By Michael De Gale
October 12, 2007
Mr. Manning’s decision to turf the party’s deadweight and replace them with a seemingly talented young group free of political baggage and eager to prove themselves, was a demonstration of decisive leadership, political fortitude and foresight. For too long, the PNM had been burdened with parasites, dinosaurs and political opportunists, who were nothing but an Albatross around the party’s neck, weak links, millstones, liabilities and losers. For this bold and courageous move Mr. Manning should be loudly applauded.
Despite the numerous criticisms levied against him, his inflated ego and his political blunders, I have always believed that Mr. Manning is a man of integrity who has the best interest of the country at heart. Surrounded by sub-standard ministers intrigued by the idea of power but lacking the intellectual acumen and commitment to shoulder the responsibilities of high office, the party’s performance lagged and a prolonged period of public disenchantment ensued. With the recent housecleaning, that period should now be over and the PNM could look forward to the coming of better days filled with fresh ideas, farsightedness and people commitment and capable of ensuring the country’s continued development. They have five years to prove themselves capable.
During the previous UNC administration and in this party’s present bid to recapture the top political prize, it is increasingly clear that the UNC is a polarizing force in the nation despite the present of their African mascot – Mr. Warner. Under the leadership of the convicted felon and mean-spirited Mr. Panday, the UNC has no hope of ever regaining political power in T&T. As the saying goes, “they spinning top in mud.” Anyone with political aspirations and good intentions will be well advised to disassociate themselves from that group of Neanderthals, who lack credibility and hope to attain political power through the destructive strategy of divide and conquer – hardly a recipe for growth and harmonious development. This is inconsistent with the spirit of T&T where the motto is still, “Together we Aspire, Together we Achieve.” A UNC victory though highly unlikely, would be nothing but a pox upon the land.
Although a neophyte in the political arena, the COP poses a credible threat to the ruling party but the capabilities of its leader is questionable. With a wide ethnic support base and enjoying a degree of popular support, Mr. Dookeran’s past association with the UNC should be cause for concern. Inquiring minds want to know if he is capable of advancing the interest of the nation as a whole, or would he pander to special interest and race oriented groups. More than that, the public toying with Mr. Dookeran for leadership of the UNC was both emasculating and publicly humiliating. Mr. Dookeran allowed himself to be strung along for much too long before COP came and arrested the problem. Even then, he looked a little shakey. One has to question his ability to be decisive after being turned into a pappy-show in a game of carrot and stick. All these issues raise questions about his strength as a leader, the seriousness with which others should view him and certainly his vision for the nation.
Granted the PNM has made a number of blunders in the past but from inception, it was always clear that this party was a unifying force with the best interest of all the people of T&T at heart. Despite being dogged by political mongrels, contemporary / historical social issues with more than its fair share of scandal, they have managed to keep this juvenile democracy on its feet, stable and growing from strength to strength. Ample evidence around the world is living proof that this is not an easy exercise. After the recent house cleaning – which I hope is certainly not complete, I believe that the infusion of new blood into the party is a good sign. Young, educated and hopefully with vision that extends beyond the narrow confines of small island politics, the future looks bright for the PNM. Unlike the political imbecile and the illiterates who boldly proclaim, “PNM till ah dead”, the people of T&T must vociferously demand, “Good Governance Forever”. Given the current line up of political aspirants anxious to rule supreme in the local corridors of power, the Peoples National Movement is well placed and capable of answering this fundamental human and distinctly democratic call.