Proportional representation major change in TT politics

By Andre Bagoo
September 1, 2013 –

ParliamentPARLIAMENT will meet this week to vote on unprecedented legislation seeking to reform local government by introducing a system of proportional representation.

The reforms were unveiled by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar at a post-Cabinet media briefing on Thursday. It is proposed that aldermen — who are currently hand-picked by elected councillors — be chosen based on how many votes each party ends up getting overall.

But when the elected MPs gather at the International Waterfront Centre, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain at 10.30am on Friday, it will not mark the first occasion that proportional representation has taken centre stage in the politics of Trinidad and Tobago.

Proportional representation — or a system whereby seats reflect the margins of victory, meaning even minorities have voices — was a central plank of the 1974 Report of the Constitution Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, chaired by Sir Hugh Wooding.

In fact, the Government’s current proposal can arguably be traced to the Wooding Commission’s report which stated on page 60: “We have recommended that elections including local government elections should be conducted under the mixed system of proportional representation. This would mean that party strength throughout Trinidad and Tobago should be more accurately reflected in this electoral college”.

But the Prime Minister of the day, the PNM’s Eric Williams, did not accede to the proposal. He argued it would be “a dagger to the heart of the PNM”. As a result of his concerns over the PNM, the nation’s Republican Constitution of 1976 did not reflect any proportional representation. Still, the issue would not die.

The Hyatali Commission, under the NAR, considered the issue again in 1987 and then the Sir Ellis Clarke Draft Constitution of 2006 made a concession to proportional representation for the Senate, alongside an executive president. The Principles of Fairness Draft Constitution of 2006 also sought to introduce proportional representation to the Senate, while leaving the House of Representatives as it is now.

Former Chief Justice Michael de la Bastide — who sat on both the Wooding and Hyatali commissions — last week welcomed the proposals, calling on citizens to examine their merits. He noted the system encourages more people to vote, with the knowledge that that vote will not be wasted, and also addresses the unfairness of situations where parties sometimes get a large share of votes but no seats. For instance, this was the case with the ONR, COP and TOP in elections each held in different decades.

“In our report, we had recommended a mixed system of proportional representation in Parliament,” de la Bastide noted of the Wooding Commission Report.

“The current proposal appears to be almost a pilot project in the context of the local government councils and I think its interesting because I am still in support of proportional representation in a mixed form. It helps to soften some of the inequities produced by the first-past-the-post system.”

Some, like the Prime Minister last week, have argued that because the proposal involves the submission of a list of aldermen candidates for each party in advance, this results in “no surprises”. This is regarded as potentially a major improvement on what currently happens with the elected councilors often picking persons not known to the public to be mayor.

In fact, the current system is such that of all of the last batch of mayors, none were directly elected by the people! For example, many members of the population at large still have not heard of Ghassan Youseph, the Mayor of Arima.

The first-past-the-post system is also regarded as a winner takes all system which sometimes is open to not reflecting the true results. It is said that the victor’s power becomes disproportionate to their actual support. In addition to the ONR, COP and TOP election results in the 1980s, 2000s and 2010s, even earlier in our history came moments when voters might have scratched their heads.

This is arguably what happened when in the 1950 general elections the Butler Party won seven of the eighteen available legislative council seats. The British government had concerns about Butler as a radical and instead asked the other Independent members to form the government. Consequently, Albert Gomes was made the first Chief Minister by the Governor and not Butler.

Proportional representation is regarded, then, as something of an improvement to the first-past-the-post system. But how does it work in practice and are there difficulties? Ask Guyana.

Guyana’s constitution, revised in 1980, provides for an electoral system of proportional representation under which the country is divided into ten regions voting for 25 members of the National Assembly with another 40 seats being allocated nationally on the proportion of votes cast for each party. To control the assembly — which makes the laws of the country and initiates its money bills, including the budget — a party must secure more than 50 percent of the ballots. At the same time, according to the Guyana constitution, the president, in whom executive authority lies, only requires control of the largest block (termed a “plurality of the vote”).

This system has caused problems in Guyana to the extent that opposition parties have, under the current President Donald Ramotar, united to veto much Government activity, including the budget!

But advocates for proportional representation say it remains a better version of democracy. They argue that if difficulties arise, this is because there is a plurality of voices and no single dominant voice. The difficulties, they suggest, are a natural by-product and expression of that diversity of views in any system where people are free to elect their leaders.

Critics, though, say when minority governments happen, this makes getting things done difficult. Others countered that this is only the case when there are minority governments or situations when the population chooses to not give one party the dominant voice. This, this say, could in fact be a good thing encouraging true dialogue and collaboration and making it possible for every voice to count.

Proportional representation is also currently used in several countries, including Australia, Costa Rica, Germany, India, Mexico, Russia and Venezuela.

The path to implementation of the proposals appeared clear last week after Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said the legislation requires only a simple majority and after the Elections and Boundaries Commission chairman Dr Norbert Masson indicated that once legally sound, there would be no impediment to the provisions coming in force in time for the October 21 poll. If implemented, the legislation will potentially mark a major change in local politics: next on the agenda is reforming the Parliament and how senators are selected.,183051.html

35 thoughts on “Proportional representation major change in TT politics”

  1. This appears to be quite an interesting topic which if proposed and accepted will change the lives of most of us “for the better” or “make our lives more miserable”. I am not too sure if this is what the people of Trinidad and Tobago need now since it appears more as an appeasement to the politician than to the population at large. It appears to put more emphasis more on how people get elected to our parliamentary bodies than the good such representation provides. It also appears that party politics will then be engraved in the constitution, thereby making it easier to elect incompetents and allowing an individual to go through the grinds of an electoral process where the politician has to face the people and not the party using its machinery can foist any “Anand”, “Kamla”, “Volney”, “Lasse” or “Ghassan” on us. This does not strengthen our electoral process, it weakens it. We need an objectively combative system where “strength” emerges fro the people thereby giving us the best minds through the voices of the people and not the party leader. In our current situation we have a weak government because we have a weak party leader. Should we now enshrine that into our constitution where an already troubled country must endure ever ending mediocrity?

