By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
March 07, 2012
Roodlal 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?