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Freedom to choose friends
Posted: Monday, October 11, 2004

by Linda Edwards

At the risk of sounding preachy, this proud Trini-American makes the following comment in response to Mr. Juggernauth's letter "Manning either very brave..." published in the Guardian on October 7th ,2004.

At a meeting in Houston, Texas in the late 90's the Governor Gereral of Jamaica, Sir Thomas Harlan Cooke was asked by a reporter about Jamaica's relations with Cuba. His response, which brought an ovation from the crowd was, "Cuba is our friend and neighbor, and I do not get into politics, but JAMAICANS stand by their friends". Nelson Mandela made a similar comment more recently.

This writer from the UK would perhaps have preferred Mr. Manning to kow-tow to pressure from the Bush administration and repudiate the Treaty of Rome and the concept of the International Criminal Court, brainchild of our former Prime Miniser and President ANR Robinson. Manning stood his ground.

The head of state for a country, even one as small as the Comoros Islands makes policy for that country. Power does not mean that the small man cannot speak to power. He must, if there are to be changes in the world.

Since T and T is a dues paying member of the OAS, the Commonwealth and the UN, the Prime Minister has a right to express his opinion on regional politics, even in the presence of His American Mightiness, George W. Bush. After all, America wishes to export democracy to Afghanistan, China, Iraq and of course to Cuba. Well, Democracy should begin at home, with small countries being free to choose their friends and express their opinions. I am sure Pres. Bush would agree. It was in the Nixon era that "get their names" became the order of the day, until he disgraces himself, and thus redeemed all ho were on his hit list.

If Eric Williams had listened to Mr. Jaggernauth, the historic March on Chaguaramus would never have taken place.

The right to speak out, and not be penalized for it, is a basic tenet of democracy. America has not always practised it. Macarthyism proved that.

What the Big Powers want for China and Afghanistan should be allowable in the fora where small Prime Ministers meet Big Presidents.

We are not only about Beauty Pageants, Carnival, cricket and partying, but about principled stands on issues. Fear and tremor do not inculcate respect.

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