By Stephen Kangal
November 06, 2015
The reason, inter alia, advanced by the Moonilal “Go Kamla” Team including that of Dr. Tim Gopeesingh for the defeat of the PP in the 2015 elections and hence the current lobbying for rejection of Kamla for re-election to the Political Leadership of the UNC, is that the unprecedented, untried and untested Presidential style campaign strategy engineered by Campaign Manager, Rodney Charles, that made Kamla 2015 the focal point and dominated the PP election campaign strategy was flawed and did not resonate with nor did the electorate buy into it. This convenient thesis goes against the dynamics of the elections, is far off the target and would give the stamp of objectivity/ issues-based politics underpinning the final tally.
I hold the view that this is a total misrepresentation of the explanation for the PP’s failure to retain government in the elections of 2015 having regard to the following factors:
- Analysis of the electoral history from 1986 to 2015 elections;
- The factor of race/tribalism cleavages manifested in the election results- determination process of 2015 and perceived PNM ownership of T&T deeply held and practiced;
- Illegal collusion between the EBC and the PNM before the very noses of the PP’s Government;
- The effects of the extension of the voting to 7 p.m. only in Trinidad favourable to the PNM and requested by them (Colm Imbert’s post-election statement);
- Had Kamla brought down political nirvana and heaven unto the landscape on T&T in 2010-15 as she almost did relatively speaking, the result was going to be the same taking into account the pattern established in factor 1 above;
- The Jack factor in the 2013 Chaguanas West bye-election, the St. Joseph bye-election, the Local Government elections and Sandy’s race solidarity appeal in the THA elections cannot be ignored.
Post 1986 the NAR (seen as a first Indian Gov’t) was obliterated from the map in the 1991 and PNM (Black Government) restored to governance under Manning. Panday (an Indian Government) elected in 1995 with ANR two Tobago seats. In 2000 Panday re-elected but de-selected by ANR in 2001 tie. In 2007 PNM benefitted from the COP vote-splitting role but dethroned by Indian Government (PP) in 2010. In 2015 the Indian Government (PP) is seen as and treated electorally as a one-term Indian outfit that happened in 1991, 2001 and 2015. The 2015 results fall into this pattern of election results and Kamla 2015 did stop this trend the socio- psycho-political reasons for which are obvious but space does not permit the discussions.
Race and the 2015 Elections
It is my view that racial considerations play a pivotal role in the elections-determination process. It was very much the determining and deciding factor in 2015 resulting in the restoration of the PNM to governance. Kamla 2015 was only a façade- easy target- not the deciding factor at all. Since Sandy consecrated the race intonation with his Calcutta ship, Tobago has gone all red, TOP annihilated, PNM on the rise in Trinidad and the country solidly polarized. Had Kamla brought down political nirvana and heaven unto the landscape on T&T in 2010-15 as she almost did relatively speaking, the result was going to be the same taking into account the pattern established in the ascendant factor.
Kamla and the PP had to be always twice right to be right whereas the PNM only has to be half-right with abundant meaningless sound -bites signifying nothing but still preferable.
The Jack Factor
The Jack factor post the Chaguanas bye-election contributed to the dwindling to the House of the Rising Sun and manifested itself in serious vote splitting in the St. Joseph bye-election and the Local Government elections in the boroughs of Chaguanas and Tunapuna aided and abetted by the PR Aldermen-determining criteria of 25% that back-fired in favour of the PNM.