  2. Ain’t this something with these ‘agenda driven , Race mongrels?,They seem to be always seeking mechanisms ,aimed at mucking up T&T’s Constitution, but simultaneously , want to hold on to opaque systems , that they naively think ,would help further their narrow , self interest.
    Say no to tribalism T&T !
    Tell dem , you ain’t give a hoot about no proportional representation , as formulated by them.
    Tell them,to give the CCJ a chance to suceed , for it ‘s time to get rid of the anachronistic ,Privy Council , which essentially is another White Masa European ,layer of control/ domination ,over subjects , chiefly of color.
    Tell them to push socio economic / political transparency , as a matter of policy , as they collectively try and root out,white color bandits , in and out of power.
    Tell them ,citizens will get more excited ,when an equal playing field system of justice is encouraged , whereby ,low caste Indians, Afrikans, and struggling discriminated immigrants , are given a leg up , against cross tribal elites bozos.
    Oh , and by the way Happy Independece T&T!
    Sorry I could not be there to witness another escapist celebration .

    We wish our people well!

  3. Too be sure I support Proportional Representation but only in Local Government. In most developed nations there is a three tier governance beaurocracy in the delivery of goods and services. Federal, Provincial/State, Municipal. That model has proven to be cumbersome and a devourer of precious tax dollars. Too many on the government dole. In addition the unions makes sure these government employees get treated as the paper pushing goose that lays the golden egg. Oddly the term “civil/public servant” need not apply.

    In TnT two structures of governance is the ideal Federal and Municipal. I personally believe too many cooks will spoil the national doubles or pelau. The Federal system has failed to deliver services as is evident in rural areas. The Federalist used state resources to feed their own and neglected opposition areas.

    Hence I believe all efforts at delivery of goods and services should be focused on strengthening the municipal system of governance. (1)Proportional representation,(party,as well as independent councilors) (2) A fair funding formula that ensures
    adequate distribution of resources, (3)a system of transparency that shows where the money is being spent. Every penny must be properly accounted for and be easily accessed by the public. (4) Four year terms with right to recall after 2 years, (5) Adequate salaries for councilors….

  4. I would give you a C+ for effort Mamboo, but would add- Stop regugitating theories ,that ain’t applicable here,after reading your kids Social science , or Politics 101 books, mi Mayaro amigo! Everyone and their mama knows fully well ,why you along with your ULF / UNC / COP/PP governmental head honchos ,are gungho over this stupid proportional representation sideshow , in our small ,2 thousand plus square mile country , with a fast depleting , 1.3 million or less ,population.
    Everyday ,the clueless lawyers ,that dominate our local political landscape ,are quick to tinker with our constitution, after first ,indulging in their selective outrages, on media driven , sensational issues .
    The word that best describe local politicians , on both side of the alleged divide Mamboo, would be ‘reactionist,’and why ,you might ask?
    Many are quick on the draw , to create more opaque laws,once something outrageous occur, but simultaneously , they wish to muzzle , and micro manage , Public Servants , who must then implement said laws/ policies.
    The cronies , and party minions like yourself , never get tired of maligning Civil Servant , all the while , implying ,that the bozos that dominate the private sector ,are doing such great jobs. What folly!
    Trust me when I say ,that I am not pointing any fingers ,at the possibly ,well intentioned ,Auntie K , and her PP regime , for attempting to initiate , what they think are positive changes , based on the mandate that was given to them ,by our voting population, disgusted with clueless , delusional , and yes, arogant ,Patrick Manning.
    Let me d , that I would not mind seeing the government in waiting , led by the Rottwiler , or is it Patrick Manning , get their collective acts together , and show that they too ,wish to push ‘out Lil resource laden Republic ,’along the rickety road ,call sustainable development, which has eluded us for far too long, do to the ugly specter of class based , neo elitist , tribal politics.
    What is their game plan? Come on Dr Rowley, and your Pitbull ex police , turn Rasta ,Uncle Hinds.Hey Senator Beckles, rumor has it , that you think that you are the Kinky hair antithesis of our Siparia’s hero , in ‘Her Majestic Queen K.’ If so ,prove it , by coming up with some fresh initiatives, that would make our present system work. Remember , that unlike her, your PNM , ain’t have a Jack Warner , to counter attack , those male nemesis , be they Patrick , Rowley, or who else , lying in the woodwork,so get moving , for voters nationwide ,won’t vote for you , simply due to your pretty smile, social charms , mini skirts, or successes in the Arima Lions , and Kiwanis clubs.
    On a serious note , here is the deal citizens :-T&T’s Security ,remain abysmal , corruption is rampant, social neglect ,for the poor amongst us ,is almost the norm, equal playing field socio- economic justice ,is a mere pipe dream from Couva, to Los Bajos, Grande, to Caranege , we have no coherent immigration policy, to bring much needed , skilled folks in , or keep criminals out.
    As for our foreign policy ,we still cannot figure it out , outside of our diplomats voting yes , or no at the United Nations , or enduring the painful looks by Dookie, as he sit during another photo opt, while still speculating ,where his COP fraction role in the coalition/ Alliance should really be, moving forward.
    As for our quest to be some kind of CARIcOM hegemon ,,despite Auntie K’s pronouncements , T&T is still writing blank checks ,for ungrateful regional fiefdoms, as our oil , and gas reserve sink lower on a daily basia, and our young people worry , if any would be there after China , or India syphoon it all away.
    Take a stand people!We still have the greatest country on Planet earth, bar none-trust me on that, so stay vigilant , and find a way to make a difference , while getting your voicesheard. Don’t be afraid to hold all our leaders hands to the symbolic fire,Si? Stay tuned for my neo -patriotic rants.
    I Luv dis land!

