Political volcano erupts

By Raffique Shah
February 28, 2015

Raffique ShahA political volcano has erupted with full force, spewing rocks, ash, lava and fetid gases across Trinidad and Tobago’s landscape. But even as the explosion demolishes structures and changes the electoral topography, the political seismologists and volcanologists, seemingly in stupor, pretend that all is well.

I refer to the implosion in the Congress of the People (COP) that started sometime around 2011 with mild rumblings and defections, but which, today, is turning into an exodus of immense proportions.

This is not a case of the odd member of the COP, angered by being fired from some plum position, venting his or her spleen against the People’s Partnership. What we are witnessing is an entire constituency of electors, disgusted at being used by the United National Congress (UNC) to gain office, then discarded as one would flush a toilet after a purge, walking away and boldly announcing why they are breaking ranks on the eve of elections.

Last week, Conrad Aleong, Joe Pires and Richard Granger virtually stage-managed their resignations from the COP (and by extension the Partnership), in full glare of the media. Pires is a businessman who had run as a COP candidate in 2007 in one of the Diego Martin constituencies. He was prominent in the Partnership in 2010, and up to when he resigned last week, chaired the Diego Martin North-East executive.

Aleong I know only as a former head of what was then BWIA, and I know nothing about Granger. Their resignations came immediately after COP chairman Nicole Dyer-Griffith’s, who had quite a mouthful to say when she quit.

Aleong said he had never been political before (presumably, he meant an active member of a party), but was attracted by the COP under Winston Dookeran’s leadership, and later the Partnership.

Saying he was “not a member of any tribe”, he told the media, “The people who expected the COP to keep the UNC honest were very disappointed.”

Pires said that shortly after the 2010 election, the constituency (Diego Martin North-East) “was handed over to the UNC”.

And Granger said the COP “had become a UNC b-team”, which was not what he initially signed up for when he joined the party. According to a Guardian report, Granger described the fate of the COP as being akin to battered wife syndrome.

“You getting licks everyday and being told that you wrong, but you know that you are right,” he said

Much like those who departed from the COP earlier, the trio sees the UNC as domineering, not simply dominating, and corrupt, which is not what they expected after 2010.

Now, many in the Partnership Government will dismiss this spate of resignations as the departure of a discontented few, a mere handful of individuals who have no electoral clout.
That is where they are dead wrong, with the emphasis on “dead”.

A few weeks ago, when I wrote about the firing of Senate President Timothy Hamel-Smith and National Security Minister Gary Griffith, I pointed out that they represent a larger “constituency” in the East-West Corridor, especially in the marginal seats. And while they may never have the clout to win an election on their own, they are strategically positioned to deliver victory to one party or other.

Now that the exodus from the COP has become almost a rout, consider that apart from a few high-profile departures that make the news, large numbers of supporters have defected very quietly. And while these are people who may not support the PNM, they are bitterly opposed to the UNC.

Taken from another perspective, here are some of the COP 2007 frontline members who remain in the UNC/Partnership: Prakash Ramadhar, Anand Ramlogan, Devant Maharaj, Rabindra Moonan, Nirad Tewarie, Ganga Singh, Manohar Ramsaran, Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan…

Need I continue for you to get my drift?

True, others such as Rodger Samuel, Marlene Coudray and Selby Wilson have not broken ranks. But the divide has been largely along race lines, which will drive the UNC/Partnership back behind the ethnic barricades.

Indeed, when the pollsters come up with a mysterious 34 per cent of electors who, with mere months to go to the next election, claim to be “undecided”, the answer may well lie largely among these disaffected ex-COPpers who are eager to lash out at the UNC. These are the people who will determine which party wins or loses the election.

There is no time for a “third force” of substance to emerge. As such, there will hardly be an “earthquake” of 1986 proportions that almost wiped the PNM off the map. Jack Warner’s Independent Liberal Party (ILP) will have little more than nuisance value and Tobago is now TOP-less.

So, we are back to PNM and the UNC. The COP is dead, but its constituency is very alive. They will vote PNM as a way of punishing the UNC. But they will not allow the PNM to conduct “business as usual”, to engage in corruption, discrimination, nepotism.

