By Khalil Saif, tntmirror.com
CONSPICUOUS similarities subsist linking USA President George Bush and Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Patrick Manning.
On the one hand, Bush is encountering the most awful political ratings ever in the history of the White House, as the inexhaustible war in Iraq is ravishing the treasury with no optimism of conquest in close proximity.
Even Bush’s spin doctor and press secretary Scott McClellan resigned in humiliation, as on many occasions he was unable to muddle through the wearisome bondage of conveying half truths and innuendoes, without being discomfited by his fellow journalists.
Paradoxically his political advisor and colleague Karl Rove has relinquished his position as policy strategist to focus on political affairs, as the countdown is fast approaching for the Presidential race.
My presumption is that the Bush administration is dreadfully blemished.
Other than the war in Iraq, his domestic policies, specifically the tax-cut immunity for the big-shots, the immigration policy and allegations of his authorisa-tion to leak certain privileged information to the press are just a few of his atrocities.
On the other hand, Patrick Manning is exceptionally fortunate, as the world price of oil and petroleum-based products are at record highs for the last two years and the economic prospects for TnT seem exceptionally preposterous.
Conversely, the economic boom has been restricted to the ruling class, as the common man continues to be beleaguered by pauperisation, crime and severe social problems.
The only reflection of an economic rumble is in the construction industry and the frequent upgrading of the emoluments for government officials. Somehow, with all the fanfare and old talk, the People’s National Movement (PNM) just does not have the testicular fortitude to take the bull by the horns and modify their old colonial philosophies and policies, so that the rank and file could benefit from the country’s wealth.
Since the general election is constitutionally due in one year’s time and notwithstanding the overt internal conflict in the opposition camp, the PNM is reckoned by the population as a political movement with black leaders representing the interest of the minority ethnic groups and the foreign conglomerates.
Therefore, it was not surprising to perceive the reverberating and manoeuvrings by Gerald Yetming, former Unit-ed National Congress (UNC) big-wig, praising PNM Ministers Colm Imbert and Keith Rowley for opposing the granting of a parcel of land to the Jamaat al Muslimeen.
Kirk Meighoo, leader of the DNA party, has now been saddled with a political affliction and his aspirations of developing political colleges to represent various interest groups, more or less a neo-corporatism policy, has been thwarted by Yetming’s impulsive actions.
For clearly he’s discriminating against certain segments of the population and advancing his old agenda, the resurgence of the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) which was responsible for his demise in the UNC.
Now it’s incumbent on the PNM radical elements to re-examine the direction of their dearly loved organisation with specific reference to the manner in which they recompense their heroes and supporters who drudged in the vineyard for years flying the balisier flag.
Everytime I reflect on my mentor Edward Hart, the Parliamentary representative for Tunapuna, and the contribution he has made to the enhancement of youths in the sporting arena both in football and cricket, I often wonder why he is not the Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs.
Supplementary to his sporting ability and managerial skills, Eddie won a marginal seat in one of the most critical times in the history of the politics of this country.
Without vacillating, I sincerely believe that no PNM candidate, apart from Eddie, would have been able to humble deceased Hector McLean and CLICO executive Carlos John.
Other than the intention to construct a sporting complex in Tarouba, sports does not mean one damn thing to Manning, since most of the prominent sporting personalities are from the ghetto.
For the records, almost 75 per cent of the Soca Warriors had a stint in the Eddie Hart Football League.
If you have doubts about government’s commitment to sports, ask Jack Warner, Rawle Raphael, Deryck Murray and Anil Roberts.
Today, I challenge the members of the party to justify why Eddie is not a member of Manning’s Cabinet, because the only “sin” he has committed is that he’s regarded by the population as a roots-man who grew up in the orphan home.
Therefore, the PNM rejection of a popular son of the soil, to participate in the decision making process of the country is an indictment against the working-class and a non-verbal clue that the party is not interested in the social and economic affairs of the poor and underprivileged.
Eddie’s influence has transcended the boundaries of Tunapuna, as thousands of youths from all over the country have participated and intermingled in the football league and hail him as a man who understands the plight and suffering of the strugglers.
Even more disrespectful is the fact that Jarrette Narine, the Arouca North representative, whose claim to fame is pruning plants in the Botanic Gardens, is a member of Cabinet.
As a matter of fact, some leaders are like delinquent youths.
They like to burn to learn, but since time is longer than twine, sooner rather than later the legacy of brothers with the common touch would abscond from the PNM’s pack.
The youths who rallied around Eddie over all these years recognised that aspiring to emulate him has no benefits in this society.
If the negativist thinks that this is fantasy, then let the fanatics explain why Senator Ato Boldon, Jamaal Shabazz and many other prominent sporting personalities are gravitating towards Jack Warner.
The sufferers have taken notice of the ruling party’s modus operandi and they are waiting for the head-hunters to answer some hard questions during the election fever.
However, the present political options and nothing are the same.
The three in one callaloo, with the NAR, MND and DPTT are wishful thinkers, jokers or whatever.
The only viable option is a modification of the UNC, with Jack Warner playing a more prominent role.
The youths in the ghettoes throughout this country are checking out their political options, whether the doubters believe it”s in this land of promises and “mamaguy”.
However, the problem with the FIFA ranker is that he has not made a firm commitment to the politics because he’s always here, there and everywhere.
If Warner is committed to making a contribution to the politics and the development of this nation, he cannot eat his cake and have it.
It’s either FIFA or his country.
Of course, this is a difficult option due to the manner in which Afro-Trinbagonians act towards successful members of their ethnic group.
The options for role models are restricted but Warner must consider the fact that the citizens need a man of his calibre to convey some anticipation and reassurance to this society.
As soon as, the Soca Warriors’ World Cup campaign is over, Warner must declare what is his “scenes”.
It’s either he’s in or out.
He must not play games with the minds and hearts of the youths.
The same vision and the aggressive manner in which he dealt with the Soca Warriors’ crusade to acquire a place in the coveted World Cup, together with his experience, ability to manage, talent, charisma to motivate youth and international contacts would make the country forward in a significant manner.
The ball is in your court, Jack Warner.
Pass it now!
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