IT has been well established that the country’s most effective mobilisation system is the election machinery based on political affiliation.
With this in mind, the current crisis in the country regarding the frightening spread of the coronavirus calls for a different kind of intervention. It is past time for the declaration of a political truce. We call on the country’s two major political machines, PNM and UNC, and all other existing political parties and groups, to come together in the national interest.
As the incumbent vested with the authority to make the first move, the Prime Minister should see it as a responsibility to initiate a coordinated assault against this monster in our midst.
The present atmosphere cannot be conducive to the mud-slinging from one side to the other, while the statistics tell an increasingly worrying tale from day to day.
In the same way in which political messages, programmes, strategies and initiatives leave the central command and filter down to the street captains for mass mobilisation and action, this method is an urgent requirement. A national health emergency has now engulfed the people of Trinidad and Tobago, and nothing short of this kind of multi-partite, single-minded counter-attack will suffice in beating it back.
Indeed, there have been glimpses of what is possible, and in fact necessary in this time of increasing national anxiety. The Prime Minister himself recently positively noted the advice of one former Opposition MP and Cabinet minister for citizens to take the vaccines on offer. At least one other former MP and minister from the last administration has made similar appeals, as have two of those on the current Opposition bench.
This is the kind of spark that could, and in fact ought to, ignite the flame for a nationwide coming together of hearts and minds, in halting further peril from Covid-19.
Where they otherwise fail in communication and mobilisation, the country’s two political behemoths have demonstrated an incredible capacity for organising people around a single theme. Instead of “Vote for me”, the message this time could be “Crush Covid”. Secondly, however, instead of physical mobilisations, this way must be fought on every available virtual platform.
In many respects already, this method of messaging and of mass mobilisation has been shown to be extremely effective. This, indeed, is the nature of the 21st century world in which we live. There is no second-guessing the fact that, despite their own strongly held positions and views on the regular issues of the day, and the way in which they should be handled, citizens are prepared to lay these aside in response to genuine calls for a united front in facing down a common enemy.
Such a mechanism can also identify, and bring relief to the poor families struggling to make ends meet in different parts of the country. The plight of the family of six in Golconda, as highlighted by this newspaper yesterday, is a case in point.
This is indeed one of those times, those genuinely once-in-a-lifetime occasions. We have done this before, and this is a moment which beckons us to do it again.