Dance Macabre in the COP

By Raffique Shah
June 08, 2014

Raffique ShahI suppose the Congress of the People (COP), born a robust, bouncing baby in 2007, died of greed rather than malnutrition in the aftermath of the 2010 general elections, so there is little to mourn today as its corpse twitches in delayed rigor mortis, signs of life that are really spasms of death.

How else must one interpret the feast of vultures we are witnessing today, a kind of dance macabre in which those who suffocated the healthy infant in the ample but noxious bosom of big-mama United National Congress (UNC), pretend to be architects of the party’s afterlife?

The very people who pinched their noses as the stench from the stateroom of the People’s Partnership Government became nauseating are belatedly seeking to resurrect the dead. As far as the electorate is concerned, the COP that promised visionary new politics in 2007 is dead and gone…rest in pieces.

Winston Dookeran and his team defied the conventional odds in the 2007 general elections, amassing 148,000 votes (rounded numbers, 22 per cent of votes cast) to the PNM’s 300,000 (46 per cent) and the UNC’s 194,000 (30 per cent). What those numbers told us was that 148,000 electors calculatedly voted against the UNC and the PNM—and this does not factor in another 300,000 or so who stayed away from the polls, mostly because they were unimpressed with everything on offer.

So, although the COP did not win a seat, which then UNC leader Basdeo Panday rubbed in Dookeran’s face the way George Chambers did Karl Hudson-Phillips and the ONR in 1981, it made a massive point: many, many people were fed up with PNM and UNC politics. They wanted something new, something different, which is what the COP offered.

Because our memories are short, people may not remember some of the frontline candidates for the COP in those elections. They included Nirad Tewarie, Ganga Singh, Rabindra Moonan, Selby Wilson, Joe Pires, Manohar Ramsaran, Wendy Lee Yuen, Hulsie Bhaggan, Gary Griffith, Gillian Lucky, Anand Ramlogan, Marlene Coudray and Mervyn Assam. Other stalwarts were in the “engine room” as the new party campaigned on a platform that promised new politics.

By 2010, some rats had quietly returned to the very UNC they had been cussing three years earlier, tails between their legs, high offices on their mind. But Dookeran and others held the high ground and ended up forging an alliance with the UNC that became the Partnership under the leadership of Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

The lofty Fyzabad Declaration was supposed to reflect this “new politics”, propelling many people who had never voted before, and certainly those who believed in the COP ideals, to turn out in record numbers (70 per cent of an estimated one million voted). The masses delivered 29 of 41 seats to the Partnership, leaving a severely trounced PNM with a paltry 12 seats. In the euphoria of the moment, people who had earlier rejected both UNC and PNM politics, anxiously anticipated a new dispensation, a new dawn.

It did not take long for the masses to realise, once more, that they had made asses of themselves, that “new politics” was the same old, same old, disguised in new garments. With the feeding trough firmly in their hands, the UNC swine started swilling as if there was no tomorrow. And before the idealists knew what was happening, COP-ers too plunged into the food-fest, grabbing even more than the UNC did.

For sure, some among the COP remained aloof of the plunder. I do not believe that Dookeran was in any way involved in corruption. In fact, honesty is the quality that makes him attractive to the 300,000 or so discerning citizens who do not trust the UNC or the PNM. Let’s face it: Dooks is not charismatic or exciting or even a dynamic platform speaker. Honesty is all he has going for him.

I also do not believe that COP-ers such as Prakash Ramadhar, Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan, Lincoln Douglas, Bhoe Tewarie and a few others are into skulduggery.

However, they have all been tarnished by the broad brush of wrongdoing because they have failed to stand up, speak out and take decisive action when the faeces from the Partnership stateroom started floating. Au contraire, they have publicly defended a government that remains mired in mischief that runs beyond the confines of corruption.

Admittedly, it takes a special kind of human being to stand on principle when it matters most. The majority of people choose the easy road. In this case, they would not want to see the Partnership Government fall, so they will not resign over fundamental breaches of trust. Of course, the Government will not collapse with the departure of five or six MPs. And there is something called “critical support” that is an option for men and women who possess testicular fortitude.

