A Chink in the Armor

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
March 01, 2012

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeWhatever else Keith Rowley may not be doing, he has certainly put the fear of God, or is it Lord Rama, into the hearts of the members of the UNC-led Government. Surujrattan Rambachan, the Foreign Minister, says that Rowley’s motion is “vexatious, frivolous and irrelevant.” Yet the UNC has undertaken to conduct three public meetings to mobilize its base and every one of its twenty-nine members of parliarment are slated to speak on the motion. That does not seem to be the kind of response that one mounts against a vexatious, frivolous and irrelevant motion, but then there is always a disparity between what the UNC says and what it does.

To an outside observer, the anxiety the UNC has displayed suggests that although Kamla’s defenses may not be completely broken they certainly are being besieged. Thus, it was left to Jack, the outsider, to warn that any motion of no confidence is a “serious matter” and remind the short-memoried UNC that “we did the same thing” previously.

One report suggests that Rowley would be “coming with bombshells,” another that he will be speaking about jobs while an irresponsible PNM member has suggested that this vote of no confidence may be a collusion between Rowley and Persad-Bisserer. Towards what end, we do not know.

There is no need to venture into these speculative regions. Jobs is certainly an issue that goes to heart of our dilemma but it seems to me that the PNM would be better off if they stuck to a few fundamental issues: such as, how well has the government done in the area of crime; how well the government has done in terms of economy; how well has the government created a sense of confidence in our future and where exactly are they taking us?

Filipe Larrain, the finance minister of Chile in speaking of emerging economies has warned that the world economy is under threat. He has observed: “In spite of better news from some quarters, Europe is in clear recession that started in the second half of 2011, and the US economy will undergo a fiscal adjustment in excess of 3 per cent of output at the end of this year. China—along with much of the developing world—is in a decelerating phrase” (Financial Times, February 28, 2012).

In Trinidad and Tobago, between 2003 and 2009 the economy grew roughly by 6 per cent annually, with a negative growth rate of 3.3 in 2009. In 2010, the country experienced no growth whereas in 2011 the economy declined by 1.4 per cent. Although unemployment has remained at around 6.0 per cent, if growth does not pick up significantly there is a chance that this rate could rise soon.

Therefore, the challenge is not only to get economic activity going but to keep the economy on a sustainable growth part. This means we must start projecting in both the energy and non-energy sectors. Given this projection, what does the UNC intend to do to insure that we grow the economy over the next year.

As the economy drifts, so does the country. Nobody knows where we are going. Under the PNM, at least there was a 20-20 Vision. Under the UNC there is no vision at all. Which leads to the following questions: how does the UNC intend to rally the country; how does it intend to regenerate growth; and how does it intend to bind the country’s wounds?

The UNC is a disintegrating party in which Hindus hold the sway. Neither Jack Warner, Prakash Ramadhar (COP); Ainsworth Jack (TOP) nor David Abdullah (MSJ) attended Sunday’s meeting at Kamla’s residence.

It seemed disingenuous for Rambachan to claim that the absence of these gentlemen “might have been due to the fact it was called at short notice” which can be interpreted to mean that their input was not important or they were left out the deliberations deliberately.

Jack Warner seemed to have placed his finger in sore of the worsening party. Asked if he would contest for the chairmanship of the party, he said he would only contest “if being there would promote Afro-Indo Unity within the UNC. If not, I will not be contesting. The UNC is supposed to be a multi-ethnic party?”

Has the UNC (and its coalition) come to this: a complete breakdown of inter-racial unity within the party which accounts for the absence of Warner, Ramadhar, Ainstworth Jack and Abdulah from the coalition’s deliberations? And if inter-racial unity is absent, how far can the party be from breaking down?

Meanwhile, the PNM lives on and is even thriving. After some trying times, Rowley has found his footing and is beginning to play a steady, if not a masterful innings. After being demoralized a bit, the party faithful are returning to the fold and the general public has gotten the message. The UNC is incapable of ruling fairly, squarely, inspiringly and competently.

Twenty sixteen is a long way off, but even at this early date the signs are there for all to see. After the honeymoon, the test of real-life governance has begun and the evidence is clear: they have fallen short and are lost in the political kingdom. Kamla is not well; the cracks in their interracial unity are showing; and they have failed to inspire our citizens. The hope that we are in a better place today than we were yesterday is fading and desperation has began to set in.

I don’t know what will happen on Friday but we are beginning to see the fear in UNC’s eyes. The honeymoon has ended; the rightful heirs to power are ready to assume the mantle of leadership and there is panic in the place.

Today, all the faithful can say: Go Forth Keith; the party and the nation stand behind you. Put on the whole armor of God so that you will be able to stand against the wiles of the dissemblers.

UNC must know: They can only fool some of the people some of the time.

5 Responses to “A Chink in the Armor”


  • What a load of rubbish! All Rowley achieved with his motion was to mobilise a drifting PP and to put them in a zone where they are most comfortable; rallying the faithful, sounding the trumpet and hittiong the campaign trail. We do not have political parites we have election oufits. Maybe Lee Sing is closer to thetruth than even he knows!

  • Some words from Brian George:
    The statement by the Leader of the Opposition regarding a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister is another example of the complete uselessness of the current Opposition. Firstly, what are the grounds for this motion?

    I am yet to hear Dr Rowley offer anything like a cogent explanation for the action he and his cohorts are going to pursue. The sole purpose of this endeavour appears to be nothing more than another attempt to make the government look bad. Business as usual for Rowley and company.

    I strongly believe the current members of the Opposition would benefit from a workshop on civics. It is likely they also need to be provided with a proper job specifications document, since they clearly do not understand their role in Parliament.

