Degeneration now

By Raffique Shah
December 18, 2011

Raffique ShahYOU would think that two years after he suffered the most severe political flogging in local history, Basdeo Panday would have long ridden off into the sunset, hoisted his grandchildren on his lap and sat back in luxury, enjoying an ex-prime minister’s generous pension and perks. But that’s not Panday’s style. He’s back into active politics…or so he says.

Of course, his second coming, as the Express labelled his attempt at a comeback, is not of his own volition. Blame the masses, or the UNC faithful. There he was, minding his own business, enjoying political after-life, when members of the party he founded, disaffected by the way Kamla Persad-Bissessar has run the Government and the UNC, begged him to rescue them from political abandonment.

What’s a good leader to do in such circumstances? Answer the call, comrades: old soldiers never die—only their privates do! So Bas dips into his ever-ready bag of tricks, dusts off the crimson beret some spiritual adviser had suggested he wear when he fought and lost the 2007 general elections, and readies himself for battle.

Like Cervantes’ Don Quixote, he is now ready to strike—at windmills real or imagined, at missteps and mistakes, at every chink in Kamla’s armour. Before I proceed any further, I must say I think that Bas is madder than Mahal, the wacky Indian of local folklore who, many moons ago, drove his imaginary bus around Trinidad.

Look, Kamla and her People’s Partnership Government have made many errors since they took office nineteen months ago. Many people, among them core supporters of the constituent parties that make up the Partnership, are disappointed with their performance, or lack thereof. Last Thursday, after Cabinet met in Tobago, the PM told the media (explaining the missteps) that her ministers were still “settling in”. Damn long time it’s taking them.

But not even crazy people would revert to Panday, or for that matter, Patrick Manning. The PNM as a party seems unattractive to the electorate at this time. Keith Rowley and his aides need to re-engineer the party, virtually re-model it, in order for it to be considered as a viable alternative to the People’s Partnership. That’s reality. They can bury their heads in the sand, of course, claiming that the PNM bank of core supporters would take them back into office. Wishful thinking. Any party that hopes to win elections must draw support from way beyond the boundaries of the traditional ethnic base.

Realistically, the People’s Partnership as Government is secure only because there is nothing better on the horizon. If elections were called tomorrow, the Partnership would return to power, albeit with a reduced majority.

In this scenario, there is no place for Panday. He represents the past, and not a glorious one at that. Panday’s major achievement is that he helped eject the PNM from power in 1986, as part of the NAR.

Also, by 1995 he had bounced back to lead the UNC to a draw (17-17-2), which Arthur N R Robinson turned into a win by joining with him to form a post-election coalition government. Credit him, too, with being the first Indian Prime Minister of the country.

However, most of Panday’s ardent supporters would never face the fact that he led his party to defeat in five general elections and several local elections. That he survived on such a woeful record and is still considered by some as a star of sorts is testimony to the sad state of local politics. In any nation where people think before they vote, Panday would have been ancient history.

But Trinidad and Tobago remains a society mired in mediocrity 50 years after independence. Which is why Bas can contemplate a comeback. The bigger joke is the label he has put to his team—”generation next”. That term suggests the future. It conjures images of dynamic young people who want to take their country’s destiny in their hands, a la “Arab Spring” and the “Occupy” movement across the world.

Why would a septuagenarian, an “ole geezer”, mess around with the next generation’s future? For all his theatrics, Panday is degenerating, body and mind, as we all must as age takes its toll. You would think Bas might come to terms with the savagery of nature, thank Bhagwan for the many mercies he has enjoyed in life, and leave the political stage to younger, more energetic people.

Degeneration of the mind is a hell-of-a-thing. Maybe he is yet to recover from the murderous ten-to-one licking Kamla put on him back in January 2010. Maybe he still suffers with political “tabanca”. In some ways I understand his plight. It’s bad enough to be subjected to a political flogging; it’s humiliating when the person dishing out the blows is a woman.

Uppermost in Panday’s mind must be the fact that he all but breathed political life into Kamla. It was he, as Prime Minister, back in 1995, who elevated her to the position of Attorney General, one of the many gender-based “firsts” she has chalked up in her political career. Later, he used her as a foil against his foes, inside and outside his party.

