Backward ever, forward never

By Raffique Shah
September 22, 2012

Raffique ShahIN ordinary times, the Prime Minister’s decision last week to fire Herbert Volney for allegedly misleading the Cabinet on a critical issue (Section 34) would have won the lady universal acclamation. But these are extraordinary times. The baying of the hounds continues unabated, the sounds of fury rise to crescendos, refusing to be silenced by the sacrifice of one silly goat. The natives are restless.

Kamla Persad-Bissessar must be a puzzled woman. Having led her coalition government through too many crises to count and scandals aplenty, and now, having taken the most decisive action in her tenure after a week of public outrage, she must wonder why so many continue to call for her head. Well, Madam, so asked Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution, after she had infamously offered the masses cake when they cried out for bread. Marie and her fellow nobles paid with their heads, quite literally.

Let us not get carried away, though. This nation is not on the brink of any revolution, certainly not a violent upheaval that could see a bloody overthrow of the government. No, we have never been that way inclined. Ours are a people who, when they are fed up with high-handedness, angered with governments, they give you the hardest wine you would taste, the fiercest jam you could imagine, and, as on a Jouvert morning, before you know it you are outside the band skating on your backside on a dirty pavement, wondering what the hell happened there. That’s the way we “revolute”.

So the PM can caress her neck secure that she won’t suffer Marie Antoinette’s fate. Instead, she should glance at Patrick Manning, maybe even pay him a visit, see how he is coping with post-emperor stress. Or she should touch base with her guru, Basdeo Panday, find out all she can about post-power-tabanca. It’s useful to familiarise yourself with territory you are likely to chart sometime soon.

You see, the outrage that refuses to retreat has little to do with Section 34 per se, which served only as the straw that broke the camel’s back. The proclamation, then hasty repeal of that noxious piece of legislation, bared the backsides of all Cabinet members. And so far as the public is concerned, both the sight and stench were nauseating. Even as they hastily pulled back on their drawers, the lingering odour hovers ominously for the government.

The PM clearly thought that firing Volney was a volley so loud and clear, it signalled strong leadership such as we have never seen in the country or the region. But people are not so easily suckered. They have long asked why Volney was hired in the first place. He was always a loose cannon, an obnoxious person whose arrogance and misleading sense of self-importance was incomprehensible. In other words, he was a disaster before it happened.

So while his firing elicited a chorus of approval from the converted, it meant nothing to the discerning public. Others who were as culpable in this Section 34 affair (as it would be labelled in history) remain arrogantly ensconced in high offices, defecating not just on Joe Public, but on persons whose offices demand respect even if the individuals invite criticism. Jack Warner, who seems to be licensed by the PM to crush anyone who disagrees with him or his government, spewed sewage when he responded to statements made by President Max Richards, and concerns about the state of the nation expressed by a priest.

That the PM would later apologise publicly to these individuals and others who were hurt in the verbal melee meant nothing to the uncultured Warner. The PM should note, although I doubt she would heed, that if there is a threat to her government that’s bigger than Section 34, it comes with the name Warner. His defenders would point to the drop in murders since he planted an army post in Laventille. They would cite his generosity, the number of votes he garnered in general and internal elections.

My response? A boor is a boor, matters not how it is packaged. Warner will haunt the People’s Partnership to its political death. He is another reason why the public remains restless, why there will be continuing unrest in the country. There are other ministers who are as arrogant as he is and who do not help the PP’s tattered image. Then there are the thieves—you find them in every regime. They are not vocal, except occasionally when they sing mandatory praise to the PM. The people know who they are, just as we did when the PNM and the UNC were in power. Where is the evidence, they invariably ask. Look in the mirror, I respond.

I note that Keith Rowley and the PNM are calling on the government to resign and hold fresh elections. Some thoughts on that: I don’t think Kamla is as stupid as Manning (he called two early elections, in 1995 and 2010, and lost both!). The PP coalition is not going to fall apart anytime soon. Its members value their offices. The word “principles” is alien to politicians. So, for worse more than better, the country is saddled with a defective government until 2015.

