who ‘invented’ the buffalypso and other crops- can do much better than accepting parrots and macaws as political leaders. Mostly we are swamped with multi-degreed individuals who can recite speeches written for them, impress us with their vocabularies and rich ‘Robber-talk’. They are running on empty in so far as thought and thinking go. How, therefore can such people lead us into an era that is driven by innovation and intellect.
What is worse, is that the masses, herd-like, fall in line behind such frauds and have in the past won elections, leaving us governed by imposters. They know precisely what promises to make, if they have a little charisma, then they will have the electorate eating out of their hands. Such is the level of our politics. Personally, I have long given up on our politicians. Oh yes, I was among them. I was a member of the first parliament of the Republic 1976-1981. I had cast my ideals aside, surrendered to the appeals of my friends who assured me that we could invoke change from within ‘the system’.
The organic fully integrated party of my dreams did not last long, it was smashed by those who revelled in and survived by promoting race before party, party before country and our supporters whom during the campaign, I thought had changed, proved to be as gullible as their ancestors were- and this on both sides of the fence. So, I walked out and away and never looked back or turned back.
That is what politics, as we have known it in this country, has done to thinkers who, at every turn were outwitted by the stinkers. Yes, I plead guilty to that, which is why when I can, I offer my two-cents advice to anyone who needs it.