Well, the student has returned to teach the master a thing or two…or three. While she has tempered her comments on his threatened intervention in the UNC elections, she did ask if he wanted a 20-to-one licking this time around. He would do well to heed her words.

Time was when we would feel sorry for the lion that dared come up against Bas. But times have changed. Now, the lioness roars…and Bas purrs away in his winter years.

6 Responses to “Degeneration now”


  • Bas is lining his daughter up and with that he can be a winner like Lee kwan Yeu Singapore’s grandmaster or Dr.Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia.
    If Bas drops the Hindu right he cold well steal the Indian Muslim/Christin vote suffice to add he can still reign in the secular Indian Trade unionist yet regular Hindu base.
    But PNM could assist Bas thus creating a third force by beating(like it or hate it)what Pam have created-the religio-ethnic war cry thus isolating the Sat extremist from traditional Indian base while at the same time a willingness for strong nationalist sentiment to sit and work with the moderates from the east Indian communities across the spectrum.
    Yet PNM can only do this with the back of Rowley and most of the ole stalwarts.
    If such a scenario can’t be achieved then crapaud smoke we pipe.

  • Thanks for reminding Uncle Shah, what the generation next mantra is all about Davy. It’s all about Mikilah, and so solidify the Bas de Bengal Tiger a ala Nehru reincarnation legacy.
    It’s true no single party , as played out under the UNC ,or PNM , can ever single-handedly ,obtain victory in this country.
    Coalitions, and Alliance are the only way forward, which might not make for stable government. As for Dr Rowley?
    I wrote him a cyber letter three years ago,where in I gave him an idea as to how to obtain power , since Trinidadians will never vote for another citizen that was born in COCRICO Island , aka Tobago.
    Part of the reason , why I spend so much of my time on these blogs, fighting against political distraction , and race base politics, as is the norm in T&T, is because I recognize IT’S destructive nature.
    SOCIO ECONOMIC JUSTICE would never materialize for Tobagonians , unless a leader emerge that has their full interest at heart. This can never occur under any regime led by Kamla, Basdeo ,any branch of his family, or Patrick.
    We wish them well.

    • What is SOCIO ECONOMIC JUSTICE?? Do you mean that every Tobagonian should be given 100,000 dollars a year for the rest of their lives?? There is no such thing as socio economic justice. Everyone cheered when the west headed by Ronald Reagan “defeated” communism. Now the cheering has died down because the same fate has reached capitalism. But the people forces are banging at the gates. Is that socio economic justice?? I listened to Tobagonians blast those that came to the island and bought property. They even got the last government to pass a law prohibiting property sales to foreigners in certain areas of Tobago. Those propety sales were what enaabled many to send their kids to school in foreign lands and are now better off. Again what is socio economic justice??
      In the broader T&T we should be harnesing our skills for the betterment of the country and our kids. Education is something that cannot be taken away once it is received. Building one brick/child at a time.

      • No ,no AI , your 100,0000 per year ,would be more needed for your cousins ,languishing in smelly lagoons of Central, daily bare feet, and hungry , as the Panday empowerment express, eluded them , during his 4 decades reign , and particularly ,Mikilah’s coronation attempts. If any is left, where politically expedient, then head economic guru Dookie , send to clean up the PNM bastions along the historically neglected ,East West corridor.
        Economic Justice, would emerge when Tobagonians recognize, that they would remain the second Haiti of the Caribbean , so long as stupid competing ,Indo / Afro tribes , dominate their political landscape , and indulge in typical petty , 12 century politics , based in Trinidad.
        What did we have for decades under that bunch? Self serving Deffy Eric ,and his protege Patrick the comedian, who maintained a policy of butt kissing, to highest order ,of Trini based competing South Asian descendants , along with fake whites European tribes, for self aggrandizement , and so, we have to live with the PP tragedy today, as well as, any consequential fallouts.
        Least we forget , let me add, repeatedly propping up, selfish Afro Caribbean nations, at the expense of Tobago, for a few stupid votes, and yet we are reminded as to what that got us , as runaway crimes remain the norm ,in low caste, mainly poor , Afrikan enclaves .
        Compare that with Guyanization brain thrust, by Chief Basdeo , and his ever competing Islamist, so that Trinidad is destined, to remain clueless , socially naive , laughing stocks of the entire globe.
        Take note , as a Hilton CEO ,could tell an entire cabinet , and it’s leader ,where to take their heads of state summit , because they don’t like some of the guests.
        Economic Justice would evolve when leaders of the island ward begin a prudent part to total independence , when they can be free to push any policy , collaborate who who ever they deem fit , and prosecute , or use their portion of natural resources to their own interest-after compensation of course from 49 year of political neglect , social pilfering, and contempts from jokers based in St Anns, Couva, St Fernando , and any unmentionables,you wish to add, who might have pounced on the scene, quite recently.
        I wish you well.