  5. Before rejoicing on this proportional representation development, consider what it has done, and is doing to Italian and Israeli politics.

    While the need for greater representation by percentages is admirable, two key points should be considered.

    One is the fracturing of majority representation. Then, even the smallest of parties could, as part of a coalition, hold governments to ransom if their demands are not met.

    In short, proportional representation implies greater political participation. It does, but at the expense of good governance by parties that could be held accountable. Instead, then, no one is.

    Also, the number of political campaigns and election cycles will increase dramatically because many governments will fall over incidentals; trivia, resulting in ‘more politicking, but less representation, and less governing’.

    If the changes do not include policies which demand transparency in finance reform, about who is contributing to which political, party and politician, then the choices facing the electorate will be neither greater transparency in finance reform, nor increased representation that is effective.

    Chaos, twenty-four hour cycles, and weekly and monthly election preparations will undermine political stability, policy preparation, and effective implementation.

    If the current situation is difficult enough, proportional representation without financial reforms of invested interests contributing to politicians will create something, but not kumbayah politics, nor increased political participation by the electorate.

    Confusion in politics increases the power of those who have; and decreases the effectiveness and participation of those without the means to stay in the game.

  6. I had the opportunity to watch the debate in the House on Proportional Representation in local government elections. Jack Warner and the PNM joined in denouncing the government for the manner in which they handled the Bill. The opposition parties were blind sighted by the late delivery of the Bill to Members of Parliament. The opposition was justified in their criticism but seemed delighted that they were given the opportunity to ridicule those on the opposite side. The Minister of Local Government apologized for the error but it seemed that the apology made no difference to the Opposition Parties, the PNM and Jack’s ILP.
    What was truly astonishing in this debate was the reaction of Jack Warner whose speech was heralded by the PNM and Jack was treated as one of their members. Jack Warner proved to me that he should never be given a position of power in T&T again. His speech was vindictive and loaded with base personal attacks on specific individuals on the government benches. One wondered if he was part of this same administration for over three years. He disclosed the details of previous Cabinet meetings, made accusations against a particular Minister who openly denied his version of the events before the open Parliament. He ridiculed the qualifications and experience of Minister Dookeran who spoke previously on the symbolism of introducing Proportional representation in small steps He disrespected the PM by implying that his valuable and correct advice and suggestions were ignored by her and that she was going to “pay” for ignoring him. He made numerous accusations regarding corruption and irregularities in the procurement process. What stunned me were his occasional complimentary remarks directed towards the PNM and Manning himself.
    I wonder if the people of Chaguanas West voted for that. What gives Jack Warner the moral authority to challenge anyone on morality, principles and conduct in public life?
    The man is plagued by accusations at home and abroad, all related to corruption and the theft of millions of dollars. If the people of Chaguanas West wake up from their thirst for gifts and cash for votes and examine the big picture, they would have only one choice and that is to throw out the scoundrel in the next election. His victory is a reflection on the greed and naivety of the voters and those who gravitate towards his party are mostly opportunitists in search of opportunities. I hope that T&T realizes that this man would be a national and international embarrassment as PM because of his corrupt reputation, his inability to speak the English Language and his vindictive, arrogant, egotistical and petty personality. His speech in the House showed that he misunderstands the decorum and class of the Chamber. Only in T&T would a Speaker allow him to get away with that.

  7. So, you did not feel he was unfit for Government while he was your political servant helping you in your conquest? You did not consider him inarticulate when he was on podiums exhorting them Trini blacks to ignore the evidence before their “lying eyes” and vote for the PP? “Oh what a tangled web we weave……”

    Jack Warner is best expert and the most authorized person in Parliament to analyze and provide an opinion of the PP. He was inside the belly of the beast, he knows where the bodies are buried, in a manner of speaking. He knows about the skullduggery they engaged in, since he was an instrumental part of that skullduggery.

    The political slave now comes in for the scorn of the master and oversears because he ceases empathizing with the ailments of massa. He know longer reacts with the “massa we sick” emotional and obsequious sentiment. And for this he elicits great anger and vituperations. You aint fooling anybody in heah. When it walks like a duck and quack like a duck, 10 times out of 10, it is a blinking duck.

    1. Is that why he absented himself from the House when the vote on Proprotional Representation was taken?
      Was he afraid to go on record as one who voted with the PNM?
      Was he concerned about the reaction of his opportunistic supporters in Chaguanas west?

