Political innovation instead of political (ex)change

By Jamille Broome
January 25 2015 – newsday.co.tt

ParliamentFor years, political parties have promulgated change on their campaign platforms. Looking back, they’ve all purported to know what and how to change the problems within our once peaceful and thriving society, but at the end of the day, we’re always left with nothing more than exchange. Every election, our parties mount platforms to engage in negative campaigning in order to convince the populace why NOT to vote for the opposing side(s), rather than emphasising their own positive attributes or preferred policies. Of course, this is effective in Trinidad and Tobago because we are a society of bacchanal. Remind us of how much money was stolen and how ineffective the last crime strategy was and you will definitely be the next party in power.

Thanks to universal suffrage and subsequently, our Constitution, land ownership and a good command of the English language are no longer required for adults to practice their democratic right to vote, but it’s not a democracy when our only options are kleptocracies. We all know that they’re six of one and half dozen of the other, but most voters in TT would say it’s the lesser of the two evils.

Unfortunately for the ruling party, the “more evil” is usually the government in power at election because their indiscretions will be the most palpable – perpetuating our history of ping-pong politics: one term the PNM; the other term the UNC and its cronies.

Consequently, the citizenry is forced to endure internecine campaigns with no substance. Since the days of Tubal Butler with the British Empire Citizens’ and Workers’ Home Rule Party, politicians have been offering goodie-bags to deflect from the lack of ideas and innovation. In Butler’s day it was free lunches, books and milk; these days it’s increased pensions and any other hand-out that brings us closer to becoming a welfare state.

If you’re not outraged by every government in this country since 1956, you haven’t been paying attention. From the days of Dr Williams with PNM minister John O’Halloran and the subsequent findings of the 1982 Ballah Report to Carlos John and Ishwar Galbaransingh with the UNC’s Airport Project Scandal (the latter still being a key UNC financier), nothing has changed. Corruption and scandals are now a staple of our politics, so much so that we’re not even surprised anymore – or maybe apparently, we haven’t been surprised for decades because in his 1962 book, The Middle Passage, Vidiadhar Naipaul realised that “corruption… aroused only amusement and mild approval.”

We’ve had enough (ex)change in TT and it’s time for an innovative party who will utilise new and unique ways to approach our country’s issues. As Krisztina Holly (an advisor to the Obama Administration) said “change is getting on a different horse”; whereas “innovation is riding a different race.” Political innovators imagine a better future (and enrol people in their vision); innovators engage in non-partisan politics; innovators find win-win solutions to proposed policies; and innovators learn from their mistakes. Essentially, a political innovator puts service before self, heeding the words of the 33rd US President, Harry Truman, who said, “It’s amazing how much you can get done if you don’t care who gets the credit.”

Maybe we should put out an ad for our next Prime Minister:

Trinidad and Tobago is looking for a politically innovative, honest, conscientious, and socially responsible individual, who will put the welfare of Trinbagonians before financiers, foreign powers, friends and family.

You’ll be required to (1) fix the crime epidemic with an iron fist, starting with Customs, the Coast Guard and the TTPS; not the “small fish” on the streets (2) reduce corruption by ensuring accountability and transparency, starting with the enforcement of the Integrity in Public Life Act (this will also have a trickle-down effect on the economy); (3) reform labour laws and introduce employment laws (there’s a difference between the two) so that the most important thing to any individual – employment/job security – will be a confirmed right.

This is a demanding but highly rewarding role for the right applicant. Perks include: free travel, free tickets to any Carnival all-inclusive, the occasional helicopter ride and a dedicated security detail (if you really think you need it).

In my opinion, George Chambers was the closest to an innovator. However, when the chances came in the form of the 1982 Ballah Report (although he did halt the $240 million Caroni Racing Complex and the Malabar Housing Project as a result of it) and the 1986 Scott Commission report to fight corruption, his knees buckled when he saw the extent of the corruption and chose to do nothing instead. The 28th US President, Woodrow Wilson told us that “if you want to make enemies, try to change something.” Am I the only one who doesn’t care about making enemies?

Source: http://www.newsday.co.tt/commentary/0,206056.html

6 Responses to “Political innovation instead of political (ex)change”


  • An accurate article indeed. George Chambers was referred as a ‘duncy’ by his own people within the organization that catapulted him to Prime Minister. That defines the ‘political culture’ we find ourselves immersed in T&T which is the initiator of political corruption. Then political strategy sets in which is, spread the word which is a lie and it will fan itself with punitive flames of destruction of both character and institution. Another name that comes to mind is Winston Dookeran who I will highlight as an honourable statesman of T&T. As far as I know a man who has never took what is not his from the coffers of T&T. He does not have any security detail and drives himself to the airport on official business. We do have few honourable ladies and men her in T&T. The disease that is rampant in T&T is when people look at people but ignore the issues at hand which is very self defeating. This is where the innovation suffers and superficialities take over e.g., looking at one’s colour of skin failing to see the colour of one’s blood. Then the expectation of towing the line of the organization although your conscience is telling you otherwise. We have brilliant T&T scholars who really delivers at the international level but bring them home and the ‘culture’ takes over.