The COP has lost all credibility, all influence, and most importantly, it has lost its constituency. The mass of electors who stood by the party in 2007, and who increased in numbers by 2010, have abandoned it.

Its leaders are therefore fighting over a carcass, truly a dance macabre. What disappointment.

7 Responses to “Dance Macabre in the COP”


  • The truth is that politics generally can be attributed to a game of fooling people in the past four years. What was wrong then is now right. Words like ‘credibility’ no longer seems to have meaning. Spirituality has lost it’s soul and the kind of ‘spirit’ afloat is one of neckromancy and foul play. It is said that democracy is of the people, for the people and by the people, but the kind that exists is, of the well off, for the well off and by the well off. The growth in the underworld seems to have multiplied several times over. Institutions seems to have died, work ethic seems tho have died, interactions seems to have died, people caring for people seems to have died. We are divided by geography, north against south, south and central against north and west,established against unestablished and most profoundly, race against race, class against class and the father of them all UNC against PNM. There appears to be no grounds for reconciliation because there are public characters who make sure that where they stand only those of like appearances could stand there with them. The IRO is dead. NGOs are dead, the churches are dead. So, the stench of death is all around us, only that many think they are alive when in fact they are dead and giving in to the dictates of the devil. The COP was never real in the first place, it was a mirage of what people wanted and thought that they had found it in the COP. There was nothing real, only a promise of bringing the races together and a song of “new politics” but the arrangement of that song never had an echo. The arrangers, directors, producers and actors never came up with a product to sing unto the multitudes. We heard their song in practice but when it came time for them to sing they choked and we never heard the song. So, this is time for the burial, burial of a name called COP, but there is nothing in the coffin but the words C-O-P and may god bless their soul. Leadership is not a matter of proclamation, it is in fact directorship, governorship, governance, administration, captaincy, control, ascendancy, supremacy, rule, command, power, dominion, influence. The COP and those with whom they partnered themselves never showed any of the required qualities and so we are back to hailing to the Captain, “hey Captain, the ship is sinking, Captain the seas are treacherous, there is no land in sight, no rescue ships around us and we can’t depend on you to tell us what to do”.
    “We are all afloat in the ship, destination nowhere…….. There is the sound of a voice saying R-o-w-l-e-y, somewhere in the far off land and we may have to sail until we get there (if we get there)”.

    • What a lot of nonsense, total negative clap trap.
      Exaggerations galore! “Spirituality has lost its soul, IRO is dead. NGOs are dead, the churches are dead”

      What total bullshit.

      • TMan, you have made my day with your “What a lot of nonsense, total negative clap trap.” remark. It is exactly what you and your ‘dirty campaigning’ friends would say when the truth is painted about your government.
        TMan, the devil is a very happy man with the governance of T&T just the way it is! Ta ta.

  • Very well researched and written article. The recent cry for Dooks to come back and lead the party was not reciprocated by Dooks and I do agree with him. He must be or close to his 70s now. He does not have the silver tongue like his counterparts but no one can point a finger towards the man and say he is dishonest. I will never forget when NAR was the government (80s) a town and country director refused to follow an instruction from Dookeran and she was so nasty towards him and he chose to carry on as if nothing happened and carry on with his work. That to me was admirable. I have maintained and will continue to maintain some Trinis have this culture (thieving) built within themselves (we time now) irrespective of race and status whereby its just not corruption but how much one can take (political correctness) within the allotted time frame. This refers to the those who control the purse strings as well as the layman wanting pay without doing a fair day’s work. Whoever says let’s vote for change must now define what change means. I am tired of hearing this expression and I believe I speak of many like myself.

