Roget Makes the First Move

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
March 07, 2012

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeRoodlal Moonilal and the UNC-led coalition were quick to use Louis Lee Sing’s letter to demean Kieth Rowley. As it turned out, this was much to Louis’ misfortune and a mis-calculation on his part. But God is a good God. Sometimes out of evil commeth good and out of malevolence commeth comity; that is, the recognition among members of a social community that they possess values of decency and fair play that transcend the meanness and commess of a vagabond entity. Ultimately, that is what Anil Roberts’ amendment of the No Confidence motion was all about.

When Rowley moved his No Confidence motion (which he was entitled to do), loud-mouthed Roberts added derogatory language against the PNM which the Speaker felt impelled to accept. However, it took the scathing language of David Abdullah to demonstrate how a sensible and decent person could descend to outright dishonesty to malign the PNM. Whatever its faults, the PNM has taken Trinidad and Tobago to the economic heights at which it has arrived. Yet in one infamous moment, Abdullah had become the spokesman for the dangerous doctrines of the UNC-led coalition called the People’s Partnership (PP).

But faith was waiting and was not meant to be kind. In a few simple sentences Abdulah and Errol McLeod were unmasked and their cynicism revealed to the public. A day after the marathon debate (which many were inclined wrongly to see as a waste of time), Ancel Roget announced that the MSJ, led by Abdullah, must leave the PP “now” or lose the support of the OWTU.

Roget was much more emphatic in his subsequent interview with the Press. He announced that the UNC-led coalition, called the PP, had betrayed “the workers, the unemployed and the vast number of citizens.” In spite of their pretensions, the PP had little love for the ordinary people of this land. Even though the OWTU may have genuinely disliked Manning and his bunch, Roget observed: “Many people who are genuine are saying that they were disappointed in the PNM but they are even more disappointed in the Partnership.”

It is also significant that Roget called on Daaga and NJAC to abandon the Partnership. NJAC is an African-based organization whose primary concern is the rights and empowerment of African people. When the leader of an organization with a working people’s or a class perspective calls upon an organization that can be said loosely to espouse a race perspective to leave the inchoate racism of a so-called multi-party (i.e., the PP) then things within the so-called multi-party must be bad indeed.

Roget’s call seems to suggest that, for all intents and purposes, the attempt to bridge the class and race divide within the multi-pay has not even been papered over. In spite of all the lepaying (a good Trinidad word), UNC, the anchor party, has staunchly remained a parochial organization that continues to emphasis its religious and ethnic affiliations.

In its blindness, the PP could not (or would not) see that even its most ardent constituents have begun to desert them. In his innocence, Dr. Bhoe Tewarie, the beloved wanderer without a home, declared: “I think the constituency protests are probably orchestrated by functionaries of the Opposition party… This is their traditional approach.” He should know; he has be a functionary in all of the parties.

Not satisfied with blaming the PNM for the UNC ineptitude, he thought it opportune to go after the unions, a position that may now be haunting him. Says he: “I think the strike action was the result of strategy on the part of OWTU leadership to capitalize on the motion of no-confidence.” Not content with such simplicity, he declared: “At the end of the day though, people know that the Prime Minister cares for them and is motivated to do good. The union leadership also knows full well that this is the most reasonable government to hold office for a long time.”

Even Abdullah got it wrong. He, too, assured his Queen, to which they all pay obeisance, “The MJS was also supportive of the Prime Minister.” But then Roget was adamant: “The Government cannot say or even imply that they have the support of the labor movement. If labor is represented by the MJS then they must not be allowed to say they have their support.” It would be nice to know how Addulah responds to such sentiments.

Both MSJ and NJAC hoped that the partnership would have been sympathetic to the demands of ordinary people, regardless of their race or religion. But power is powerful, almost deceptive, ambrosia. Once one has tasted its nectar, it’s difficult, nay almost impossible, to free oneself from its embrace. No one is likely to forget the god-like appearance of McLeod, once he was named Acting Prime Minister and rode in PM 1. It was almost as though he was transformed into a monarch of all he surveyed. Once Abdulah became a senator all the talk of working class struggle and equal treatment vanished into thin air. Kamla remained “the Queen.” They all became royalty.

It might be that Roget saw Abdulah and Mc Leod’s behavior and was grieved by their allurement to bourgeois comforts and privileges. Neither of them spoke out against the excesses of the State of Emergency and the building of detention camps that cost the taxpayers $60 million dollars and for which we pay $880,000 a month. Whatever, its faults, the PNM never sought to lock up the little fish while the big fish ate sumptuously and that was the sin that Abdulah and McLeod committed.