Assuming that public outrage becomes so powerful, it forces the government to call elections, what then? Can the PNM unseat the PP? And is that really what the population wants? I don’t think so. Getting rid of the PP might not be a difficult task. But crafting an alternative that would weld this nation together, extract its full potential, and take us forward to a land promised but never before delivered, is the challenge that faces us all. We cannot proceed backward ever forward never.

18 Responses to “Backward ever, forward never”


  • Linda Edwards, Class of 1967

    My erudite(I say so myself) was not published last evening. Is soomeone trying to stifle comment or Raf’s brilliance?

    • ah beginning to strongly belives sombody trying hard to cut we freedom of speech through the media so dont be suprise if your blogg disapeare. when last you went on d express ? is it my computer or the comments features where you read all the good stuff is no longer in existance? ever since jack start talking bout by one of them newspapers the express just start shutting down? no more comments features available.we and the world cant read what the nation is saying about the ppp government /pnm or anbody that messed up for that matter .is the one place we can remind the world and the government AND ourselves ‘we the people of t&t not stupid and we not taking dat ANYMORE ‘ so they shut we down.. did jack buy out the express ? anybody knows? if the comments features was still available the comments would of hit bout 5000 or more regarding the law they try to sneek through to help they criminal friends .. what ah thing !!! if ah did not know any better ah would of say express did know this thing was coming so they was ordered to shut down ..

  • “Kamla Persad-Bissessar must be a puzzled woman. Having led her coalition government through too many crises to count and scandals aplenty, and now, having taken the most decisive action in her tenure after a week of public outrage, she must wonder why so many continue to call for her head..”

    Raff you need to get something else to write about, this type of writing is depressing. You must be using high blood pressure and sugar tablets. You and your PNM friends are good at manufacturing crisis to distract from the real stories that are about to unfurl. Wait an see

    • you is a real PPP to the bone you have all they qualities down pack.. ah could visualize your face with fingers hitting the keyboard typing all that crap.What crisis Pnm manufacturing ? is PNM who hire Jack ? is PNM who hire kamala sister and lie and say she is a nurse and paying she millions of your tax $$ ? is PNM who say no more flooding ? is PNM who say crime done in 120 days ? is PNM who say no more trafic? is PNM who passing laws through the back doors to help they crooked friends ? is PNM who say ‘do so do” ? is pnm who say ‘we will rise” ? is PNM every Momday morning is a new bachanal we loss count and cant even keep up ? what stupidness ya talking ? the people of t&t got rid of the pnm because they was fed up and rightfully so , they vote for this bunch of lunatics because they was grasping for straws and choose to believe anything, everybody jump an d band wagon with out really scrutanising this bunch ( not me)they never fool me for one single moment and that is one of the reasons why they doing all this foolishness ? they all laughing and really believing that all ya stupid for believing all that garbage they was saying and to add insult to injury when they stat putting all them crazy people togather all ya still continue to support them so the full blame is not on them all ya have as much blame to carry in this for letting them stupid people fool all ya,fool all ya , fool all ya ,doh shame to say it now deep down all ya real vex.I does always say i dont mind a smart person fool me but when people i know for sure more stupid than me fool me that does really piss me off ..and to be honest it happend once or twice that is why could say i know how all ya feeling … ‘STUPIDO’ NOW all ya need to first admitt since it good for the soul and then both move ON and OUT of that feeling ,then all ya will be able to think straghit and clear and get down to planning what next to do to save WE caountry …think about it …

      • “I does always say i dont mind a smart person fool me but when people i know for sure more stupid than me fool me that does really piss me off ..and to be honest it happend once or twice that is why could say i know how all ya feeling “(KIM)
        The mistake you are making is believing that the die-hard pnm-mites voted for this coalition. Examine the detailed results of the last election and you would conclude that they did not.
        Sure the coalition are making mistakes, but they pale in comparison to years of PNM corruption. Ask yourself why all of a sudden certain union leaders, constituents in PNM areas and civil servants are demanding everything from this government, when they were silent under the PNM.Ask yourself why certain Permanent Secretaries are trying to sabotage the efforts of this coalition.
        Ask yourself why the Raging Bull is now making demands for endless resignations. Ask yourself why the POS march and demonstration were mainly supported by PNM voters only.Do you think the marchers were aware of the legal consequences of yelling “take Ish and go” as they marched past the US embassy? Wait and see.There were better ways to deal with crisis.Examine the PNM benches in parliament.There are no credible persons there to replace the present coalition.

