“Politics has a morality of its own,” said Mr Basdeo Panday, the then-political leader of the United National Congress in early April 2005. Paraphrasing what he also said at that party’s caucus, “Politics is more important than professional integrity.”
This may be interpreted another way in saying “the lust for political power makes fools of politicians”. How else can one explain the total disrespect for Trinbagonians that supporters of both the United National Congress and the People’s National Movement are portraying to not only Trinidad and Tobago, but the world?
Despite comments by former prime ministers and opposition leaders that the current Westminster system, which has been conveniently used by all governments in Trinidad and Tobago, needs to be reformed, the uncomfortable fact remains that none has yet made any effort to seriously change it since 1976, when Trinidad and Tobago became a republic, yet the Constitution is being blamed for anything that displeases the official Opposition.
One of the former prime ministers is quite vocal that the Constitution and Westminster system need to be changed, but made absolutely no effort while in government to so do, or initiate what was required.
Similarly, a recent former prime minister had more than the required three-fifths majority required to make the necessary major changes, but did nothing—yet blames the current Government for its supposed trespass of the Constitution. What utter hypocrisy!
If truth be told, the current official Opposition should remain silent rather than speak and remove all doubts by making ill-advised statements. It is said that people get a government they deserve, so notwithstanding having a majority yet losing the government in 2015, who or what should be blamed?
The current Government cannot be faulted for the manner in which it is managing the economy and governing Trinidad and Tobago, regardless of protestations by entities opposed to its modus operandi. Protests and comments on what is occurring in Trinidad and Tobago have no value, whether or not high office holders are compromised.
It is quite regrettable that commentators who are averse to the current leadership style of the Government are so very vocal now based on the recent alleged fiascos that dominate the social and print media. Where have they been all this time? These issues with the Westminster system and Constitution have not recently arisen. Their silence gives credence to the “nine-day wonder” that seemingly defines issues in Trinidad and Tobago. Protests may be construed as demonstrating a lack of leadership and lack of serious commitment to “righting wrongs”. Unwelcome issues must always be placed on the front-burner and not be subject to the nine-day wonder.
Stop blaming the high office holders, including the Speaker of the House, for what recently transpired in Parliament. Remember that the Government allows people their say, but will always have its way. Decisions are usually made on available information and these are usually reviewed when new evidence becomes available. It may be that the decision-making process was abused by the Government, but “flogging a dead horse” will not revive it. Concerted efforts need to be made to address the key issues of reform of the Constitution and the Westminster system of government if they have outlived their time.
The economy is in alleged total shambles, yet focus is on who was right and who was wrong. Employment is becoming a premium, food prices are rising, international prices are eating away at the scarce foreign exchange and cost of living, seemingly ill-advised projects are being pursued by this Government, leadership and management are very suspect by both the official Opposition and Government, yet the forest is being missed for the trees.
Where is the statesmanship from opposing forces? Where is the focus on making Trinidad and Tobago a better country? Constantly berating the current Government for its faux pas does not uplift Trinidad and Tobago. Whining is anathema to trust and confidence. None of what is happening now in this country augurs well for the future. The lack of a true Opposition, which needs to demonstrate real leadership and the sniping by some other entities, will not adversely affect the Government. Let opposing actions speak louder than words to gain the trust and confidence of Trinbagonians.
It is time enough to let people see there is an alternative to the current bickering by showcasing much-needed leadership and management skills.
Maybe it is an opportune time for new leadership or a new party to be formed, rather than hoping for a better one from those that exist. As the saying goes, “the triumph of evil occurs when good men do nothing”.
The ship of state seems adrift. Who will bell the cat?