  8. “What was truly astonishing,in this debate ,was the reaction of Jack Warner ,who proved to me that he should never be given a position of power in T&T again. His speech was vindictive…. I hope that T&T realizes that this man would be a national and international embarrassment as PM because of his corrupt reputation…his inability to speak the English Language and his vindictive, arrogant, egotistical and petty personality.His speech…. showed that he misunderstands the decorum and class of the Chamber. .. ..Only in T&T would a Speaker allow him to get away with that.” T Man

    Lord have mercy, and what took you this long T-Man ,to- what de wisest woman that ever lived ,in my late ,Tobago Granny ,would call- ‘show your true colors,’ as to what you really believe Uncle Jack Warner is as an individual?
    You my friend are either the most naive creature on planet earth , or as I prefer to think ,is really the case ,just another desingenious comedian , who think you ,or any of your kind, can continually ‘pee on Afrikan folks legs,and tell dem,it’s raining.’Which is it? The same Jack who got on a platform,BEFORE HER CORONATION,and refer to his PM as a drunken , political lightweight, or almost publicly impale, after humiliating , the one time Chagurnas Mayor Suraj,is now vindictive, tie tongue ,Matlot Zndole, mixed with Mapipipi/ Salipainter?Are you kidding me!
    By de way ,the only thing you left out from your outrageous denunciations, was also to blame lifetime UNC member,and one time lofty Trade Unionist, Wade Mark -your PP government , extremely fair, and objective Speaker-for being an anti Indian people/PNM stooge,better suited, to run a Caroni animal Circus,as opposed to lauding over our government business,and again how comical!
    Big question for you, mi amigo! If all that you are saying of Jack warner is true ,then what conclusions should we all draw , about the character/ moral of our first Hindu male, and female PM’s, who decided to get into bed with him ,along with dem politically astute/savvy , ever so grateful, folks ,from the Chagurnas West district?
    I am with you however T-Man ,dem Afrkan Trinis ,be they from the Tobago Island Ward, or Beetham Labasse /Prestigious , life saving , Shaq O Neal Basketball camp, are too ungrateful,especially after all you more morally sound , and politically sophisticated folks, did for them , since White Massa departed our shores.
    Take our Uncle Jack , not only is he in your estimation,a simi literate bozo , but one might rightly conclude using your logic,de man won’t know the meaning of the word magnanimity, if it rose up from the La Brea Pitch Lake ,and strike him in the face, SI?
    Let me guess , you are now wondering, just how did this ‘Afrikan pug nose, kinky head fool ,’ rose up, to almost become FIFA head , when he ain’t a trained , educated lawyer ,that’s able to speak the Queen’s English ,like our authentic leaders , Basdeo Panday,and protege,Auntie K?
    Speaking of Papa Basdeo, he along with Ramnath , Sudama , and that Suraj Rambachan ,were certainly , the epitome of civility ,towards the NAR government , they help destroy , once Awwww, weee Bouy ,ANR Robinson ,kicked them out, after they attempted to usurp his Westminster obtained , two seat Tobago , authority, ennt?
    Here is the deal for all you characters , overly concern about billionaire Jack Warner , when it come’s to his well chronicled,yet unproven , domestic , and ,or international malfeasance.
    Give it a rest, for just like that white color bandit Bas , he can take care of himself, legally. Instead , you guys need to place your energies , into trying to see that poor folks , get the equal playing field justice they deserve , in T&T.
    Here is another truism , you and others of similar mindset ,must eventually come to accept T-Man . Your country, is a thriving democracy – which did not just evolve that way, three years ago , upon de ELEVATION of ‘Her Majestick Queen K,’ into national power.
    As such , we subscribe not only to a view, that ‘he who alleges , must prove,’ but each person must have their day in court , to be tried by his / her peers.
    Even though, our wheels of justice , might appear to be a bit slow,but as sure as night follow’s day,trust me when I say, Basdeo Panday, HCU’s own ,Harinarine, American hating pals ,ISH,& Steve ,Islamist Lennox Phillip, aka Yasin Abu Bakr,CLICO Dupree, and now Jack Warner,won’t be the exception.
    Thank goodness, the Chagurnas voters were able to repudiate your leader’s gutter politics,and push back ,this blatant act of idiotic tribalism . In the process , they were able to garner the respect of the entire nation,region , and world at large in the process.
    Political animal as I am , and trying to test de tea leaves re our voting fatigue citizens, so here is a final question for you T-Man. First it was the Tobago electoral shellacking /defeat, now this , so do you think your leaders , really wish to risk the local election, or the proportional Representation nonsense Bill,they are trying to introduce, like thieves in de night , would passed in time , for their not too concealed ,wider , power play?
    We wish our people well!

    1. The Persad-Bissessar Government is not the first to railroad important legislation through Parliament. This is the record of every government who, despite assertions to the contrary, demonstrates by its actions that it prioritises office above representation. It is a worldwide phenomenon.

      1. TMan, you always answer well put questions with generic quotes like, “PP is not the first” “the PNM did it too”,
        “this is the record of every government” “It is a worldwide phenomenom”. Proportional Representation is a hallmark piece of legislation by your PP government, a government that is less than stellar in its performance and worse yet, it intentions. I am yet to see a piece of legislation or policy championed by this government that is racially void in its intent. The masters of policy and intent are all Hindu based and are intent on creating a pseudo caste system in Trinidad. Anyone who has a keen eye on this government’s actions can be led to this conclusion by looking at their propagators Kamla – devout hindu, Ramlogan – devout hindu, Gopeesingh – devout hindu, Sharma – devout hindu, Rambachan – devout hindu, Deviant – devout hindu, Kamla’s personal secretaries – well (add the chorus)!. PR is nothing more than a disguised form of the caste system that hindus are famous for. The population has gotton so race sensitive that anywhere steelband is played it is expected that Tassa should accompany it of share with it. Your hindu, race hating Maha Saba president appears to be the one who is running this government.