  • This is the start of something good. We need to talk about what is happening in the political arena because, in the end each and everyone of our lives are governed by ‘politics’. It is an escape route when one contends that ‘it is not me and politics’, to avoid the issue, when every step you take to get something is in fact governed, controlled, dictated, ruled or operated by that nasty word – ‘Politics’. The present government has shown a side of politics that those who would otherwise be dismissive are suddenly awaken to the wastage, corruption, overkill, overreach, connivance, pettiness, disrespect for history, disrespect for protocol, lack of ethics, braggadocio, misuse of office and a never ending list of political ills that this country has never before seen. It is indeed a travesty when a prime minister sees only what she wants to see and hears only what she wants to hear and not the other way around. It is annoying and deceitful that an attorney general exists only to serve his party or power base and not seeking the interest of the people first and last. It is full scale bribery when a finance minister is hired with a ten or eleven million dollar official sign-on ‘bonus’ only to accept the job. It is insulting the the same finance minister officiates only for the good of those who govern and not the benefit of the populace. It is wanton disregard for good business practice when those who govern at the central bank have total insensitivity to the people who invest in the development of this country without caring what direction the U.S. dollar goes. It is embarrassing when a minister of national security, ineffective in dealing with crime, thinks the best way to deal with it is to bring armored military vehicles to climb the hills of Laventille and Morvant to go to the criminals. It is an affront to the country when a country so rich and entwined with christian practices has to abide by the dictates by a racist hindu zealot because the pm has his ears and eyes. It is troubling , to say the least, when a pm appoints a minister whose avowed and renowned racists writings and teaching are to the core of his beliefs and practices. It is uncaring and irresponsible when the main industry bringing in our foreign reserves and revenue is allowed to be run by incompetent administrators, who unleash oil spills, disregard the fishing industry, the environment and employ similarly incompetent managers. It is disheartening that when we send our representatives in parliament to speak for us a (political) party minded speaker censors what they can and cannot say. What should be emblazoned as the cradle of our democracy (the parliament) has in fact become a cradle for the positive views of only the party in power. this practice handicaps the proper exercise of democracy when our stories are not allowed to be told. When the military and para military institutions are engulfed by political and party staffing, how can we be sure our lives are really safe in the hands of incompetents? When governance becomes the only motive for those who govern aren’t we in effect creating the way for destruction?
    What we see today is too much to mention and god bless our souls if we are to have continuance of this evil and dastardly crew who are steering the ship in open seas!

    • u started off with a 1 st good sentence and very swiftly degenerated in your ususl racist pnm propaganda..learn from the above blogger who always submit something of substance based on facts not quasi-innuendos/lies/propaganda as in your submission..It’s a shame that MFRahaman is not around..you would not have gotten away all these years since his passing.Shame on you

  • Oh AfroBuddahSunGod, and what did my neo patriotic, /progressive Brother Kain do,to incur de wrath of that usually mild mannered intricate? Well ,..shame on you Kian, for indulging in your “usual racist pnm propaganda.. ” behaviors.
    Off with your head,I say!

    Now let’s make a bet as to who might quicker loose his head in dis rounds folks.
    Is it one time bearded trade union activist ,turned glorified House Speaker ,Wade MBA Mark,or that contemptible AG ,we remain stuck with ,whose only chance of getting fired from his adoring female boss Kamla,is if our bumbling law enforcement guys,concluded, that he was the culprit ,who in the cover of darkness, sneaked into a now famous, St Augustine home,and murdered a certain blond journalist ,of ‘Afro Kinky Head Nation?

    • Hey brother Neal, it takes guts, paucity and a sense of no shame at all to defend what we read about and experience with that loud mouth, lying, audacious and conniving ag. Intricate is being very intricate in his defense of those qualities and I’m sure auntie K is very proud of him. Maybe we may get yet another pollster to tell us that she is barely ahead in the polls and might even be ahead in the up coming elections. Hey! who knows, this is Trinidad and anything goes. Here we have a government that does not know the first ia (internal action) about governing but pats itself on the back and say “look how good we are”. Hey look! Rammy as you would call him “wins” before he goes to court because he “chooses” his judges, if his name is Boodoosingh or Kokoram or Persad or Seepersad, Rammy can go ahead and boast how much he has “won” over his opponents. And yes, Auntie K is almost never around when these shenanigans are taking place, she is always out of the country. This way she does not see or hear about anything that is wrong with her AG, so when the call is made for her to get rid of him, she would naturally say that she sees nothing wrong with what he has done. I expect her to say the same about Howai and Wade Mark. These people are making fools of themselves and our democracy. They do not know that we, the public are just as “smart” as they and know how democracy really works and what we are experiencing is NOT democracy at all. If Aunti K is “smart” she would call the election before things get worse, oil is $44 per barrel, and as much as she denies it, plenty of jobs will go on line, companies will fail, profits will fall and revenue will decline. If after all this we see a smiling pm come before us and tell us how great things are and will continue to be, then we know that she is still in the holiday season with her gifts and hampers and santa clause outfits and yes her emblazoned ads on the hi way wishing us a “bright and prosperous new year”. Lies…lies….lies…and more lies!