They will demand high standards of governance, which is what they had hoped for when they supported the Partnership in 2010. In the next new dispensation, uneasy will lie the head that bears the title of Prime Minister. Take warning.

14 Responses to “Political volcano erupts”


  • “True, others such as Rodger Samuel, Marlene Coudray and Selby Wilson have not broken ranks. But the divide has been largely along race lines, which will drive the UNC/Partnership back behind the ethnic barricades.”

    That is nothing but perception. The Partnership has been inclusive and will continue to be inclusive. With the current PM being a world class leader, the PNM will remain in the corridors of Opposition “young girl” whining party.

    Keith Rowley is not ready to lead TnT. He has not appealed to the various sectors of society and many are suspicious of his 20:30 vision. Further he is planning to bring back “rapid rail” The $500 million boondoogle that tax payers are still paying for, the feasibility study that went nowhere. He intends to get rid of Local Government and put thousands on the bread line. Property tax will also be part of the platform. A vote for the PNM is vote for thiefry, corruption and squandamania.

    • Mamoo,You are saying your current P.M is world class ?
      compering with who ? She cannot carry the bag of;
      Auug San Suu Kyi.

  • The electorate should have enough courage to elect at least “TEN” candidate from the 3rd party; They can hold a balance of power that can change our country racial divide which have existed for so long,
    But, do the electors have the will to do this ?
    There is a dire need for a third party in this election and it is already here !

  • http://www.trinidadexpress.com/business/First-Citizens-gets-new-CEO-294746671.html

    Yeah Uncle Shah, “Political volcano” indeed! First Hawai,de White Color bandit,who raped one of our more stellar national banks,then walked off with a handshake deal,like a corrupt ,Yankee Fortune 500 lizard,en route to becoming de PP Chief Financial raider Minister .
    This was followed by his equally crooked successor, who …Surprise, surprise, avoided jail time,since that AG Rammy, had his back,while attempting lock up,or sue every creature belonging to Afro Kinky Head Nation -from illiterate Nelson Street kids,to National beauty hero, Wendy Fitzwilliam.
    Now this clueless ,party hack Chica,just on the verge of a long overdue election, about to stuff her face ,with T&T food . Cambridge award,my rear end!I wonder which UWI Professor, wrote her overseas exams, for her- a most common problem that flourished under dat ENDUCATION MINISTER CREATURE, with the racist, criminal /planassing ,fat ugly son?
    Seriously folks, if I had money in this bank ,it was coming out forthwith.
    Let me take dat back ,for the way these UNC dominant, PP economic goons have operated,since grasping power,be it ,from Winston Dookie, to fraudster Howai,one would be unwise to invest in any… well..you guys get my drift.
    Hey,and how is our Central Bank ,and Stock Exchange working these days, folks? If the PNM in waiting In de Tobago Wajang, Dr Keith Rottweiler Rowley, was really the Prime minister, and business folks ,were unable to get US dollars ,to conduct basic transactions, do you think these bums ,would be this silent,while giving their government, a free past,even with dem dropping de ball?
    Nunca!

    http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Howai-Central-Bank-meeting-demand-for-US-294757351.html

    How many more days before citizens ,get a chance to experience some semblance of good governance?
    Where you at, Dr Rowley? Yeah we know, putting dem symbolic ducks in order,hmmm?
    Don’t forget,dat curry duck ,is still a favorite of folks,’east/west/central, and south of de historically neglected, ‘East -West corridor,’so just be careful,and demand ID cards,before next whining on chicks,during the Pagwah,and Hosay
    festivals.
    Don’t worry Uncle Shah, for history is on our side.
    The people of T&T-irrespective of the stupid ,obvious COP/UNC political machinations-would do de right thing, come next elections,by sending these morally repugnant bums,back where they belong-to the political wilderness.
    Translation – De Guyanarization of T&T would never occur in our lifetime, as long as Papa Niza,in de Mason Hall kid, dear Tobago friend ,has a say,hmmm?
    Long live the Republic of T&T!
    Stay vigilant people!

