It’s time to pay the Devil

By Raffique Shah
July 13, 2013

Raffique ShahIN THE euphoria of the People’s Partnership resounding elections victory on the night of May 24, 2010, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, in her acceptance speech, identified only one member of the UNC executive for praise: Jack Warner. Before mentioning Warner by name, she had thanked only God and the people who voted the Partnership.

Let me quote the PM (from the written text): “Tonight I want to thank the chairman of the UNC Jack Warner…Jack Warner, thank you!”

Indeed, my recollection is that she thanked Jack thrice at that point. “Thank you, Jack, thank you, Jack, thank you, Jack.” Much later, she thanked husband Gregory and a niece (Lisa), as well as workers at the party offices in Rienzi and Siparia, and lower down the order she mentioned Winston Dookeran and the COP, and Tobago’s TOP.

At the time, I did not have to speculate on why she singled out Warner for praise. A few months earlier, he had engineered the eviction of Basdeo Panday as leader of the UNC following a glitzy and costly internal elections campaign. In March, the Partnership staged the most expensive elections campaign in the Caribbean, if not the world (on a per capita basis). I hazard a guess that the Partnership spent more than $100 million in goodies and paraphernalia, advertising, concert-type stages, T-shirts and polo shirts by the miles, flags, buntings, and much more.

The PNM, still holding residual power, could not match the Partnership extravaganza. This country had never seen anything like it.

Jack Warner was central to the huge sums of money that flooded the Partnership coffers in that campaign, in the local elections that followed, and, he reminded us recently, another $25 million spent in the THA elections. He had a “bottomless pit” of money then, which the PM and her colleagues were very comfortable with, and which only a few journalists and columnists dared to query.

He is also a gutter-fighter of international repute, having cut his claws in the corrupt cockpit that is FIFA, associated with dubious characters such as Joao Havelange and Sepp Blatter. He brought to the 2010 campaign strategies he had honed in many ruthless battles in which the body count or collateral damage did not matter.

Indeed, he was the only strategist in the Partnership, the other players having nothing to contribute by way of dollars or sense. It is why Jack emerged on top of the heap. It was why he was given strategic, lucrative, ministries, until he chose to resign. Members of the so-called cabal, and the lesser mortals who, for all their posturing, played only bit parts, bowed behind Warner, kissing his cheeks until two, three weeks ago.

When, therefore, the PM, comes today, panic-stricken, asking Warner the very questions that we in the media have asked since 1989, sober and sane people must wonder: whey she come from?

The religious among us will probably say that when you sleep with the Devil, sup with the Devil, some day you will have to pay the Devil.

For Kamla and her clueless crew, that day has arrived. They are facing the Devil in mortal combat in the by-election, and it seems they have neither the chalice nor the cross nor the crescent to prevent him from devouring them like two dozen doubles, slight pepper.

I am not saying that Warner will win, although it looks that way. I am no political pundit or psychic. I know, too, that a week in politics could bring dramatic changes to an electoral equation. But I’ve been in town long enough to read political signs, and any which way I look at it, Warner cannot lose—except if he ends up in an FBI cell before polling day.

If he wins the by-election, Warner will go on to wreak havoc in the local elections, aggravating a Partnership-slide that began in Tobago last January, and which, even before this implosion, suggested that the PNM would regain its traditional bases. In a worst-case scenario for the Partnership, a Warner intervention could see the PNM triumph in the marginal regional corporations. And a nightmare that must haunt those who danced with the Devil is that prospects for the 2015 general elections look grim.

Should Warner lose but gain substantial numbers of votes, which is a worst-case for him, he still poses a serious threat to the Partnership. How so? The Devil does not die, nor does he spare those who sold their souls to him. The scriptures also say that hordes of people will flock around the Devil, and that too we are seeing.

There can be no doubt that every-man-Jack and every-woman-Jenny in the Partnership sold their souls to Warner. They elevated him to the sky: he was the first to act as PM in 2010. As his latter-day sins unfolded, piling up on those of the past, they defended him. They cussed, abused and threatened citizens who dared to demand justice.

Now that the Devil is threatening to consume them, they are running scared and crying foul. It’s time to pay the Devil.

8 thoughts on “It’s time to pay the Devil”

  1. What an appropriate caption! There is no doubt that this kind of governance is no good for the country and for those who honestly want this country to be on the right footing. What we have is total chaos. Those who work in the public service must now cater to political meandering and worse yet, a service where one has to be identified by the colour of their political allegiance. It means that if, per chance a new administration is voted into power major reconstruction of the every single sector of the service will have to be undertaken in order to return proper service to the citizens of this country. If we cant separate the public service from politics and the evil it brings to every inch of service that is performed, well then “corbeaux smoke we pipe”. Winning an election does not in itself make for good governance. An election is best characterized by money, affluence, slogans, campaign strategy and characters that enlighten, provoke, are imaginative and most importantly can hold a crowd. Governing on the other hand calls for a different set of skills. Demanding only party affiliation is a lose lose proposition. Acquisition and keeping of the best minds is a must, service to country first and foremost is essential, the calibre of management personnel must be beyond suspicion and recruitment of the best minds possible must not be tainted by debts to our political donors. There is no denying that those who now sit in the corridors of power owe Jack plenty. To sit back enjoy it and then turn around and criticise Jack are at least ungrateful. There is not greater political strategist on the scene today than Jack. He understands cause and effects and has a knack for pushing the right buttons at the right time. It spite of ALL HIS CROOCKEDNESS he remains alone as the man who can and does make things happen. While Rowley is a decent man, he cannpt afford to sit back, take in all of the mis-steps of Kamla and her blind crew and expects to be called upon to form the next government. Again, with all his faults Jack can fill the void and create a puzzling scenario for the next election which can leave the PNM wondering “which way is up?” Kamla may maintain the “sure” votes of the UNC but cannot capitalize outside that group.
    Maybe it might be said that Chaguanas West might provide a glimpse of what to expect for 2015!