        1. Are you suggesting that we replace them with devout Christians?
          The policies which displaced the poor and disadvantaged in T&T were instituted long before this government came on the scene, as short a time as three years ago.
          It is amusing to hear Rowley publicly blame the PP for the deterioration of housing and crime in PNM Port of Spain areas, neglected by all former PNM regimes.
          It is interesting to watch residents of those areas protest against “everything” and make demands on this government when they remained silent under Manning drowning in their ignorance,but comfortable in the belief that the leader was one of theirs.
          Although no one can provide the specific evidence of accused racism practised by this government, accusations fly everywhere.
          What’s the problem with tassa? Is the largest ethnic group in the country not allowed to have freedom of musical expression?
          Why are you guys afraid of Proportional Representation? Is it because you perceive some sort of advantage for the largest ethnic group in the country?
          I believe the shoe is on the other foot. Your racist slips are showing!

  9. You still don’t get it ,huh T-Man ? Your leader came to her proverbial T&T ,political throne , on the empty , stolen Obama Mantra ,of “CHANGE,”buddy!,183325.html

    Whith that as a backdrop , pray tell ,what this is as far as policy, T-Man?Let us decipher was was said on that 1st CARICOM dambley -‘ No blank checks ,for Caribbean countries , with leaders that look like Rowley , or Manning , but oil / gas , bartering schemes ,for Guyanese cousins , with an eye on bolstering , future voting demographics?
    We do not now wish to be bombarded by cry baby Lamentations, of “all aha we thief , “when we enquire about prevailing corruptions, as manifested under her reign, T-Man.
    Save us your apologist defense , of past PNM -phantom,and genuine -failures,be it on National security , social neglect, poor infrastructure for poor folks , limited land reform, and blatant cronyism , since the electors as a whole , gave her ,and PP ,a mandate , because they were all disgusted ,with the clueless , aragont , nepotistic ,Sando , vindictive, anti Rowley, self serving creature , called Manning. Give it a rest , and hold her ,and the UNC dominant PP regime ,accountable .
    Tell you T-Man , non of ‘you allzs ,’be it you , her ,or the other party hacks , won’t get our sympathy ,when you attempt to suddenly label our media , as pro PNM lackies ,as this won’t fly , and why? It was the same media , that was lambasting everyone in the country outside of Basdeo Panday , for every ill than befell our country from 1962 , up to her coronation. No ,Neyet ,non ,PP party spokesman Andy Johnson , would never be able to raise his head anytime soon , now ,or in the future , when the war cry is made , for all T&T , objective journalists,to stand , and take a deserved bow.
    It’s sad but true , as to why this country ,could never advance , or mesh together ,in a positive way,as a cohesive , developing nation. Your position , is a clear example- always willing to point fingers at the other, and not look in the mirror.
    For de record, Kasionian Chalkie , and Sparrow ,called the Doc every name conceivable in the Cambridge / Oxford Dictinory , and we ain’t get a peak from the man in retaliation. To the whole nation ,Uncle Chambers was duncy ,clueless Ship captain , as the Mayaro , Extempo king , turn culture Vulture Minister ,so eloquently put it in song.
    The media ,beat up Tobago Robbie , as a uncaring, elitist ,anti Trinidad bum, and even rejoiced when an Islamist criminal ,and his fake religious goons , shot him in his knees.
    What they did not call Manning ,is because they forgot, and yet these guys , for all their many flaws ,took this with a smile, since they understood that democracy , can be nasty.
    It took your papa Basdeo , in his first shot at power ,to try and handcuff Kaisonians , because they dared to sing about him.
    Now ,fast forward to 2013 ,and we have some upstart AG , who want to take Express journalist to courts , because they wrote something that he , and his female boss , found unfavorable? Go figure, these pathetic , neo triumphalist , country hating people.
    Listen to him -“priorities office over representation?” What exactly is that , yet you have de audacity ,to condemn Uncle Jack , for not speaking English?Please!!! Your now elderly teachers , from dat ,elite ,former high school / college , of QRC , must be rolling their eyes in shame , if they could read this.
    We wish our people well, for with citizens like T- Man , who really need enemies, hmmmm?
    I Luv this land!

  10. Yes, but under the PNM this would be receiving your vituperative condemnation. Your hypocrisy is so deeply enmeshed in your psyche that you cannot even discern when it is being exhibited. Either that or like many of your ilk still entertain the myth that “dem Caribbean dalit we met ova heah won’t understand”. Your slip continues to slip.


