How strange for the PNM Women’s League to attack me so vehemently over my exposé of Keith Rowley’s dangerous scapegoating.
In a country where there are so many women’s issues to be dealt with—increased domestic violence and abuse during the lockdown, the removal of financial and other support for children and mothers by their very own Government, or the many, many inappropriate remarks by their political leader in various public fora—the PNM Women’s League is silent on those matters.
Indeed, in its three-page release, purportedly about my critique, nowhere did they seem to understand the main point about the danger the article identified. If anything, they should have rebuked their leader for his hot-headed personal attack on Kamla Persad-Bissessar. But, alas, a women’s league whose (exclusively male) political leaders, from its founder on down, have referred to it in a mocking—even racially mocking—way, is bound to be confused about what its real purpose is.
It certainly does not appear to be to stand for women, or for women’s issues. Instead, it appears to take its cue from that old country and western song by Tammy Wynette, “Stand By Your Man”. I like the song, and it is a good sentiment. But, surely, a national women’s league must have another purpose? Its hysterical lashing-out over three pages not once addresses the danger of scapegoating, of presuming guilt, of fomenting national dissension, suspicion and resentment, and of making fantastical accusations without any shred of evidence, which I raised. It is three pages of personal abuse, beginning with a paragraph personally attacking me, not once engaging with the issues raised.
Over my past two decades in the public eye, I have never based my sense of self-worth on holding office of any kind, or on the accumulation of personal wealth. I have always chosen to stand or fall on the merit of my ideas and positions publicly taken.
I have always preferred to be grouped together with “political failures” such as CLR James, Lloyd Best, Makandal Daaga, Sat Maharaj and other of our great freedom fighters, activists and thinkers—who all, incidentally, fought until their dying days against the oppressive and nationally destructive PNM. Not one such freedom fighter in our history has ever been pro-PNM.
Far better to be in that company than among the “successful politicians” with Camille Robinson-Regis or the hundreds of undistinguished and nameless PNM MPs who have fought for nothing except for personal position, perks and power. For this is ultimately all the PNM consistently stands for. In the pursuit of that power, it will destroy the country, it will use lies, half-truths and innuendo to demonise half of its citizens, it will pit group against group, without scruple or hesitation.
Instead of feverishly defending this, the PNM National Women’s League ought well to think about the effect that the sexist attacks by its political leader has on women’s leadership aspirations in our country; and that its party’s policies have on the hundreds of thousands of women who must care for themselves and their families in these very difficult days and years ahead, which the Government appears to be hell-bent on making even more difficult than necessary.
May God save and bless our country, and see us through these tests, trials and tribulations.
Dr Kirk Meighoo