  • “Much like those who departed from the COP earlier, the trio sees the UNC as domineering, not simply dominating, and corrupt, which is not what they expected after 2010.”

    Strange they would accuse the UNC of corruption when in fact Anil was fired because of corruption in his portfolio, $24 million disappear. Mary King giving a huge contract to her son.

    The UNC MPs who got the boot had women problem and one drank too much… lol.

  • http://www.trinidadexpress.com/commentaries/Reason-to-view-CCJ-with-suspicion-295101811.html

    Well, I’ll be damn! All this bull crap ,to tell us that dem Jamaicans, are no different to the PP led political idiots, we are sadly stuck with , in our T&T?
    They too claimed to be independent, but have no desire, to get rid of that stupid, anachronistic White Elephant, called the Privy Council , from off their people’s backs.
    Ain’t it ironic , dat a morally repugnant segment of our society , luv dis bias, European Privy Council, hate the CCJ,despise Uncle Obama Federal Courts, who have a hard on for UNC/PP, White color, financial bandits , Ishwar Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson, but can pretend to adore local Judges, and courts -especially, when the judges are hand picked drinking pals of a once all powerful Sando COP turncoat?
    Speaking of which, I wonder if a certain, former, un-electable , conniving,overrated lawyer, turned AG,began writing his boorish ,Guardian columns again, as yet,where he will try to convince us ,on how much both he ,and Sipari boss- Auntie K,missed his dear colleague, Dana Seethal?

    A lifetime intoxicated clown ,engaging in obvious, silly political distractions-to mask not only her incompetence as a leader, but her Party/government penchant, for criminal coverups, by bringing ,’motion of no confidence ,’against an Opposition leader, while simi educated Portia,is tying her petticoat to Mama England, dress tail.
    Can anyone name two socio economic, or political initiatives, these two women, put in place,to advance their respective countries , since they assumed office?
    What’s laughable however, is the fact that ,as expected, dem typical, neo tribal, braying donkeys on dis here Trini CenterNation,would still come on ,and tout de virtues of political lightweight Kamla ,while, I am certain, the media bums, in that economically backward -Yardee ,crime den,would be doing the same for their sister P.
    Well, I take that back, for the 4th estate blokes in Jamaica,might not be that foolish.

    http://m.jamaicaobserver.com/mobile/columns/Is-Portia-a-modern-day-Dr-Jekyll-and-Mr-Hyde-_18028983

    Ever wonder why some countries, and regions remain underdeveloped? Look no further.
    Anyway, on a more serious note, let me add, ummmmm, to hell with Jamaica! Where you at Dr.Keith Rowley, aka de Tobago Wajang -Rotwiller?
    Yeah, we know, putting dem symbolic ducks in order, as we like to say on de streets.
    Go get em big fella!
    Disgusted/Frustrated Trinis, are counting down the days to elections, when good governance, would finally get a chance to flourish , in T&T-or so we HOPE!!!

    http://www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,207765.html

    Sing with me people. .” Ah feeling to whine on something. .whine on something!….
    And ah singing ,Left ,right ramajay,& shake you manifesto. …it’s party time !”
    I luv dis land, Y tu?
    Stay vigilant T&T!