        • all the people you mentioned always, ALWAYS asking for something dont matter which party in power, I want to respect you but you making it real hard by sounding just like kamala as soon as you open you mouth you start to lie…steups .. The PPP sabotaging themselves evey minute of the day dont need no help from nobody.The rageing bull as you call him is demanding resignations because more corruption in 2 years than all the years of pnm or any other party ..period. You ask yourself ‘was the treasury really empty as they claim ? or maybe is jack money they still spending ? the truth be told they was so supprise by how much money was still in the treasury they went crazy,they now intend to truthfully finish it at the rate they theifing ,spending ,and giving away proves they dont EXPECT to last even the 5 years.
          that is more than ‘eat ah food’ that is eat ah food fast, fast, quick, quck before i ent get none ! i refuse to believe you want the opposistion / public to sit down quietly, dont say nothing and just let these people do whatever they want because d pnm did it or worse ,that is you and others excuse ? i dont care which party /race in power you doing stupidness you have only 2 options with me is either you clean up you mess AND i fully intend to excercise my constutional rights an hold them responsible, Force them to give answers, remind them every day, i not working for the government but the government working for me.

  • “Jack Warner, who seems to be licensed by the PM to crush anyone who disagrees with him or his government, spewed sewage when he responded to statements made by President Max Richards, and concerns about the state of the nation expressed by a priest.”

    Jack Warner is right, the priest should stick to his homily and leave the politics to the politician. To do otherwise is to deemean the office of the priesthood. This apparently is becoming a problem with men of the cloth, making all kinds of political statement when they should be concentrating on taking care of their parishoners spiritual needs.

    As for Jack he has already calm things down in Laventille and the gangsters even signed a peace treaty. One should be proud of that but the media is controlled by the devil and bad news is always on the front page. No killings mean a few journalist will not be able to eat bake and fried fish. It also means Rowley mad as hell. Hahaa.

  • Linda Edwards, Class of 1967

    Lies abound with each pronouncement from the party in power’s top henchmen/woman. I am asking all the major media to print the speeches on this issue from Kamla, Ramlogan, Volney and Warner parallel to each other so we could underline the lies. I asked that they do the discrepancies in bold type.Hope they do.

    Politicians count on people forgetting.

  • “The pen is mightier than the sword” Continue to write Mr.Shah.The old British proverb:”empty vessels make the most noise”is partially applicable to the “section 34″fiasco.Permit me to pose a few questions:How can a Parliament which consists of several “educated personnel”..Doctors,Lawyers,Phd’s,MBA’S etc fail to identify the inaccuracies of Section 34? And who/what actually discovered the malicious implications of Section 34?

    A Canadian who has “never” visited TnT suggested the following:”There are two Trinidadians who are Judjes in Canada.Invite one of them to assist the government with such matters;rather than employ His worship Dwayne Gibbs who is a “political embarassment”

    Meanwhile:”let them eat cake”

  • The Prime Minister caught Lying AGAIN!and she cannot claim that she wasn’t sober at the time-after all, she was in Parliarment,is it!

    PM, AG were warned of impact of law
    By Andre Bagoo Monday, September 24 2012

    *MPs put on notice during 2011 Parliament debate
    The Prime Minister, and several of her Cabinet members, had been specifically warned since last year over the impact of the “new” Section 34. Yet, for months, no action was taken, notwithstanding the fact that that impact would later be determined to be against “Government policy”.