    “Only in T&T would a Speaker allow him to get away with that….” TMan.
    Want to bet fellas, that this PP , neo tribal apologist , call T-Man ,and most of the elite members ,of ‘triumphalist nation ,’are overly ecstatic today , now that Uncle Wade,did his ‘brown / black -non – kinky hair Massa’s’bidding , and eventually kicked MP Volney out, in ever so humiliating fashion?
    I often wondered ,who is really advising ‘Her Majestick Queen K?’Does she ,and her PP government ,really think , they will regain that St Joseph seat , in a by-election,against this now wonded , maligned politician , after they’ve treated said MP , like a collection of Caroni water buffalo dung , that was discovered ,close to an exotic ,5 Star Aranguez, Chagurnas,Couva,or Tabaquite resturant?
    As some of my more progressive ,fellow bloggers,have stated ,much more eloquently ,than I ever can -The Modus Operandi , of these folks ,remain’s the same.
    They’ll ride people’s back en route to power, but once their self serving objectives ,are achieved ,conveniently kick them to the curb , after first , finding some bogus excuse, so to do.
    Por ejemplo- Without ANR Robinson ,and his historically neglected ,Tobago 2 seats , Basdeo , and his ULF , would still be dreaming on how to turn his 10 seats, perennial loosing ,trade union ,activist movement,into a viable , national political force. Welcome in NAR, and the rest we shall say ,is history. Robbie , and pal Ken Gordon ,denounced, as undemocratic , neo racist , anti Indo Trini folks ,even as Basdeo, and his gang, controlled more than half of the choice cabinet positions.
    Care to imagine the Tobago AwweeBouy’s crime? Having the temerity ,to assume the ‘First amongst equal ,’ mantle ,by letting Bas know his political place – a la …in British ,Westminster system , we do not have co PM’s .
    Need I mention ,our ‘Muslim Brother of Reason,’Uncle Shah,who got dumped ,like a sack of rotton cabbage , once he was no longer useful to Bas?
    Local Transparency Internationational guru Mrs.Mary King , former Minister of health / Geneva Ambassador ,Therese Baptiste- Cornelis,lifetime social activist , Verna St Rose, Tobago high end lawyer,Christlyn Moore, anti Crabral fighter ,in Chief Uncle Shah, Jack Warner, and finally Justice Volney? Notice a trend here people?
    Yet ,unlike most parts of the civilize , politically mature world, AG Ramlogan ,will still hold his job, even in the face of repeated flawed decisions on his part , be it on opaque State of emergencies, and unconstitutional actions of phantom charges , against innocent poor folks,his efforts,to push through ill conceive laws , a la Section 34, to protect cronies, or worst yet , apparent ploys ,to muzzle/pit public servants against each other ,hard working ,low moral,police officers, by making untrained , non – accountable soldiers ,domestic law enforcement officers , with official powers of arrest.Go figure!

    Tell you what folks ,I plan to be home in 10 days time , after one of my occasional foreign junkets , but I wonder if I should try and get me a ‘Lil pice oh dat 10 ,000 acres of Gayanese lands,’that is allegedly air marked ,for Trini farmers, under wink/ wink arrangements , concocted between …the two regional partners?
    Quit kidding yourself Neal , for dat ,and a flying Las Lomas donkey , you ain’t seeing.
    I love this land , but yes , those of us in de know ,have a moral obligation ,to keep all self serving barbarians ,hands to the fire, and in the process , hopefully deprive them, of the opportunity ,to overrun de Trini resource ladened , Pearly gates, that was handed down to us ,by visionary , neo patriotic leaders- flawed as they might occasionally be , hmmmmmm?

  12. Let me remind you again TMAN that before you can accuse any African of being racist you will have to purge the centuries of religious and cultural beliefs that gave the world its first state where people were legally rated by color. I was not unfortunate to inherit those traits, since it has never been a part of our religious and cultural history. Those who have a connection to that history, as we have seen in this world over time, are far more likely to harbor those kinds of primitive prejudices.

    When there is a pattern of behavior across geographies, and there is a similarity in the demographic of the power structure, it is reasonable to conclude that there is a shared attitude that condition such behaviors. You represent a prime exhibit of that attitude, and it has to be pointed out. The strategy of trying to pawn it off on those who dare to see this metaphorical nakedness of the emperor is tired, worn, and have lost all traction.

    1. Tell that to the man who was recently killed by a Black man in the USA because, as his killer repeated , because he was White.

      1. Get the facts straight , in your typical tick skull, T Man. If one has no power , then one’s actions ,might be interpreted as prejudice , but it ain’t racism. African folks ,do not hold power ,in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, or USA.
        .This very theory ,can be used to understand that ugly Scrooge called terrorism, in say ,..the Middle East,Kashmir , and such. Palistinians ,fighting for their stolen homelands, are risistance , or freedom fighters. The State of Isreal, using their weapons of mass destruction, American made drones, and huge military arsenal, along withn financial aid, are the terrorist.
        Make poor folks stakeholders, and give them hope.

  13. Neal the hair texture stipulation in that deal make you and me ineligible. The PPP need some additional voters to shore up its base since its constituency are fleeing Guyana faster than a bee can fly. So this GOIP deal was made.

    I believe that there will be great backlash. The plan is to sneak those who are transitioned into voters booth in the next elections to assure the continuation of the ethnocracy. But bad things are coming to Guyana, and we country men for whom ethnic solidarity trumps all else might discover that they have jumped from the frying pan into the fire.

    In T&T the ethnic princess is using PR to try to maintain her hegemony, while in Guyana the ethnic King is trying to sneak in reinforcement towards the same end.

  14. The ILP is calling on people to wear black for nine days in mourning for the nation over the PM’s new cabinet. Well it appears that the run away slave is now expounding on the nepotistic raping of the nation’s treasury by the Party he helped to elect into Governance. They say that when thieves fall out honest men come unto their own. Hmmmmm……, gospel?