  • “intellectual dialog going, and I would have learned some things from you …”
    Caribou1
    Hey folks,can you guys believe de gall of this comedian, to question my comprehension skills, when he was the one who only after reading ,just one of my astute commentaries ,erroneously concluded, that yours truly, was ‘spewing Venom, and endured unimaginable pain and suffering,’unlike fortunate him,who escaped for 4 decades,from African controlled T&T,only to conveniently reemerge, when his tribe was ruling de political roost.
    Yeah caribou1 go back to your Zandolee hell hole in Manitoba, and ponder when Quebec will get their independence from Ottawa, or better yet, when another home grown Canadian Islamist terrorist, showing solidarity for his Muslim brethren ,dealing with Canadian supported, NATO bombardments,aim his bazooka ,loaded Israeli Uzi, or Russian Kalashnikov ,at your PM,and other Parliamentarians.
    We in T&T have a country to save,from self serving, diabolical, socio economic, com political miscreants, determined to destroy our fragile democracy, and drag us back to the stone age.
    I cannot afford to potty train you,and tie your bib,while trying to fight the fight.
    This I might be tempted to do ,if you were instead,some naive,pimple face 21 year old kid, still attempting to find your way, ‘in a world, that was nasty, brutish, and short.’
    Tell you what folks,I get such sadistic pleasure, in exposing these frauds-wheresoever they emanate , while simultaneously grabbing any chance, to display my “superior attitude. ”
    It’s been some 7 years ,I have been traversing, on dis her Information Highway, and it took de Carapichima Caribou, to figure out what was my problem.
    Condescending bastard! ‘Better ask somebody,’as we like to say on de streets.
    Stay vigilant T&T!

  • One hundred houses a week! Is this a sign of good governance or is it a sign of people in power, using the power of government for gimmickry? I submit that it is the latter. In this day and age there is a definite need to have people in government who can solve problems. There is need for innovation and the ability solve and resolve problems in society. Gimmickry helps only the foolish among us and it is my hope that in the coming months people would be wise enough to put an end to this kind of foolishness.

    • Most of the houses the PNM built was sub standard and had to be fixed. The PP built a lot of houses and has been giving out every few months. It is just that after repairing the houses and getting the drains cleared they have these houses to give out. No election gimmick.

  • Mamoo, like you is a PNM or what? How you know what Rowley going to do so? “A vote for the PNM is vote for thiefry, corruption and squandamania.” I was beginning to like you until the last sentence. So tell your brother, how is that going to be different to what we have going on now?

    Kian, “one hundred houses a week.” I am going to sign up and line up for mine, and I hope they throw in the usual cell phone and cash too, because it is going to be about five more years before somebody try to buy my hand again.

    • Frontsman, try your hand now, Moonilal is ready will and able to give away these houses. Mamoo, fixed them and put them on the market. Who knows? Maybe Mamoo had the contract to do all the repairs he is speaking about. He has the inside track and I would like to use this forum to ask Mamoo for one myself, because the PNM did not give me any.

    • Rowley wining days now start. He going to wine from now until the next election. He is rather silent these days. I notice he eh ha nuttin to say about the 100 house a week program. Just last week he hired the best attorney in TnT Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj a man who have sided and helped the PNM and have kept Abu out of jail “pro bono”. The luv between them continues to grow like a tree planted by a manure heap.

