By A. Hotep
After 50 years of PNM, the key symbols in yesterday's celebration were corruption of Sparrow's performance, fake candles and actors for Whites.
Continual interruptions during Sparrow's performance may have been deliberate. Initially, I wondered why they invited Sparrow, but after seeing the embarrassing, ongoing disruptions to Sparrow's performance (Sparrow asking the DJ to let the music play and the DJ not complying), I suspected it was payback time. Was it revenge for the song "We Like It So", put out by Sparrow in support of the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR)? The song remains a powerful indictment against PNM. It is also interesting to note that to deliberately disrupt Sparrow's performance suggests the sound engineers/DJ had to be in collusion with PNM organizers.
The "Ceremonial Lighting" of 50 candles gave more symbols of the reality of the political culture. Although there was a real flame for 50 persons to light their individual candles, the ones used by the group of 50 were battery powered, fake candles. As they went to the fire, they FAKED lighting their candles while simply turning them on. Ordinary people in the crowd did light real candles though.
To demonstrate ethnic and racial balance they had the people of different races dance on stage, culminating in all the races coming together to symbolize National Unity. Real Africans, Chinese and Indians with performers acting the part of Whites danced on stage. It seems the PNM could not even get real Whites to participate in the event. It's well known here that Whites do not usually take part in song and dance cultural events. They just participate, or more accurately dominate, the culture of finance. Although PNM goes to excessive lengths to ensure Whites remain primary and wealthy, and Whites in turn do much to ensure the PNM remain in power, Whites generally do not go further and participate in song and dance cultural events.
The celebration, through symbols, truly demonstrated the corruption and disunity in the country after 50 years of PNM.
The largest alternative political force in the country is the United National Congress (UNC) but unfortunately the UNC has demonstrated that they are not an improvement to the PNM. The UNC asked the people to give them a chance in government, and they had that chance. The charges of corruption over the TT$1.6 billion Piarco Airport Project, the NFM's $30 million Indian Rice Deal that went sour, the $100 million spent to host the Miss Universe Contest, the $40 million spent on the Ringbang Concert in Tobago, and the then Prime Minister Basdeo Panday's failure to declare his London bank accounts have severely tainted the UNC.
After 50 years of PNM, the UNC is no better.
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