A sacrificial lamb

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
November 28, 2022

“Little lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee,
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed
By the stream and o’er the mead…”

—William Blake, “The Lamb”

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeTwo weeks ago I spoke about the incivility in our political culture and the need to refrain from making savage attacks against one another. Many people responded favourably to my article. Richard de Lima, writing from Ontario, Canada, observed: “I have been reading your columns in the Express several years, which though always informative, sometimes stimulating, and often entertaining, have not prompted me to write you before. On this occasion, I feel obliged to extend my compliments to you on the penetrating remarks made about the conduct of PNM ministers and other senior party officials in regard to challengers for various positions in the forthcoming party elections.

“The behaviour today is no different from that of yesterday. This then, could be regarded as an intrinsic part of the Party’s ‘organisational culture’. If this be the case, what then are the prospects for improved governance of our country, wherein which healthy respectful competition for office, in electoral politics, is a requirement for preserving and enhancing our democracy?”

Mr de Lima caught my drift. I was not attacking anyone. I simply urged PNM members, as de Lima does, to guard against a malignant “part of the Party’s ‘organisational culture’.”

Imagine my dismay when I woke up on Sunday morning to Louis W Williams’s conclusion: “Dr Cudjoe obviously supports Mrs Karen Nunez-Tesheira in the leadership contest in the PNM. I have no problem with that, as it is his democratic right to do so… I am, personally, against mud-slinging in election campaigns, although it appears to be the norm globally, in such campaigns. However, Dr Cudjoe paints a one-sided picture with Mrs Nunez-Tesheira as the lowly victim.”

He continued: “There is a lot of talk about new vision by Mrs Nunez-Tesheira, but I have not yet seen anything from her which reflects that. A significant portion of current leadership of the PNM is aged. What needs to happen with some urgency is the establishment of a proper mentorship programme which would train/prepare the next generation so that they can hit the ground running.”

Was I not asking for a similar thing when I stated “how inept these young PNM leaders are in articulating the goals of the party and formulating a political philosophy that speaks to the needs of the 21st century”? Did I not warn the younger members of the party to refrain from following “the example of the older leaders who are stuck in repudiating and insulting their opponents, whether they are inside or outside the party”?

Williams could not have known that I did not give Nunez-Tesheira a pass nor, for that matter, was I inclined to support anyone who does not speak to the needs of the disenfranchised population. This is why I asked Nunez-Tesheira in last week’s article, “Where is the There?”

In August 12, 2020, on the dawn of the general election, I wrote: “Although PNM began as a movement that was cognisant of the needs of the underclass Indians and Africans alike, over the years it has come to take the support of black people for granted. One only has to look at the conditions under which many black people in depressed communities live to recognise that they have not been the recipients of PNM’s loving and tender care…

“In this day and time, no one should vote for policies that ensure one’s enslavement. One should support what’s in the best interests of one’s group and the society at large. Habit should not be the major criteria for supporting a party.” I would only amend this statement to say habit should not be the major criteria for supporting a leader, which is why I asked Nunez-Tesheira: which way should we take from here, and what is the vision of the society she wishes to create?

On Tuesday morning, Saudi Arabia defeated Argentina 2-1 in its opening World Cup football match. Some news outlets called it “the biggest World Cup upset in history”. The New York Times put it thus: “A team that had travelled to Qatar on the back of 35 games without defeat, the glow of its first international honour in a generation fresh in the memory, with arguably the greatest player in top form and surrounded by teammates of the highest calibre, opened its tournament with a 2-1 defeat to an opponent, Saudi Arabia, that was supposed to be little more than a sacrificial lamb”. (November 22, 2022.)

Although I admire Nunez-Tesheira’s courage in taking on PNM’s present leadership, she started her campaign too late, and her court defeat on Wednesday decreased her ability to attract support from party members. More importantly, it would have been better if she had offered the party members something of substance to vote for. Such an approach would have been a healthy alternative to what the party has at present.

However, I hope her candidacy gives the party members a chance to come out of their inertia and ask the present leadership of the party where it’s going and how will it speak to the needs of its poorer, more disenfranchised constituents.

I also hope those who aspire to lead us treat us as thinking people, rather than mindless objects who only absorb the party’s propaganda.

While I admire Nunez-Tesheira’s courage and her boldness, I do not support her candidacy. I only wish she had given us more political meat to chew upon, and engaged the party in more substantive debate on its future direction. Unfortunately, this time around, she may only be the party’s sacrificial lamb.

7 thoughts on “A sacrificial lamb”

  1. To win you have to put yourself out there, Karen will not win, but she will create a track for others. The discipline within the PNM ranks is strong because there are many spies within the balisier patch who takes note of discontentment.

