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Debunking the COP Vote Splitting Myth
Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2007

By Stephen Kangal
December 05, 2007

After undertaking one year of extensive mobilisation against the ingrained forces of political tribalism and maximum leadership styles both of which are deeply embedded in and have determined the contours of T&T politics for the past 52 years, the COP has now achieved 50% of its stated mission on the road to introducing caring, enlightened, issues-based and people-centred and driven politics in T&T under a style of new politics.

This landmark result (148,000 votes and growing) was also achieved in the face of the overwhelming and pervasive media power and a culture of political patronage made possible by vulgar and permissive access of the incumbent to the Treasury on the one hand. On the other, the financial largesse doled out by a single political novice spawned deception and bribery reinforced by subliminal tribal appeals in purchasing its way to the Opposition benches. T&T is now caught in a political vice between a rock scientist and a potential hard rock breaker.

In 19 seats won by the PNM and in 6 seats won by the UNC, the COP polled the second highest number of votes. Four COP candidates lost their deposits in Trinidad while 13 of the UNC lost theirs. The COP splitting accusation is a myth that must be debunked forthwith as we grapple with the dawning of a three-party democracy. That development will provide the necessary checks and balance against the excesses of a constitutionalised Westminster first- past- the- post-dictatorship. God, who is a Trini works in mysterious ways his wonders to behold come 2012 or earlier.

The COP quickly achieved a solid and stable platform of electoral support that endorsed its impressive slate of high calibre candidates. COP is only 46,000 votes short of the UNCís. In 6 seats in Trinidad the UNC polled less than 1000 votes. The COP did not get less than 1000 votes in any seat in Trinidad. It is well positioned electorally. From a solid, strong, membership-driven organisational base it will dismantle progressively the ethnic stranglehold that benefits the two traditional tribal homeland parties. It is that which stifles optimum and sustainable economic growth and national mobilisation in this plural society.

The reformist vision of the COP that had to translated on the ground at a very frenetic pace, attempted to break, in the shortest time frame of one year, the current the yoke of ethnic polarisation that is the result of 52 years of political conditioning, indoctrination and divide to rule politics.

COP now has five years and an intervening local government elections to forge a measured strategy and to re-tool and re-engineer both its message and the media to complete the fulfillment of its radically reformist socio-political agenda. COP is not a make-shift, marriage of convenience electoral arrangement as the UNC-A. While the opposition was bent on removing the PNM, the UNC did not constitute the viable political alternative to the PNM.

Those who wish COP to disappear from the political landscape have their own myopic survival agenda. The 2007 election result is merely a blip on the radar screen. But COP will surmount the full brunt of the propaganda machinery and the cult leadership styles of both the mook and the crook.

Their hold and dominion over the minds of the traditional urban-rural tribal homelands in 21st Century T&T constitutes a fast diminishing and temporary deterrent in the path to innovative political development and progress.

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