“I would call them political bullies... terrorists.”
So said Charlotte Street Vendors’ representative Melba Boxhill, as she analysed the historic motion to impeach President Paula-Mae Weekes in Parliament yesterday, which was defeated by 47 to 24 votes.
“It’s a national disgrace. I am proud of the Speaker (Bridgid Annisette-George) since she did not lose her composure. She did not suspend anyone from the sitting. She did not descend to the gutter politics. They were antagonising her to put somebody out,” Boxhill said.
Some felt democracy was trampled on both sides since the behaviour in the House was deemed “atrocious”, “reprehensible” and “wajang” behaviour.
Several people also felt Annisette-George should have given the Kamla Persad-Bissessar-led Opposition a chance to vent their emotions.
Persad-Bissessar seemed to garner more support on Frederick and Henry streets, but at Charlotte Street, she was persona non grata. Some joked that Persad-Bissessar was the “newest gangsta girl in town”, while others shrugged it off as “Trini bacchanal”.
Some said they were struggling with poverty and unemployment, while PM Dr Keith Rowley was taking care of his cronies. Another sentiment was Persad-Bissessar should not go after the President.
Several confessed to being “shell-shocked”, “aghast” and “appalled” at the atrocious conduct which unfolded in the nation’s Parliament.
Several former politicians on both sides of the fence also said they were “happy” they were not elected to Parliament after yesterday’s proceedings.
Another feeling was President Weekes appeared to be “too aloof”, and, “out of touch with the population”. People said they had sweet memories of the late president George Maxwell Richards, who had the adulation and ears and eyes of the people.
Faith lost in Rowley
A stone’s throw from Boxhill’s kiosk on Charlotte Street, Melvin “Old Man” John, 71, said: “It’s ridiculous. I was looking at the debate. I got so vexed at the scenario, I closed the TV and walked off. It’s just as Black Stalin (veteran calypsonian) would say, ‘isms, and schisms’.
“Everybody is selfish and thinking about themselves only. What happened in Parliament should not fool anybody. They are all friends. They are mamaguying the country, and seeking their own interests. Pure self-aggrandisement.”
John said Rowley should never have won the general election during a pandemic. He said: “They gave people goodies, and now they keep expecting it. It’s hard to govern this country during a pandemic. People have lost faith in Rowley.
“Remember the street is a university. People talk about the issues. It’s about money. You will hear people saying mean things about Rowley. Sometimes it can be downright evil. They talk about what happened in St Vincent to Dr Ralph Gonsalves (St Vincent PM attacked). You will hear them saying ‘Kamla would have treated people better’.”
John also said the Government made a pappyshow of the Joint Trade Union Movement’s president-general, Ancel Roget, and lured him into a false sense of security about buying the Petrotrin refinery.
“They need to keep it for their ‘one per cent’ friends. They don’t want Roget and the trade unionists to get to that upper level. Why should regular people spend big money?”
Making reference to the budget, John said: “They don’t want people to live like the elites. It’s coming back like long time. Today you must eat rice and lentil peas. Tomorrow, dhal and rice. Next day, soup with a little pigtail.
“They and their friends are eating ham, lamb and jam, yet they want you to cut and contrive. Make do with the crumbs they are sharing.”
Chiming in, his daughter, Josanne Lewis, said she went to Aranjuez, and by St Joseph Member of Parliament Terrence Deyalsingh for a hamper.
“Imagine five dasheen, and five sweet potatoes. A set of yellow and red peppers rolling around. And the woman telling you a hamper should last 90 days. What madness! Why can’t they give you some greens, callaloo bush and melongene to make a tasty meal? How they really expect poor people to live?” asked Lewis.
A San Juan shopper, who sells soup in the Croisee, said: “I don’t bother with Kamla. She is a mad woman.”
At Giant Supermarket, proprietor Ping Lue Yui said: “I didn’t hear much about the mayhem in Parliament. I am confused about the narrative including Police Commissioner Gary Griffith, President Weekes and former (PolSC) chairman Bliss Seepersad... but I feel safer when Griffith is around.”
Leave President alone
Opposite Express House along the Brian Lara Promenade, on Independence Square, three men where chatting about the parliamentary scandal.
Nigel Rodriguez-Ross said: “I think Kamla should leave President Paula alone. She had her time as prime minister. She had the goodwill and blessing of the people. Kamlamania is over. She squandered it. She did not do the best job. I think she’s too upstart to go after the President, looking for any loophole to impeach the President.”
San Juan resident Winston Cox, 62, said he was “struggling from the womb to the tomb. Some people are struggling more than others. But look around, everybody is struggling. Then you have politicians misbehaving like Mickey Mouse children. What a travesty. What a tragedy”.