Ralph Maraj

LAST WEEK, I wrote of “our nation being undone” and the sense of “terminality” now hovering over Trinidad and Tobago. We were heading there before Covid which is hastening our demise. The Government irresponsibly dropped the ball with the pandemic, now spreading like wildfire.

BASED ON an assessment by Johns Hopkins University, Trinidad and Tobago is now ranked fifth among countries in the developing world, India included, with the highest rate of Covid-19 infections.

LAST Wednesday night, in his first speech to a joint session of Congress marking 100 days in office, US President Joe Biden declared with justification, “America is ready for take-off. We are working again. Dreaming again. Discovering again. Leading the world again.”

ast year, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley asked his Covid-19 Road to Recovery team to determine “where, with what and how should we diversify our economy, in light of the recent oil shocks”.

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I wish Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley a full recovery. I condemn any celebration of his contracting Covid-19 or wish for his demise. I hope we recognise the dehumanising effect of the primitive politics we practise on both sides in Trinidad and Tobago.

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On March 5 1946, in a landmark address in the United States, Winston Churchill said an “Iron Curtain has descended” on Europe, referring to the Soviet Union’s authoritarian control of satellite regimes in Eastern Europe creating a divide with Western powers.

While aggression is often required in politics, permanent pugilism is counterproductive.

Very early in his career, Dr Keith Rowley was nicknamed “Rottweiler” for his unrelenting aggressiveness in the political arena. He needed to refine that combative propensity on becoming prime minister. Unfortunately, he didn’t. The nation has had to endure much coarseness from its leader.

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Last Tuesday, China’s President Xi Jinping had a telephone conversation with this country’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on Covid-19 and other issues.

International reports said President Xi “expressed appreciation for Trinidad and Tobago’s support to China’s legitimate positions over issues related to Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Taiwan”.

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AT THE United Nations last September, Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised the world “India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity would be used to help all humanity”.

On January 3 this year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) gave authorisation to use Covid-19 vaccines produced by India. Modi termed the WHO approval a decisive turning point in the country’s fight against the coronavirus. On January 20 this year, keeping his UN promise, India announced the launch of the “Vaccine Maitri” or vaccine friendship programme to assist countries in accessing Indian-manufactured Covid vaccines.

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With our two main political parties each having their vast majority support in one of the two major races in the country, tribal allegiance protects politicians from the full brunt of public opinion, the ultimate guarantor of democracy.

Accountability is therefore low in this virtually bifurcated society of repeated betrayals and broken promises by politicians. We live in national sin.

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