  2. “He explained that out of 39 reports of shootings with high-powered guns, 129 ­people had been shot, 93 of whom had been murdered.”
    As TnT records the highest number of homicides in its history. The newspaper presented a picture of the Acting Commissioner of police wearing a broad smile and saying there is no need to declare a state of emergency. The bad boys are out with sophisticate weaponry and executing at will. It must be noted that the current minister of national security Mr Hinds has been “mum” on all of this…

    The Excuses for all that is happening will be highlighted in the next few days. Then all cockroaches will go back hiding in their stated place of destiny. If there is any doubt that Trinidad is in decline, try getting in a car from Penal and going to Port of Spain the floods will stop you. Too bad if you suffer a heart attack or some kind of emergency. Yet six months later no water in the taps.

    The Rowley regime has been the worst for TnT. Britan got rid of Boris and Liz because they were not up to the task. Only the PNM can get rid of the Rowley regime and spare the nation the trauma of fast moving decline.

  3. Getting rid of Rowley will not solve the gradual decline of T&T.
    The PNM government and its Afro based membership have a sense of entitlement to governing T&T, as well as dominating the Institutions, culture and representation of the nation.
    It is this sense of entitlement which drives the policies of the government in terms of hiring, employing and providing services which favor the Afro-based community.
    The successive election victories, gerrymandered of course, for over fifty years of PNM rule, created the platform for arrogance, hubris and abuse which are frequently hurled on the public. ” Let no damn dog bark.” “They like it so”

  4. The gradual sinking of Trinidad.
    UWI has not produced measurable scholars to feed the nation scientific information in regards to climate change, flooding and the rise of the sea level.

    It is one of the most critical warning of future catastrophe being ignored to the national detriment. I remember as a boy living in a flood prone area, we had a few floods for the year but the water receded within 3 days. Now, it seems to be like an unwanted neighbour eying the bottle of rum, making sure it finish before he leave. Governance has to take all factors into consideration and like Mia Mottley plan for it.

    Trinidad is a signatory to the road and belt initiative and as such recipients of low Chinese loans and know how. “Beijing has developed at least seven artificial islands, creating 1,295 hectares (3,200 acres) of new land since 2013, according to the CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative” Whilst Trinidad pitch is fixing the tarmac of Chinese airports, what are Trinis getting in return. China has the equipment to move massive amount of soil. The mouths of the rivers need the removal of sludge. To do that I am sure equipment could be imported from China to suction the sludge out and reduce the time water reaches into the Gulf of Paria.

    Rohan Sinanan is the hardest working PNM minister. But I am sure he threw his hands in the air and said “I can’t do it”. Frustrated I am sure. Rohan needs help. Please “ductta” help the man.

  5. If Karen is the sacrificial lamb, is Rowley and the PNM establishment “The Tyger” in all its evil,fearful symmetry?

    The Tyger
    William Blake

    Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
    In the forests of the night;
    What immortal hand or eye,
    Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

    In what distant deeps or skies.
    Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
    On what wings dare he aspire?
    What the hand, dare seize the fire?

    And what shoulder, & what art,
    Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
    And when thy heart began to beat,
    What dread hand? & what dread feet?

    What the hammer? what the chain,
    In what furnace was thy brain?
    What the anvil? what dread grasp,
    Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

    When the stars threw down their spears
    And water’d heaven with their tears:
    Did he smile his work to see?
    Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

    Tyger Tyger burning bright,
    In the forests of the night:
    What immortal hand or eye,
    Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

  6. The news came that the murder rate is the highest in the history of TnT. The news report came that 19,000 containers were not scanned at the port. Then the figures were out that thousands of sophisticated weapons enter the country through the Port legally.

    The whole purpose of governance is to bring the “good life” to the citizenry. That means citizens must feel safe, have good jobs, a decent home and be able to live without fear. If the government is failing in these areas they are not bringing the good life to the citizenry.

    Trinidad is on the road to pariah nation where no one is accountable for anything. This is an experiment like a nomad tribe living in the jungles of Africa. But even that tribe would have a structure of accountability. So with all the education and all the resources we see citizens exposed to massive fire power where they are like sitting ducks. Massy had the contract to look after these scanners and when contract was up it was not renewed. Massy is the favoured “son” of the PNM, if they don’t get contracts they send their reporters to inquire and exposed the one receiving the contract. It is a mafia operation where the big boss goes after all who enters his territory.

    But back to the scanner and guns issue. The collapse of governance has created a nation susceptible to criminality and death at an alarming rate. The youths see no future in TnT and are stuck and not able to leave. But why should it be that way? When Kamla was in charge I know of Trinis who left the “cold” and came back only to split after Rowley took charge. The good life is disappearing every day…

  7. mr. Cudjoe

    Your poem hit me , and the quote from Matt : 7:15
    appeared in my head .
    ” The Woolf in Sheeps clothing ”

    Ruth : You want Change ? Change yourselfe .
    Revolution starts on your own Plate !

    Is War a Ritual Human Sacrifice? by Acharya S – WHALE


    About the Flooding : No Farming in future ? CO2 neutral and enviromental friendly …

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