    1. Looks like Jack is walking in the footsteps of his former leader, panday.
      CHAGUANAS West MP Jack Warner, the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) interim political leader, is listed as having failed to furnish particulars in relation to declarations of income, assets and liabilities to the Integrity Commission for the years 2006 to 2011.

    2. This piece by Tony Deyal sums up the jack Warner caper:

      In one case, Jack Warner sent pre-action protocol letters to the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and former Barbados chief justice, Sir David Simmons over the contents of a report that had accused Warner of using deceptive methods to secure funds from CONCACAF and FIFA, as well as induce FIFA to transfer funds earmarked for development purposes to bank accounts he controlled. Clearly, a pre-action protocol letter is a letter of the law but sometimes it is more like a French letter which is intended to contain an issue, gag any arguments oral or otherwise, or cause considerable friction without necessarily leading to a specific climax. It is not a writ or injunction. It is essentially a threat to sue which the other party can treat seriously and respond, or with contempt and ignore.

      The process for this particular letter of the law is that a client instructs a lawyer to send a letter to the other side in the hope that it will be treated seriously. If so, there is usually a period of negotiation and even some kind of settlement. If not, the matter goes to court where it can either end up as a charge or something even greater.

      The matter that Jack Warner seems to be pursuing so assiduously and the fact that it involves an extremely high-ranking person, a former chief justice of Barbados no less, and the world governing body for football, FIFA, means that this is at least a “grand-charge”. I know that when Trinis use the term “grand charge” or say that someone is “grand charging” they mean the person is only pretending and in Mr Warner’s case this accusation has been made in several places including “Letters To The Editor” of the Express and other newspapers, but since the accusation is about thousands upon thousands of dollars, it would really be a “grands” charge. The news broke about Mr Warner’s letter of the law on August 14th, 2013 but so far there has been no news about whether there were responses or if any is forthcoming or was ever anticipated. We will not speculate about the particular letter or whether letters of the law like the one sent by Mr Warner gave rise to the abbreviation commonly used in text messages — LOL.

  15. The vituperative comments from the Opposition and from contributors in this blog site comes to nought and that is putting your vote where and when it matters. What is more amazing is the thought how politicians can clinker glasses of celebratory juice in the backrooms of power leaving their venom in the masses to do folly. This takes me back to Malborough House in the UK (1962) debating our Independence.,183509.html

  16. So, no vituperative comes from the PP, or did not when they were in opposition? Further, speaking truth to power observes no political correctness or sacred cows. If the heat offends you, stay in the cool.

    1. The truth does tend to offend at times e.g. when the
      e-mailgate scam seemed to have cooled off. Power of Opposition especially when the Integrity Commision is involved! Remember beside the tongue being a dangerous weapon, both sweet and bitter water can flow from the mouth.

  17. TMAN: “Tell that to the man who was recently killed by a Black man in the USA because, as his killer repeated , because he was White”

    Yeah right, and all of those thousands of black men killed by Aryans over the years, including Trayvon Martin are just fake statistics. Like I said, you exhibit the racist Aryan thinking to the point where you are the model for what the replacement slave masters sound like. But that is what black people all over this world need to understand and stop allowing themselves to be deluded with the notion that there is any difference between the branches of the human family infested with racist belief systems that has caused turmoil and genocide in this world, just because some of happen to have a little melanin in their skin. Whether they are descended from Indentured or David Duke, they exhibit the same attitudes and behaviors.

    Racism is a sick and perverted plague that was visited upon this world by people who need to feel they are superior in order to survive. The prejudice was encouched in religious and cultural belief systems ensuring a tradition from generation to generation regardless of geographic change in location. Like all diseases, it has an originating source, and history unambiguously records and documents the original source.

    1. Over three months in 1994, members of the Hutu ethnic majority in Rwanda murdered as many as 800000 people, mostly minority Tutsis.

      I need your assistance here Rodwell.
      Did this conflict share the same “original source”?

  18. What about Gujarat. I can produce an array of incidents of Indians killing Indians.

    The genocide committed in Rwanda does not vitiate against my argument that racism, as it originated in this world, is a product of cultural and religious doctrines based on beliefs that people are born inferior and superior. The evidence of that is irrefutable.

    White people, black people etc have committed atrocities on their kind from time immemorial. My position, which you cannot impeach, is that Africans have no historical cultural or religious beliefs that apportion permanent inferiority or superiority status on people based on their color and hair texture.

    The proof of the pudding is in the eating they say. Indians in the diaspora, not all but a significant proportion, have brought all of the skewed concepts of racist supremacy into every national environment where they came and met Africans. The choice of the British to replace slave labor with Indentured Servants from India was strategically determined by their Colonial experience on that sub-continent, and their conviction that given the natural acceptance of the Superior/Inferior concept of human beings they would be more inclined to mirror the “white man’s” prejudice in their relationships with Africans, than to form any alliance that threatened Colonial dominance. In retrospect, when one examines the outpourings that the internet has allowed us to experience, they sure had that right. As soon as those who were the victims of prejudice in their country of origin arrived espied people who they considered more “black” than them, they immediately assumed the inverse proportional status of Brahmins, and displaced their previous status on those they met.

  19. When one of the most putrid Racist to emerge from the US can find comfort from what he saw in India and celebrate it, the shared mindset is undeniable. The internet has allowed many of you to parlay that into circumlocutory racist crap, but slowly and surely you are being unmasked and revealed for all to see.

