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The Arrogant and Insensitive
Posted: Saturday, November 18, 2006

By Stephen Kangal

In a reliable Guardian poll published on Thursday 2 November, ninety-five percent of persons interviewed accused Cabinet Ministers of being increasingly arrogant, insensitive and disrespectful of the polity that elected them. Consider the obscene and vulgar conduct of bad john MP Achong at the Chatham Youth Centre. Against his own Point Fortin constituents. That is the beginning of the end of the Manning regime for they are sowing the seeds of their own political demise as they did in pre-1986. Power has corrupted them absolutely.

Well PM Manning in his Thursday 9 November post-cabinet Press briefing provided ample evidence of this growing menace of the arrogant and the insensitive. He sought to hoodwink the beleaguered population, without success into believing that his Government always assessed all projects carefully, holistically and thoroughly. Consequently his Government, in his view, cannot be faulted on any of his billion dollar mega-projects but specifically on the Chatham smelter. He was fully convinced that neither the forthcoming PR symposium nor a parliamentary debate could halt this "done deal". That is a fait accompli with no concern for the people of Chatham the majority of who may belong to a group that is always relegated to the periphery and the marginalised. The PNM is not capable of acting politically and otherwise outside the confines of the interests of its own ethnic box and govern for all of multicultural T&T.

This would appear to be natural, impulsive and consistent in its current and past skewed allocation and distribution of the rewards of the state. This malaise in our plural society that has kept T&T divided between rural decay and neglect and urban favouritism must be addressed by all outside the PNM ethnic box in the interest of achieving equitable and caring governance for all. One has only to look at its differing attitudes to agriculture and the construction industry, the sedentary life style diseases and HIV, public housing programme etc to fully appreciate the message. The PNM will always cut its political nose to spite its ethnic face especially in its attitude to food and agricultural production.

Is there anyone who will agree that the now billion dollar Torouba Complex/Tsunami Shelter now unceremoniously abandoned by the ICC-World Cup for staging ordinary warm up games involving mediocre teams was carefully scrutinized? Was opting for the World Cup Brown Skin Gul Package for T&T well thought out and sensitive to the aspirations/ national pride of our massive cricketing fraternity to showcase our Caribbean jewel and to provide appeal to our young to play more cricket for T&T? Cricket is now treated quite foolishly as an Indian-dominated game to be relegated into neglect and rewarded way below the largesse showered on soccer by the PNM- State

Was careful thought invested in the building of the Interchange ahead of the several roundabouts that has now created a gridlock on the CRH? Were the residents of Chatham ever consulted to date on the scourge of the smelter from a human-environmental-health viewpoints? What thought went into the white elephantine monstrosity of Imbert's billion dollar Rapid Rail when Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) has now been fired for a clear conflict of interest. No prior but mandatory feasibility study of the RRS has been conducted hitherto?

Who in T&T can reply to me to convince me that locating the Chinese funded and perhaps Chinese built Performing Arts Centre in the Princess Building Ground cheek by jowl to the Carnival Centre in the Savannah and opposite to Queen's Hall meets the criteria of care, equity, regional justice, balanced development and real integration of T&T? Is this not being boxed by ethnic-urban politics?

Why erect massive Government buildings in POS that will intensify the traffic gridlock when you are committed by a publicly uttered decentralisation policy to making Regional Corporations, in the style of the THA, implementers of all government policies, programmes, projects and priorities save for energy, foreign affairs and finance? Large numbers of Government daily paid and public servants will no longer travel to POS in droves because they will be absorbed by the respective Corporations. Using the innocent and neglected people of serene and tranquil Chatham as sacrificial lambs to be slaughtered on the anvil of non-sustainable, environmentally degrading, human life threatening industrialisation without a human face is degrading the human spirit or what Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh dubbed as "cumulative genocide".

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