  • Hey Bro Kian, you know you are spot on, when that trologian rascal, called Euro -T-Man , is getting his ‘jockstrap in a twist,’ all because you’ve highlighted, in cogent fashion ,how his neo tribal party,in one term of office , has almost completely destroyed our once beloved , now under achieving country, with an ugly,alien ,unwelcome ,political culture, that has made us the laughing stock of the world, as our economy remains stagnant, infighting/backbiting , cronyism, ethnic purges, incompetence ,and blatant corruption, remains the norm. Nuff said!

    http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Carolyn-confused-over-year-old-letter-262330171.html?m=y&smobile=y

    Yeah , Senora Seepersad-Bachan,so welcome to the real world of T&T politics , where all is fair , in luv, and war,especially within your neo -tribal arena!
    It ain’t much of a stretch to say, that if one wishes to get some semblance of an idea , as to the type of leaders , these creatures , will eventually evolve into , one should just take a look , as to how they treat their own , when they are out of power-especially, when the latter, belongs to the lower echelons of their food chain.
    Put differently- it ain’t only delusional Pundit Sharma,turned rising PP elite / government minister,who thought, he too was a Brahamin, whose family decided ,to leave the ease, and comfort of Mama India , to endure life on Trini , Post African slavery plantations, with fellow Dalit/Untouchables, si?
    Translation-fool me once , shame on you, but twice, then I am the idiot,&no ,we don’t care if you too, are a lawyer, female , engineer , top notch UWI lecturer, former AG,who came via dirt poor ,humble beginnings, in places , such as Siparia, or Sando.Same difference!
    One would go on to make her sister ,into a million dollars a year,personal assistant, because she ain’t trust , ‘Afro Kinky Head Nation,’ Maligned , under valued Public Servants, to do their jobs, while the other , as we saw would , pressure her bag carrier , to quit school, while most certainly , would eventually fight to get her own kids,extended family , and cronies, into Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard,Standford, Princeton, NYU, Columbia, LSE, and Yale, with T&T Scholarships, or worst yet , Unit Trust paid Scholarships. Ummmmm, and thanks Mr Dupree ,for spilling the beans , on certain shenanigans ,to get a certain ex PM , two daughters, their respective educations, via wink/wink loans- gifts , with desperate folks , stolen insurance dividends.
    Sorry Carolyn, but T&T, can do well, without a clone of Auntie K-sweet smile , while parroting close handlers lines,yet low on substance, and worst yet , regurgitating Papa Basdeo-Capildeo /Sat Maraj, power grabbing -”dis is our time”-ideological , policy-agenda -mantras.Honesty? Yeah right!She ,AG Rammy, and their fellow political comedians , won’t know this , even if it rose up from the Caroni plains ,or Sando oil/gas Deltas, and hit them in the face , Uncle Shah.
    Tell you what, that guy from Westmoorings , via Mason Hall, must be licking his chops , like an excited Russian Wolf , at the prospects of devouring either of these publicly charming females, with the inner mean streak.We wish dem wel….ummmmm , physically, ..not politically, that is …hmmmm?
    As usual , our ever astute Uncle Shah , is right on the money, as to the dilemma, the once relevant COP has found itself in.
    Presently, so called honest , yet gleeful fat cat Foreign Minister Dookie ,trots around the globe, while getting fatter ,from guzzling French wines, eating English Muffins,nibbling on Russian caviar,and American Apple Pies,as well as sipping Chinese tea.
    Yep, the same honest Dookie aka de Global Economist Icon, who as Finance Minister , said T&T treasury was empty, we are broke , but in 6 months time ,the treasury if full, as he tries to woe , resource starved bandits to com ed to T&T so as to prey. Now suddenly , his government gave away our reserves to cronies, and we have no Yankee dollars to trade-and who is silent as a Tunapuna , or Carapichima mouse again Uncle Shah? Yep, your honest , economically rotund Dookie.
    Is it a coincident that Dookie fellow schizophrenic protégée AG Rammy , has the same attitude when it comes to T&T? They win a case, then the legal system is great,but if they don’t, perhaps agents are destroying us?