    “Destroy the government at all costs” seems to be the order of the day, and damn the consequences. There seems to be no regard for how the country is made to look by their antics, nor do they seem to consider the repercussions of their actions.

    The actual outcome of the motion in terms of success or failure is a forgone conclusion, since the majority required for it to succeed is not attainable by the PNM. With no possibility of success, there is no real point to the motion. What is important is the international standing of T&T will have been damaged.

    The outside world may well believe the government is less stable than it actually is, since in the rest of the world it is probably difficult to conceive of such a petty small-minded group actually being in Parliament, and deliberately damaging the reputation of their country for the purpose of getting some attention and making the government look bad.

    I suppose Rowley and his gang need to do something to earn their salaries; it’s a pity they could not do something constructive.

    They contribute nothing to the growth and development of the nation, they oppose every measure designed to fight criminal activity, and they strenuously deny that the PNM were ever anything but good little boys and girls when they were in office.

    It is no wonder they have to resort to tactics such as this to get the attention of a populace that would really prefer if they would just sit down and shut up.

    Who knows, if the Leader of the Opposition did not pull a stunt like this sometime soon, he would run the risk of becoming completely irrelevant, even within his own party.

    As in the case of the death penalty, the public interest, the will of the people and all other considerations pale against the idea that under no circumstances can this Government be allowed to look good.

    Unfortunately for Rowley and his gang, performance beats ole talk every time.

    • TMan, your repeated line, associating people you oppose as being ‘gangsters’; for example your line, “I suppose Rowley and his gang …’ etc., speaks more about your your inability to disagree with others without resorting to such characterisations.

      Were one to use similar characterisations against the PM and her ministers–my favourite unfavourable is Jack, poor fellow–they would also be failing as are you in encouraging discourse that is incisive yet courteous.

      A|nd don’t get me wrong since I believe in, and when possible also try my hand at witty retorts, double entendre, and the alphabet of political picong for which TnT is notable.

      However, and surely despite these, there is more than enough gallery-room for disagreement garbed with civility and for opposition infused with nobility.

      Your last line that ‘performance beats ole talk …’ is especially true, but especially when the standard for performance in or out of government; for and against, assists in raising the bar of discourse so that even partisanship can be an erstwhile ally of patriotism, and not its inherent foe.

      Shalom

  • Linda Edwards, class of 67

    The signs of fear are everywhere. One sees it in the comments of newspaper bloggers, who keep on attacking Rowley, and not dealing with the issues.You see it in the shouting headlines of Parliamentary Debate by newspaper,and of people calling for him to resign if the vote is won by the PP. In Australia, a member of her own paty called for a vote of No Confidence in the Prime Minister, he was hoping to take back leadership of the party. He lost, he has not resigned from PArliament. No need to. He has pledged to work with his leader. When Bas, in making his first comment that I ever agreed with, said Rowley did not have to resign, he was castigated and pilloried by those sycophants who DAILY EARN THEIR BREAD SINGING THE PRAISES OF THE PP IN THE PAPERS.The Court Jesters twisted the debate to say no one would vote for him, which was not the topic.
    Those who comment supporting the strikers, based on economy, their comments appear briefly in one paper, then disappear.

    Some find that Trojan Horses are sent to their computers from specific papers, not from others, which speaks of collusion, because their e-mail addresses are not published with comments, so it must be an inside job.

    For a party with the majority, they are shaking in their boots. They can try to denigrate Dr. Rowley, call him offensive names, but they cannot out-debate him.That’s a fact!
    We are about to see a spectacle of David vs Goliath. May the stone be true, and find its mark exposing a government of nothingness. This debate is not meant to oust the PP from Power, but to remind the public, that it voted for nothing, and nothing from nothing leaves nothing, no maatter the catchy slogans.

  • Yeah, and the UNCs motions of no confidence against the PNM had merit. TMan get a hold of yourself. Like Doctor Cudjoe has pointed out, and can be verified by “the word on the street”, the facade has been lifted from the UNC/PP to reveal it for what it is. A Hindu/Indian centric regime incapable of balanced Governance.

    The psychology of Kamla and her posse is deeply steeped in the order of Castecism, and Africans have been projected in the dalit roles in order to rationalize their sense of superiority. It is rather unfortunate that in every human theatre on this planet where there are Africans, and where Indians came later and became a majority or a significant portion of the population, the same situation obtains. This is constrasted with Indians leaving their homeland, and even some regions in the Caribbean with Indian led regimes, to go and seek their fortunes in majoritarian African Societies. There is no reciprocity in terms of Africans doing the same.

    The dirty secret that has inundated the politics of places like T&T and Guyana is slowly but surely loosing its sacred cow preferrential status. Information technology has brought scrutiny to a reality the Caribbean, and even the world, was being diveretd from by sreaming Freudian accusations of racism against black people by some Indians. Black people, ever predisposed to Kumbaya interaction with others who hold them in contempt, took to ignoring the deviousness behind these accusations, and wasting time defending themselves rather than responding as I do. That is to say, reminding their accusers that nothing in our cultural or religious belief systems separate goups based on color and other characteristics, and that they should look in a historical mirror.

    Whether it is the UNC/PP of T&T or the PPP of Guyana,both of these regimes display the same racist characteristics. And this behaviour can be extrapolated across the punditry and cyber warriors whose job it is to run interferrence to steer examination away from these cultural defects that represent the total embodiment of the administrative operations of these two parties. Thankfully, their effectiveness in promoting the black bad, Indian good paradigm is rapidly evaporating. Power to the People, Amanda, We Shall Overcome!!!!

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