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Unmasking Lok Jack's Magical Charade
Posted: Monday, July 28, 2003

By Stephen Kangal

The late Ram Kirpalani prematurely and unceremoniously jettisoned Sparrow's generous myth about his magical entrepreneurial prowess. Mr. Ram is now to be outdone by business tycoon, Arthur Lok Jack, the Pied Piper of Associated Brands who appeared waving a magic wand in his misinformed day dreaming conducted at the Crowne Plaza on Tuesday last.

But Trinbagonians are now wary of falling innocent victims again to political dreams not only because formulating an unprecedented, 20-year national planning framework spawned against the backdrop of a volatile, technologically driven international system is hazardous and highly speculative.

The last dreamer who conned us into believing that we could fly hypnotised unsuspecting Trinbagonians at the inauguration of what turned out to be The Shed of Shame aka The National Monument to Wanton Graft and Corruption. He four years prematurely surrendered White Hall and bequeathed to us a legacy of corruption, mismanagement and lack of integrity in public life for which posterity must pay through its noses.

Lok Jack has unwittingly attempted to erase if not distort 4I years of our socio- political history from our psyche in his Crowne Plaza 20/20 PR Propaganda.

His address was full of sound and fury, raising false, utopic expectations. His was a harbinger of an expensive and expansive exercise in convincing political futility.

What are the elements of Lok Jack's ideal society? Is it going to be an afro-centric, POS- configured, politically partisan- determined state? After 41 years we ignored Williams' discipline, tolerance and production watchwords only to have Lok Jack foist them on us again. After 41 years large sections of our cosmopolitanism remains marginalised on the fringes or orphaned. Our society remains even more racially polarised and bifurcated. Urban preference takes precedence over and leads to rural decay and deprivation. We have failed to mobilise, adequately train and exploit for national welfare all the disparate elements of our abundant human resources. Inequity is institutionalised and widespread. The current education strategy on decentralization is a deceptive, retrograde fašade to exacerbate inequalities in educational opportunities

Lok Jack has dishonestly elevated a tissue of political propaganda to the status of a blue print for "nation-building" and the vacuous and elusive ideal of "national unity". A regime that presided over overt discrimination, urbanization, and africanisation of our international image for 34 years and is now publicly engaged in perpetrating acts of voter/house padding will not mobilise the requisite national consensus that Lok Jack hopes to materialise with his magic wand out of thin air.

Lok Jack must bridle and containerise his patriotic optimism. He must factor into his analysis and become sensitive to the contending and congenitally adversarial elements of the contemporary prevailing socio-economic and political landscape. In cataloguing the achievements or lack of it of the last 40 years Lok Jack has done so quite selectively and simplistically- with blinkered vision.

Lok Jack's clarion call is no less deceptive than the 1970 Black Power slogan: Indians and Africans Unite !

How can 500 criminals be better equipped than 5,000 policemen, millions expended on police infrastructure, thousands of private security personnel and $60m of Israeli spying technology?

Will Lok Jack's Group be supportive of establishing long outstanding institutions to effect equity and fairness (The Equal Opportunities Commission) as well as legislation (T&T's Multiculturalism Act) to regulate multiculturism as an official policy response to managing and harnessing our diversity? Or will he only celebrate our diversity that PM Manning calls multiracialism, cosmetically in nice sounding speeches as has been done during the past 41 years?

Listen to the outworn verbiage/ political deception of Mr. Lok Jack:

"This beloved land of ours filled with a wondrous diversity of cultures, races and religions that now work as one nation, one people forging a dream together."

Mr Lok Jack must surely be dreaming of some other country than Trinidad and Tobago.

A serious 20/20 national development plan cannot be contingent on the stuff of which dreams are made.

What is the political quid pro quo, Mr Lok Jack?

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