  20. Oh Cuz Rodwell, you mean like the 800 million or more South Asians, that murdered each other , since independence ,from massa England, via inter ethnic/ neo tribal conflicts ,disguised as religious differences, be it in India , Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kashmir ,or Sri Lanka ?

  21. That is the point Neal. The British and French had a war that lasted for one hundred years. India and Pakistan had to be separated because of religious strife and intolerance, and threaten to wipe out each other with nuclear arms. TMAN seeks to refute my points that Racial Prejudice has its genesis in cultural and religious belief systems that argue that people are born inferior and superior, and that many have extrapolated those beliefs into their interaction with people of African Descent both inside and outside of India, by referencing atrocities that occur between Africans or the crime of someone of African descent. This absolutely substantiates by description of him as someone for whom deceit is a way of life.

    Further, I am not arguing that black people cannot be racist. I am making the point which many feel uncomfortable about making that Africans tend to be accepting of strangers into their midst, and do not have any historical belief system that relegates groups to an inferior status because of how they look. Yes we have pathologies which are not unique to any group, but that one we do not have.

    Strangers can go into African Communities, open stores and businesses, and operate with no fear that we will allow how they look to determine whether we spend our money with them. That is a privilege we do not enjoy with other groups.

    I believe in the equality of all people, especially our people in the Twin Island Republic. At the same time I refuse to ignore things that are right in front of my face, and pander to the hubristic ego of those who believe that they have a right to be prejudiced against black people, and that any pointing out of that or commenting on that amount to racism. I aint going to be guilt tripped into silence, which is the SOP for those who expect to flaunt their prejudice, and get away with it.

    1. TMAN seeks to refute my points that Racial Prejudice has its genesis in cultural and religious belief systems that argue that people are born inferior and superior(Rodwell Paton)

      I totally agree with this statement. I do however disagree with your repeated, central thematic statement that the origin of all prejudice is grounded in the Caste system of India. (If I am interpreting you accurately)There is no question that the caste system perpetuates class, religious and racial inferiority and superiority, but to attribute these biases singularly to Hinduism and the Caste system is a very narrow view of history. Also, to brand the Indian diaspora collectively with these negative attributes is ironically displaying your own prejudices.The history of religious, racial and ethnic conflicts spans every continent since time eternal.Name calling and generalizations are not desirable or useful writing techniques.

  22. The Indian Caste System originated about 2000 years ago when intermingling among different groups ceased. There were inter mingling prior to this between groups. There is no historical record of this kind of organized stratification anywhere else in this world.

    Some historian chose to date the origin of racism to the 13th century when European Jews came under persecution from Christians. However, that view in of itself is racist, because Judaism is a religion and does not denote a racial grouping. Race carries a physical characteristic that is discernible to the human eye. In that context to cite the persecution of white Europeans by White Europeans as the beginning of racism is of itself an example of racist ignorance.

    Anti black prejudice is notoriously evident among many Indians in the diaspora. With the advent of the internet, and the medium for people to vent their innermost feelings under cyber anonymity has exposed what has been a sacred cow for a long time. I have done extensive studies of Black websites, Indian websites, white websites etc, and there is a symmetry in the anti black sentiments one sees on some of these white sites, and what is found on sites populated by Indians.

    The history of racial conflict does not span every continent from time immemorial, that is crap. There history of tribal conflict spans every continent from the beginning of time. There is vast difference between the kind of enmity between groups that resulted in wars and conflict, and the establishment of belief systems based on the perspective that some people because of how they look, are permanently inferior or superior.

    Recently a beautiful Indian Young woman was crowned Miss America, and this aroused a slew of hateful comments across twitter and other online media from turds who called her Arab and terrorist. The one thing that distinguished her from her competitors, was that she was very dark complexioned. And amazingly in India protest erupted also claiming that she could not have won in that country. The similarity in the reaction between the white turds in the US and their darker turds in India represent the microcosm of a shared cultural perspective on race and ethnicity.

  23. There are historical jews among virtually every racial group of people. But let me state a caveat here. I make these distinctions not because have any fondness for the race as a valid description of the people in this world. In fact given the genetic revelations from the scientific understanding of the genetic origins of the human family the term in of itself an oxymoron. However, because it has stamped its influence on the attitude and behaviors of the various human groupings, based on how we look physically, it cannot be ignored in any examination of racial prejudice, and where and how it ordains interaction and perspectives.

    When someone responds to my comments about racial racial prejudice with the retort that a person of African descent killed some white people in the US, when that act did not specifically target whites, one does not need to ponder deeply about the thinking behind that construction. Further, Africans had a holocaustic experience at the hands of whites, from the Congo to Nambibia, from the transatlantic slave trade, to the what is happening today all over this world. I doubt if that kind of thinking would be made in a situation where a demented European Jew murdered people including Germans.

    I do not intend to pander to the comfort of people who seek to hide a reality that is glaringly obvious in this world. I have seen and read the stupid and idiotic comments about African Americans by many who enjoy the largesse from the sacrifices the foreparents of these Africans made in breaking down barriers that would have prohibited these same people from enjoying the kind of freedoms they do in the US, in South Africa and other parts of this world. This inverse proportional prejudice denotes a historical affinity with the same sets of prejudices that configured this world on a continuum of color and race, with white at the extreme positive end and black at the extreme negative end. It is the scramble to get as close as possible to that white extreme end, as a process of confirming to cultural preferences, that drives the attitudes and comments that have become pervasive in the politics of the Caribbean and the wider world. And we must cease ignoring it for the sake of seeking reconciliations.

Comments are closed.