A person cannot serve more than one master at a time. One may serve the God of love and benevolence or genuflect to the image of Mammon. The Bible says, “lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break though and steal…”

Shouldn’t David and Errol be checking the quality of their working-class souls?

6 Responses to “Roget Makes the First Move”


  • The fact is that the recent settled contracts under the PP have given more to the workers than under the PNM which offered nothing for many years.
    Is Roget confident that the workers are behind him?
    Is the MSJ or the NJAC abandoning the coalition? Not likely!

  • “Whatever its faults, the PNM has taken Trinidad and Tobago to the economic heights at which it has arrived” Really Dr Cudjoe?
    If the PNM had not wasted $TT 500 million on a rapid rail feasibility project, if they had not given a $TT 60 million contract to the party chairman’s wife, an inexperienced unknown contractor, $TT 500 million cost over runs on the water front project, $TT 350 million cost over run on the Brian Lara stadium. Just maybe, we could of built adequate, modern hospitals so that the then Prime Minister, Patrick Manning could of been treated right here instead of running off to Cuba for his heart and now to the USA for treatment to get his tongue un tied.
    So what economic heights you are talking about sir? It sounds more of economic waste and corruption to me.

    Thank You

  • Linda Edwards, class of 67

    gazB, if Panday had not enriched his friends, the US indicted criminals ISh and Steve; and if the money spent on the airport had at least produced some matching grey granite tiles instead of a set coloured like a dog with mange, if the UNC had built ONE public assisted house for one family during their tenure, if they had not hung nine people in one weekend, including one who had a good chance of going free of all charges, If Panday had not”Accepted a scholarship” from Dupree for his daughter to live in the fanciest digs in London, and if afer building the airport, 200 dump trucks purchased for the project had not disappeared, we would have been further along the road to being a first world country. When we look at Trinidad, compared to the rest of the Caribbean and other Commonwealth countries that are not white populated in the main, we can see the difference the PNM made. There is NO OTHER COUNTRY in the world that provides free education up to the tertiary level to all its students who qualify as Trinidad and Tobago does.(Never mind that the Gate program allowed a number of UNC supporters to start up schools to nowhere tht the state paid for).

    Even in the US projects have cost over-runs. Sometimes after all the soil testing etc, the site turns out to be archaologically significant, and all digging and building has to stop.Unforseen weather events can cost millions more than budgetted. The Chunnel connecting England and France, the construction for the Commonwealth Games in India ;and the building of the Boston Underground Railroad all went into massive cost over-runs. A whole airport was built in the US that never functioned. So, only an ignoramus who does not read and look at other places would say that the PNM did nothing. I could pay a lot of money to have an architect consider expanding my house, and raising the roof, and then decide, that it may be sounder in the longrun, to keep the house I have. That makes sense. It may not make sense to someone who never built anything or owned anything.
    Paying, for example, for an extended warranty on a vehicle that you intend to keep for a long time makes sense. If you trade it in in two years, it makes no sense. Trinidad and Tobagois not a trade in. Those who complaine about the Waterfront Towers are now the ones holding the Parliament there. What you going do with people like that?

  • That airport is a mess, an unmitigated disaster, and it’s time for Steve and Ish to pay for their corrupt actions as their fellow conspirators already have done. As for alleged PNM corruption, well the UNC holds the power, where are the indictments? All we get is talk and more talk. Back to the airport, have you seen it? used the bathrooms? walked the corridors? I did and ah shame. I thought Kamla would at the very least replace the mismatched tiles, fix the damn bathrooms nah!! It’s a UNC legacy building. All one can get to eat there it seems is junk food: fried chicken and more fried chicken, and fries. Like I said ah shame to come through that airport.

  • Linda Edwards, class of 67

    If you followed the argument about “kife and Fork”people as against “banana leaf” people, you would recognize that that is a banana leaf airportbathroom. A couple of steps removed from a latrine.The UNC legacy.You ent see that these people joking?

  • The present condition of the airport has little to do with the UNC legacy. When the airport was built it served its purpose adequately, not exceptionally. Since its construction there has been no maintenance. The bathrooms are a mess with non functioning toilets. The departure lounge was poorly planned. It’s a big shed with no facilities. The fast food outlets are unsanitary and the availability of a healthy variety of food is sadly lacking. Poor planning and the lack of future anticipation of growth disallow the addition of new healthy restaurants.
    The UNC government as well as Manning’s regime are both to blame for this fiasco. Let’s see if the PP make a difference.

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