  2. Jack will lose Chaguanas West.
    Jack will eventually be prosecuted for tax evasion.
    Jack will eventually disappear from politics.
    The UNC is capable of winning 2015 as a single political entity. They did that twice before.
    The civil service has always been politicized.The PNM under Eric Williams began that trend.There are still numerous PNM civil servants in upper positions who are attempting to destabilize the present government.
    Finally, Tobago will decide the next election.

  3. Whatever will be the outcome of this regional election, Am sure people of the area would still have to sweat and drudge along for their very existence.
    Market vendors,Taxi drivers,road workers,all businesses in the area.Life would come at you just as it has been coming for the previous last decades.
    I don’t think either Jack, nor the PP, much less the PNM are presenting themselves as truly being Independent. look like the devil is having a hay day in both the Islands.
    When people are invocating the gods for the party results, the gods are placed in a very trying situation that demands favoritism.But no matter who become the winner, let’s hope the gods start taking care about the under-privilege,the outcasts,the yearning and cry of many that cannot get their voices heard, neither their needs met.
    If things continue as it is after, the character of the devil would closely have to be investigated into, with his aim and objective…look the devil dey!!!

  4. I am not privy to all the political affairs in T&T except what is available on the Government’s website.Therefore,whenever I “comment” on an article my knowledge of the goings-on;lacks the accuracy of someone who actually resides in T&T.

    Nonetheless,my interests in T&T politics resumed in the spring of 2010.A “crawl” at the bottom of my TV read:”Trinidad has elected its first woman Prime Minister”.Immediately,the “mute” button on my TV took care of Larry King and his guests.The next nine hours (6:00 p:m-3:00 a:m PST)were spent on my computer;to acquaint myself with this “historical accomplishment”

    My unspoken thoughts were:”She requires a minimum of three consecutive terms in office;for history to accurately decipher her political achievements”. To deviate briefly.Here is a quick retrospective:I resided in San Fernando West,and around 1966 for the first time I cast a ballot for Dr.Winston (a.k.a.”silvertongue”) Mahabir.The greatest political orator I have heard.(God rest his soul)

    The last three years (2010 to present) somewhat confuses my “meagre” intellect.Apart from the constant criticism of the Prime Minister;the Attorney General regularly “sues” someone..etc,etc.The “cabal” religion,race,corruption et al..You are more divided than at anytime in your history since the end of colonialism.

    “Politics make strange bedfellows” three years ago it was sacrilegious to “breathe”/”utter” a criticism of Jack Warner.Is he the “dealmaker” of the century? Maybe the “musings” of my deceased elders are applicable to your current political situation:”Mouth open and ‘tory fly out”

  5. Interesting, I was born in San-Fernando West but grew up in San-Fernando East, Cipero St. being the divide. I believe Lionel Seukeran (LS) would have edged Winston Mahabir (WM) as the silver tongue. Although on one occasion when LS was speaking some people packed up a heap of ‘gobar’ in his American car and then shouted at him whilst he was speaking on the platform ‘all what you’re saying is s— and you would find it in your car’. WM got fed up with the PNM and left the country 60s and migrated to Vancouver.
    Maybe we can attribute 2 reasons for the current happenings. Technology, today allows us to comment pronto, the other being the size of T&T cannot handle the intellectuals we have on this land and the best form of advice comes from barber shops, bars and street corners via tete a tete.

    1. I beg to differ where orators are concerned.Seukeran was a “regular” jovial person;who on any given day parked his vehicle,and “lime” for awhile.Dr.Mahabir took the microphone;obtained your attention;and retained (it)for his entire delivery.

      I vividly recall while an elementary pupil the word “repugnant” echoed by “silvertongue” to criticize the opposition.The next day at school (unaware of its meaning)I inquired of my teacher…what is the meaning of “repugnant?”…to which he replied…”where/who taught you that word?”…my answer:Dr.Mahabir at a PNM meeting last night (smile)

      P:S…I have resided in Vancouver,BC,Canada for the last 40 years!!!

  6. Amazing! I had similar experience with Seukeran using the terms ‘peregrination in the metropolis’ and ‘bacchanalian propensity’. That’s the moment I became enlightened with the hierarchy of the English language. Those were the days when ‘ole talk’ was that Eric Williams use to talk Latin to his colleagues at the Univ. of Oxford and Capildeo was ‘spinning’ vector mechanics as if it was elementary math at Univ. of London. The other side of the coin was when you had Mahal driving his imaginary car on Cipero St. blowing horn (imaginary) for the lady with the basket on her head selling pone so she can walk faster at crossing the road. Good times, great days and pleasant memories. Keep it up Swordfish and one day we shall meet.

  7. (smile)Nostalgia abounds!It’s always uncertain as to where this life will lead us.You mentioned “Mahal”,and instantly a few of those individuals came to mind e.g. “Congo”..a man who walked about San Fernando;and mumbled,shouted,and performed a dance.Also,I recall “dumpling toe” who travelled with a stick.The type of stick used at a ‘stickfight.” He was very athletic.By today’s standard whenever you “teased” him;think of yourself as Usain Bolt on anabolic steroid to escape his pursuit.

    A footnote:have you ever cried without tears? That’s my state of being when I read about the “murders” committed in T&T.Governments,people,and circumstances change.God never changes..the same yesterday,today and forever.There are people in Canada who publicly espouse:”we will (and have done so)die for our dogs”….Why do Trinbagonians have to die like dogs?

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