    Newsday has established from Parliament records that the Prime Minister was present in the Parliament chamber on December 9, 2011, when PNM MP Colm Imbert specifically warned the Government that the change of rubric in the new Section 34 would free persons on crimes committed more than ten years ago.

    • “MP Colm Imbert specifically warned the Government that the change of rubric in the new Section 34 would free persons on crimes committed more than ten years ago”.

      OH really! Then why did he vote for it. Why did Rowley and the PNM support 34 if they knew the consequences?

      • Gracias,merci,thank you….Davy de Verteuil and TMan for your enlightenment about “Section 34”

        It’s forty-four (44 years)since I left TnT..however I continue to assure myself that I am a “Trini” and always will be a “trini”

        Somehow,I require to obtain pertinent Economic,Political,and social current affairs (current)about the “goings on” in TnT….

        How can the former Prime Minister (Patrick Manning)issue the following statement:”If I were present I would have voted against Section 34″ (or words to that effect)..Horse feathers!!!! Also..the leader of the opposition together with independent benches acknowledged the passage of the bill;then,after the discovery of it’s inappropiateness held “a march” (public demonstration)to protest same “bill”

        “Comedy is a mousetrap into which the movie-goer continues to fall”……

        • The Opposition marched to protest the early proclamation of one section of the Bill which facilitated the legal advantage of two UNC financiers (formerly PNM financiers). This section of the Bill allowed the two financiers to petition the Court to dismiss all charges against them related to the Airport scandal, and declare them not guilty.
          The government gave assurances at passage that the final proclamation of the Bill would only take place when the Bill was brought back to the Parliament at a future date.
          Lifting one section of the Bill and having it proclaimed into law, approved by the Cabinet and signed by the President seemed suspicious, especially in light of the fact that two UNC financiers were going to benefit.The Justice Minister was fired as a result. Did the Cabinet rely on the expertise and professionalism of the Justice minister, without carefully examining the details? Did the President follow protocol and simply endorsed the Cabinet’s decision? The Opposition was not privy to the early proclamation, hence the outrage and demonstration.

  • I think Mr Manning is sincere when he say’s he’d spike Oppositiong Rowley he the Section`34 cross him-needles to say Manning was man perhaps arrogant, but he never cheated the Law or Constitution…never.
    Indeed he let us down in his deterimation hanging on to Hart. Hart built Hyat for @80M less compare to what our Construction Mafia proposed and within record time.
    The Syrian wanted to tear up our Ntions development programe yet Patrick Manning kept his mouth shut.
    I’m in no way sparing Hart for his insencitivity as a White Canadian Mentality, truth be told he and his Asian spouse frowned at the natives as crudely as the ethnic polarisating of the economy and labour market is at the moment.
    Harts brought in the Asians work force and professionals whereas today we have been marginalised as tokens for photo ops other than that we are a purely National Security issuewith a house negro at its helm.
    The opposition is in a diffrent time zone it mekely submited to Section34 and thats because it lack vision void of balls and its leader is too darn lazy.
    Manning’s pride himself as a man no as a snitch our an ingrate cost him a lot but his worthless detractors within the PNM is what we should really be concern.
    The captain of the Band is a Flagwoman,he only jumps when the music start and because of his inoportunist nature he virtually kills the music too.
    Currently the old NAR cum COP have bitter taste much like ULF had in 1987-89 when Robbie betrayed and dog-house the Central lot.
    Yet PNM lack the vison and bravery thus behaving like more of a rablerouser bunch inviting baccanal where its uppity house negros unabashedly peddal & Back peddal to the incumbent’s tune.

  • RAPID RESPONSE,ANACONDA, JACK to the Rescue= I think He Should Get 300 TRILLION- Plus the 4.6 BILLION to Fight Crime.
    Another move on the CHESS Board, Pawns in the GAME… My People Love to Have it SO…

  • We can proceed backward. The author should open his history books; take the dust off and read it again. Nations have to be led; one cannot go to the store and purchase leadership. It must come from within and in pre crisis moments. I wonder what would have happened to the USA if Obama did not emerge.

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