    http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,195970.html

    Guess who is having a hearty laugh- like a Las Lomas SaliPainter, sighting food,in her 5 billion dollar , personal , ‘unbugged,’PM residence – at the follies of these COP bozos , led now ,by the political lightweight /neophyte ,called Senora Carolyn Seepersad -Bachan, who naively thinks ,she is the real enchilada,in COP lala land -headquarters?
    You bet-’Her Majesstrick Queen K’
    In other sectors of the globe , where patriots prevail, and minority fractions, sometimes holds sway, in tenuous,political Alliance, said power brokers, will capitalize on means , to keep the rabid majority in check , so as to ensure the national interest is always guaranteed , but not these morally repugnant cretins , whose sole goal , is to feed like starving piglets at ‘De Mama T&T -State Economic breast.
    Translation-self aggrandizement has taken on a new meaning.
    Sadly though,one should not have much hope for a quick relief , before our next election, for just like a receding, soon to be defeated army, some of the worst damages, tend to occur, just before the last military breath is taken,or a truce is agreed on.
    Let’s see how dem Tea leaves play out Uncle Shah.That other clueless Sando , vindictive , fake Christian Nepotist, who once controlled the PNM, once boasted , ‘me think ,’to his fellow drinking pal Basdeo,that his ‘party stands alone ,’ which meant, he won’t join ranks , with any other , for political gains.
    Would new leader , Uncle Rowley, hold such an intransigent stance – if ,in the words of my late , extremely wise , Tobago Granny ,”water gets more than flour?”
    We’ll see.Thanks for a fine article , as usual Uncle Shah!

    I love this land , Y tu?

  • The year is 2015. The PP has lost the election. Rowley is now PM with a comfortable PNM majority. Kamla is deciding her future.
    Port of Spain is celebrating with wanton abandon…fete for so! The PNM boys and girls are eagerly anticipating cushy jobs. Plans are being hatched to replace governmental heads of State enterprises with PNM plants. Those with Indian names are being displaced, accused of corruption and evil affiliation with the UNC. No one is prosecuted for anything. Rowley is having great difficulty finding qualified Afro-Trinis to fill positions. Word travels to countries overseas. PNM diehards are starting to return to T&T in eager anticipation of filling prime jobs. Resumes are being stacked and invented. UNC supporters are beginning to consider emigrating as they blame the PNM for discriminating against them. Suddenly Kian’s blogs are all positive. Trinidad has suddenly become a very desirable place to live. The country’s image is restored devoid of all things culturally known as Indian.
    New ambassadors are appointed to represent T&T overseas. Rowley is having a tough time forming a credible Cabinet. He wants to avoid recycling failed politicians of the Manning era. Ken Gordon is happy. The Express is happy. The crime rate does not change. As a matter of fact, there is an increase in the number of murders. The Police are still not able to solve any murders. The Courts are still slow and bribery and corruption continues. The financiers are switching their allegiance to obtain contracts. Ministers are still collecting kickbacks for awarding contracts. Processing time in government offices is still at snail’s pace. People continue to complain about slow civil servants. People continue to bribe civil servants for faster service.
    The Carnival committee is happy with an increase of funds while Sat complains that not enough funds are being forwarded to host Hindu celebrations. The Opposition is planning a protest march, joined by Labour.
    Oil and gas revenues are being spent on every project under the sun. Cepep and URP rages on unchanged with the usual corruption. Rowley tells us quite often that he is not racist because his great aunt was an Indian woman from Penal, a place which is going to be forgotten and ignored. UNC projects are investigated and exposed. The Finance minister claims that the treasury is empty. No one is charged or prosecuted.
    T&T continues to be at the bottom of every index which compares the performances of the countries of the world. The PNM begins to examine the electoral map to ensure victory in 2020, gerrymandering and house padding once again become fashionable. Indians complain and agitate for equal rights, equal funding and equal opportunities as they control the business sector, the professional sector and grow their wealth. Rowley is afraid to be accused of discrimination, so he funds Indian celebrations, schools and areas quite generously. There are secret talks to establish a secret scholarship fund for PNM insiders.
    IS ANYTHING GOING TO CHANGE?

  • A narrative which evokes perspicacity.The Government wins a second term;please elucidate.What is the political atmosphere in the year 2015? You have aroused my curiosity….well done!

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