  • Raff sounds like you still suffering from the trashings Panday gave you in past. I am surprise that you waste time writing about this joker. A new generation has arisen, the future is now being charted by a new political direction. Bas is yesterdays man he has been in politics longer than anyone I know and does not know anything BUT politics, how sad. But Bas is not into politics for money, or position or for the people, he does not need all of that, he is in it for himself. He careful tests the political waters and then create a ripple to gauge a reaction from the public. Under severe delusions of grandeur and unreasonable expectations as a gambler, politics is what has kept him alive. Without politics Bas is dead.

    The PNM for it’s part cannot come back into the corridors of power, they need Bas. He has been responsible for them being in power for such a long time. He stuggles all the time, struggle with Robbie, Ramesh, Sudama, Maraj, Dookeran and others. He is not a uniter and does not possess the savvy to keep his party in power. While Bas was struggling with those who helped him the PNM seize this opportunity and governed the nation reminding people that they were the only viable political vehicle functioning efficiently.

    As for Bas coming back, I think we will see some of his most slanderous and vindictive commentaries on the PP by him. After all what does the old man have to lose, nothing really. The truth of the matter is no one will be listening. And somebody needs to quietly pull him aside and tell him the audience gone.

  • What a poor soul is dis creature mamboo, hiding behind his fake name. This tribalist bastard ,cannot make up his mind, as to the authenticity of the victimization crap ,inculcated into his thinking, since he was a desperate ,bottom feeding class,runny nose , bare foot,kid six decades ago.
    Not certain if he is in actuality saying that Afrikan people, under the PNM ,and NAR ,are to blame for all the sufferings ,that ever occurred to his Indo Trini brothers and sisters, even during the periods that white massa was here?
    Are you mamboo , finally subscribing to the obvious notion, that in like manner to the reality on de neo imperial ancestral continent, self serving , nepotist , elites, have used , and abused your people while ,disingenuously selling many bags of goods, with fictitious / phantom claims ,about electoral frauds, and gerrymandering ,as the reason why, in the past 500 general elections since independence, only twice did an Indo Trini leader emerge ,to head a government, and when they did each time , it was the result of either an alliance/ coalition?
    Now mamboo, the fact remains , that even a half drunk mental degenerate ,can figure out how to win power , but the challenge remains, how to hold on to it , due to full appreciation of one’s moral responsibility to the national interest.
    Basdeo never figured it out and so his subpar fortunes, but maybe his ardent protege , de queen can. Let’s see,she has three more years, then we can figure out if you and Shah are correct that victory for the Queen is inevitable.

    http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/NIZAM_SUES-135838713.html

    Now folks ,see why they love them some White Massa Privy Council? Is it a coincident that lifetime speaker Nezam , aka Tabla head, is coming out of the woodwork, ,to parrot the political victimization card, forgetting the actual cause, for his personal demise ,was due more to his unconcealed racism? What next , a new coalition of the unwilling , led by old guards ,International Relations expert Suraj, Economic Guru Dookie,financial / agri experts Sudama/ Ramnath?
    President Richard,did I not warn you not to touch this with foolishness, with a 10 ft pole, but instead let Her Majesty Queen K,do her own dirty work , and fire this ‘political has been,’ herself?
    We wish our collection of people well.
    Luv Humanity!

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