  • I believe that Mamoo and Sat Maharaj are the only people concerned about the Rowley wining with that young Indian woman down south. Apparently the woman wining back into Dr Rowley on carnival day seems to have struck a chord of distaste among a certain segment of the society that is really different from those of us who understand Carnival and the frivolity that those two merry days emit. I best understand Carnival when I look at it on video. There is no doubt a yearning and desire on the part of those participants to be something other than themselves on that day. It is a time of fun and fantasy, and to this end Carnival means stepping into the shoes (life) of someone else. Sat Maharaj’s hate for the black man is eminent and his disciples like Mamoo and Kamla show it in different ways. Mamoo is famous for extolling the lack of virtues he sees in the people emanating from Laventille, the recklessness, fun-loving, care-free and don’t-give-a-damn attitude he sees. It makes him think of himself as ‘superior’ because he possesses the values of a brahmin or a brahmin-wannabe. And what exactly does that mean? It means that buried deep into the psyche of our culture people like Mamoo develop a sense of superiority because of the privilege afforded them by a ruling class, often borne out of racial, ethnic and class divisions. In this sense the word ‘Laventille’ represent more than just a place where lower middle-class black people reside. To the Mamoos of Trinidad and Tobago it means race, ethnicity, class and most importantly – behavior. Therein lies the great calamity that faces the privileged, well-to-do, wealthy and politically connected class, who have to share in the gaiety of Carnival. When viewed on TV or video it seems that THAT class of people submit themselves to the Laventillean way of life, in order to feel the benefit from the joys of Carnival. They accomplish this in many ways. The go to the most expensive fetes. They crowd in the bands of the most luxurious bands that play in Carnival, they go by names such as Tribe and other luminaries of mass fame. They partake in the most expensive offerings of liquor and drinks. The crowd the most expensive halls and places of entertainment to have fun but the end game is to aspire to that Laventillean feeling of fun and pleasure without ‘demeaning’ themselves with the likes of the people from Laventille. Carnival fun is cloaked with all of the ills the society exhibits on non-carnival days. It also means that as much as they pretend to loathe the people from Laventille, they want to be as free to express their virtues of love and happiness the way the people of Laventille do. As African as the origins of carnival laments itself to be, the participants of the art nowadays are mostly non-Africans and they LUV the fun, gaiety and inner pleasures that carnival allow them to bring to the fore that exist only in their inner souls the rest of the year. Such is the pretense and hypocrisy that privilege allows us to mask without a sense of guilt or soberness of the real problems that exist in our society. Mamma wants us to believe that Rowley shows a sense of immorality in the wining picture but is careful to defend Kamla when she blatantly lies to the nation about her knowledge about Ramlogan civil suit against Dr Rowley. Our problem is that as much as we would like to disown Basdeo Panday’s description of morality, we do in everyday life practice it – yes politics and life do have a morality of their own and wrong and right is classified not by the meaning of our actions but strictly only by who is doing it. So, while Mamoo is showering praises and plaudits onto Kamla for all the lies and deceit that she espouses, he without shame will berate Dr Rowley for doing the job he is supposed to do. Similarly, many of us christians berate Kamla for her lack of a moral compass and integrity, but fail to understand that THAT is a Judeo/christian concept that might not necessarily be of any standing in the belief system to which Kamla ascribes herself. We, as christians expect Kamla to subscribe to a code of ethics that is mostly Christian in origin and practice but fail to understand that when Kamla was sworn as Prime Minister she swore not on a bible but on the gita. The christian subscribe to the belief in ONE god, Kamla’s belief system may allow her the benefits of having many and varied gods. bSo when she acts in a way that is divergent and lacking ethical compass, she might just be on the right tracks on her beliefs system. So, the Panday description while politically correct, might just be a resultant behavior of Kamla justly following her religious beliefs and acting accordingly. So, if we are to accept this
    interpretation of behavior, it makes it easier to understand why Mamoo and Kamla appear to be so contrary in the way they see right and wrong.

  • “Rowley wining days now start. He going to wine from now until the next election. He is rather silent these days. I notice he eh ha nuttin to say about the 100 house a week program.”
    Mamboo de Mayaro lifetime drunkard

    Hey folks,it’s election season in the air, and everyone want’s to know, what’s the score, especially hypocritical, anti whining Phagwah, and Hosay revelers.
    Yeah,and on de important subject of whining, we can perhaps come to de conclusion , that unlike Dr Keith Rottweiler Rowley , Mamboo’s clueless PM,and dat octogenarian, racist, Spiritual adviser, Sat Maraj, both whining days are over,since we haven’t seen her and ….ummmm, one time husband ,in public together, since her Jack FIFA Warner ,orchestrated, 2010 power grab, while we know for a fact,that the last time Sat,whine on anything living,his pal Basdeo Pandqy ,two ClICO-by way of London educated daughters,were still wearing diapers.
    Tell us again why de PM in waiting, should care if de tribal leader,of her UNC dominant PP government, gave out 5000 houses, but only to party hacks,family members,greedy cronies ,and potential voters, chiefly from Georgetown, Berbice, or worst yet,illegals,tired of selling cheap goods ,in strategically placed Expos,across T&T?
    Give these self serving,arrogant,ungrateful,political clowns,and their delusional minions ,enough rope ,and they will surely hang themselves.
    One thing we can be assured of,is that under a Kieth Rowley government, they all would be hounded down,like a Cumuto Tattoo ,and dealt with,to de full extent of the law-as we like to say on de streets.
    Well……,so we hope.
    Stay vigilant T&T!

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