The incumbent Mayor of Chaguanas recently announced his decision not to seek reappointment to that office. This follows announcements of two other sitting UNC parliamentarians who have decided to “call it a day”.

All three should be commended for answering the call to serve their country. And all three should be congratulated for creating the space that is essential for their political institution to grow, expand, adapt, re-engineer, rebuild, rebrand and refocus.

Perhaps now there is an expectancy that others will follow suit, now that the trump card has been waved. And history may eventually record the exodus of these party “stalwarts” as a watershed moment in UNC politics as it symbolises the departure of the old guard and introduction of new soldiers.

There was a perception that the UNC was fossilising itself in antiquity.

Some of the more experienced politicians perhaps assumed they had some unencumbered freehold title to a parliamentary seat. And of course that only encouraged a sense of alienation among UNC supporters themselves.

It was, in fact, around 2012 that the word “cabal” became politically fashionable in our local politics. It became the buzzword, moulded and crafted by the political opponents of then-prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to describe what they conjured to be a clique that had wrestled and wrested power from the leader of the People’s Partnership government.

Notwithstanding the fact that Mrs Persad-Bissessar herself had dismissed the cabal narrative as a myth, it was an almost flawless psychological distraction fabricated and constructed with precision and aimed at derailing the former PM, whom they claimed wouldn’t last two years.

But she lasted not only two, but five. And in those five years, each and every time a senior minister, presumably a member of the fictitious cabal, was dismissed, she was making the point that she was in charge.

So the plan, laden with poisonous political intent and which sought to portray her as politically fragile and under the control of “power-hungry old men” fell recklessly short of its mark.

Today the leading members of that first fictional faction have either retired, been fired or are soon not to be rehired. Those faces of yesterday are slowly becoming less and less visible as the Leader of the Opposition invites the faces of tomorrow.

Today the Opposition bench in the Senate is the youngest it has ever been.

And judging from the launch of the UNC’s local government election campaign, it seems Mrs Persad-Bissessar also has the youngest team heading into the polls.

From the profiles posted on social media, it would appear that the average age of UNC’s local government candidates is under 35, and almost half are women.

And it is the calibre of youthful candidates as well.

The vast majority of them are graduates of tertiary institutes around the world. Many are holders of law degrees and MBAs, and almost all deep-rooted in community work and social activism.

Maybe the opponents of the UNC and the numerous political wizards now have a new whipping horse. There is a new cabal in town.

The most popular sentiment leading up to this poll was that the UNC needed fresh faces, new ideas and pioneering political strategies. This in itself is a victory for the UNC, whatever the outcome of the election, as it reflects on a party that is experiencing contemporaneous transition and growth.

And surely this is a victory for Trinidad and Tobago as well, as it mirrors a society still very much engaged in political progression and advancement.

The new and young and vibrant faces might just be the political revolution that precipitates our own evolution.

Ashvani Mahabir



The Government must be commended for its proactive response to the coronavirus which has already claimed 18 lives and infected hundreds in China while spreading to Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and the United States.

I read with interest and great concern a report in the daily newspapers on Tuesday, under the caption, “T&T backs B’dos, blanks Pompeo’s meeting”. The commentary of the Honourable Rodney Charles, who is widely quoted, lacks substance and is dangerously ill-­informed.

A news of the horrific murder of a doctor in San Fernando rocked the nation recently, two towering intellectuals from the highly respected University of Facebook, Shonda Bigrat and Crayon Clingflim, decided to share their respective research on the causes and solutions to crime.

Within the framework of the proclamation by the United Nations General Assembly of January 24, 2020, as International Day of Education, we wish in this statement to air concerns about the poor educational performance of children of African origin in Trinidad and Tobago, and, relatedly, about the poor quality of schools in predominantly black locales in the country.

St Lucia observes an annual Nobel Laureate Festival in honour of its two Nobel Laureates—Arthur Lewis and Derek Walcott. Their birth dates, respectively, are on January 23, 1915, and January 23, 1930. This year, the 27th festival began on January 10 and will continue until ­February 6.

The chamber spoke out this week as the nation grapples with the crime situation, defining it as a “crisis” for which we do not have “the luxury of time”, and advanced possible solutions. This intervention followed on the heels of an editorial that pointedly questioned whether Afro-Trinidadians had “the innate desire for a better life”.