  • http://m.guardian.co.tt/news/2015-02-05/tragi-comedy-kamla%E2%80%94panday

    Good griefs ,so de National Divider in Chief, Papa Baz, is as usual , at it again . Talking to our comatose media agents, through all six sides of his craw,and saying nada,si?
    Go away Bas ,to your geriatric home, or better yet,across to your ClICO educated daughter Scotland home ,and help raise your grand pickanees,since that local ‘Man head -Princess Mekila -Indera / Benazia,’ain’t giving you any,because rumor has it ,dat she has no interest in indulging in unmentionable activities, which might provide offspring.
    At this very moment, Auntie Kamla, is mumbling to her self ,”I can do bad ,all by myself,”and don’t need this meddling bozo,to tell me anything.
    Sorry Baz ,but if history is any indication, it was you as her life time mentor ,who created de Siparia Queen Kamla,and so taught her all her tricks.
    Hey folks ,de gall of dis old ,corrupt, political cry baby bastard ,to even mention the words morals ,law ,or constitution ,with a straight face,when he was de miscreant who proudly claim dat,”politics has a morality all of it’s own,” as well as ,”dis is our time,” the moment he achieved his power grab.
    You Baz broke every T&T law,with impunity,while in and out of power. You acquired more wealth in your short tenure of office, than all your predecessors put together.
    You did more to destroy our democracy-while twisting tenets of our sacred Constitution, for your own benefit – than T&T’s worst enemies could have conjured up,in our country’s 53 years.
    Like a typical spoil kid ,who could not get his way,you encouraged gullible tribal members ,to tarnish the name of their country, by running to only European /and North American ,white fiefdoms, to beg for refugee status, once globally adored Statesman ,ANR Robinson, gave you ,and your other political goons ,de middle finger,due to ‘you allze,’ misdeeds,while serving in his NAR government.
    I am not certain who I personally find most irritating, and or revolting folks.
    Is it dis vindictive octogenarian clown,or Robert Mugabe twin brother,in his phony Christian, drinking pal ,Patrick Manning ,aka de Sando Geologist -PNM Everready Bunny.
    Can’t their respective,long suffering wives ,Omar,or Hazel, not drug them with some sedatives ,and lock them in the basement ,of their million dollars mansions?
    Enough with the views ,and activities of political has-beens …ummmm,of ill repute,try to get back on the grand stage!
    Sorry Basdeo,but you are the last Panday, who will ever be allowed to sit in a T&T Prime Ministerial chair,and it ain’t me saying so,but dem disgruntled CLICO Shareholders, whose monies were used by your buddy Duprey, to educate your two kids in London, while they were instead left ,trying to hold up their cotton cloth knickers ,and Jockstraps, with Forest twine,as you ,and lawyers try to shift blame,in efforts to keep you out of prison .

    http://www.newsday.co.tt/panday_trial/0,35144.html

    It’s dem poor desperate, and ULF /UNC-PP neglected Caroni Limited,sugar /rice paddy workers, who both you, and Spiritual fraudster, Sat Maraj, encouraged to only invest their pension funds, in de now defunct HCU-as opposed to more solid financial institutions-under de watchful eyes of CEO Harinarine ,de financially, white color bandit.
    It’s progressive Afro Trini voters, who suffered during a certain 1990 attempted Coup,where you,your Criminal lawyer Ramesh Lawrence Maraj, and Patrick Manning, where out of Parliament frolicking in the Grenada, Barbados,and Miami sun,while Islamist barbarians, led by former Horse police / football golie, Lennox Phillip, aka Abu Bkar, were wrecking havoc on our country.

    http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Panday-skipping-funeral-254662391.html?m=y&smobile=y

    It’s the Thousands of historically neglected Tobago folks,who saw you for who you truly are,upon the death of Ahhhh weee Bouy ANR Robinson.
    Yep,a petty,insignificant, classless,political bum,with absolutely no respect for your alleged country of birth,or worst yet,people who represents ‘the other.’
    Once more, my advice to you Basdeo is go away,and leave Her Madjesstrick Queen K, to do her job,…ummmmmmm??????….of moving our still democratic nation along the part ,towards elusive ,sustainable development.
    I luv dis land, Y tu?
    Long live the Republic of T&T!

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